Case of European Court of Human Rights, March 24, 1988 (case Olsson v. Sweden (no. 1))

Resolution Date:March 24, 1988

Preliminary objection rejected (non-exhaustion) Violation of Art. 8 No violation of Art. 6 No violation of Art. 3 14+8 P1-2 and 13+P1-2 Non-pecuniary damage - financial award Costs and expenses award - domestic proceedings Costs and expenses award - Convention proceedings


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

March 1988

Olsson v. Sweden (no. 1) - 10465/83

Judgment 24.3.1988

Article 8

Article 8-1

Respect for family life

Taking into public care of applicants' three children: no violation

Manner of implementation of this measure: 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.]


Applicants' general complaints concerning Swedish child-care law and practice of Swedish courts: not the Court's task to effect review in abstracto.

Government's plea that Court should not deal with certain later decisions of Swedish authorities not examined in Commission's admissibility decision or in respect of which domestic remedies not exhausted at date thereof: raised out of time – decisions constituted continuation of facts underlying complaints declared admissible.

Conclusion: plea rejected (unanimously).


Violations alleged to have arisen from decision to take children into care, manner of its implementation and refusals to terminate care.

Measures at issue amounted to interferences with applicants' right to respect for family life.

Having regard to subject-matter and safeguards provided against arbitrary interference, relevant Swedish legislation, though rather general in terms and conferring wide discretion, was formulated with sufficient precision for interferences to be regarded as "in accordance with the law".

Interferences had legitimate aims of protecting health or morals and protecting the rights and freedoms of others (the children).

"Necessary in a democratic society"

(a)              Established case-law recalled: Court's review not limited to ascertaining whether State acted reasonably, carefully and in good faith – Court must examine impugned decisions in light of case as a whole and determine whether justified by "relevant and sufficient" reasons.

(b)              The taking into, and the refusals to terminate, care

– Applicants had been involved in decision-making process, seen as a whole, to degree sufficient to provide requisite protection of their interests.

– Decisions to take children into care and to refuse applicants' requests for termination thereof were based on social reports supported by statements from persons well acquainted with...

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