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Frenchman claims Malta breached his human rights by failing to return his children

A French man has applied to the highest court in Malta for compensation, saying his human rights were breached when authorities on the island failed to return his two children.

The estranged wife of Etienne Merlevede travelled with their twins, now five, from France to the island in August 2008. But, he told the Constitutional Court, when he then applied for their return under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction,  authorities did not stick to the six-week time limit set out in the treaty. Instead they the allowed the case to continue for nearly a year.

M Merlevede also complained that a judge had presided over the couple’s separation hearings before hearing his unsuccessful application for the twins’ return under the Convention, thereby preventing, he claimed, the authorities from properly considering the latter.

The father insisted that his right to a family life had been breached by the authorities’ behaviour, and asked for  €60,000 compensation from his wife, along with €300,000 from the Maltese authorities.

The case continues.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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