Judgment (Merits and Just Satisfaction) of Court (First Section Committee), April 30, 2015 (case CASE OF CUNHA MARTINS DA SILVA COUTO v. PORTUGAL)

Resolution Date:April 30, 2015
Issuing Organization:Court (First Section Committee)



(Application no. 66436/12)



30 April 2015

This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.

In the case of Cunha Martins Da Silva Couto v. Portugal,

The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:

             Mirjana Lazarova Trajkovska, President,              Paulo Pinto de Albuquerque,              Ksenija Turković, judges,

and André Wampach, Deputy Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 7 April 2015,

Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:


  1. The case originated in an application (no. 66436/12) against the Portuguese Republic lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by a Portuguese national, Mr José Luís Cunha Martins da Silva Couto (“the applicant”), on 27 September 2012.

  2. The Portuguese Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mrs M. F. da Graça Carvalho, Deputy Attorney-General.

  3. On 4 March 2014 the complaint concerning the length of the proceedings was communicated to the Government and the remainder of the application was declared inadmissible.



  4. The applicant was born in 1961 and lives in Porto.

  5. On an unknown date, the applicant and I. dissolved their marriage and the latter stayed with the children’s custody.

  6. On 28 November 2008 the Porto Family Court adopted a decision establishing the applicant’s contact rigths.

  7. On 27 May 2009 I. sent a letter to the applicant informing him that she had suspended his contact rights.

  8. On 5 June 2009 the applicant lodged an application with the Porto Family Court informing about I.’s decision to not comply with the court’s decision of 28 November 2008 and asking the court to schedule a hearing with him and his former wife (audiência de pais) so he could continue to have access to his children (processo de incumprimento das responsabilidades parentais).

  9. In June 2009 the Porto Family Court held a hearing with the parents and subsequently requested a social report about the children to the Social Security Institute (Instituto da Segurança Social).

  10. On 14 July 2009 the Porto Family Court adopted a decision suspending the applicant’s right to visit his children for a period of three months on the grounds of the social report that had been submitted on 13 July 2009. The Family Court also requested a psychological assessment of the children.

  11. From September 2009 to January 2012 the applicant lodged several requests with the...

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