Case of European Court of Human Rights, August 24, 1998 (case Lambert v. France)

Resolution Date:August 24, 1998

Violation of Art. 8 Not necessary to examine Art. 13 Non-pecuniary damage - financial award Costs and expenses award - Convention proceedings Costs and expenses award - domestic proceedings


Information Note on the Court’s case-law No.

August 1998

Lambert v. France - 23618/94

Judgment 24.8.1998

Article 8

Article 8-1

Respect for correspondence

Respect for private life

Judgment whereby Court of Cassation refused a person locus standi to complain of interception of some of his telephone conversations, on the ground that it was a third party’s line that had been tapped: violation

[This summary is extracted from the Court’s official reports (Series A or Reports of Judgments and Decisions). Its formatting and structure may therefore differ from the Case-Law Information Note summaries.]


A.              Whether there had been any interference

Interception of telephone conversations had amounted to “interference by a public authority”, within the meaning of Article 8 § 2, with the exercise of a right secured to the applicant in paragraph 1 of that Article – of little importance that the telephone tapping in question had been carried out on line of a third party.

B.              Justification for the interference

  1.               Had interference been “in accordance with the law”

    (a)              Whether there had been a statutory basis in French law

    Telephone tapping in question had been ordered on basis of Articles 100 et seq. of Code of Criminal Procedure.

    (b)              Quality of the law

    Accessibility: not in question in the instant case.

    Foreseeability: Law of 10 July 1991 on confidentiality of telecommunications messages laid down clear, detailed rules and specified with sufficient clarity the scope and manner of exercise of relevant discretion conferred on public authorities.

  2.               Purpose and necessity of interference

    Interference had been designed to establish truth in connection with criminal proceedings and therefore to prevent disorder.

    As to necessity for it, Court of Cassation had held that Indictment Division had been wrong to examine objections of invalidity raised by applicant as telephone line being...

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