Private and family life

Everyone has the right to respect for their private and family life and no one should have to be subject to arbitrary or unlawful interference in their home. Everyone also has the right to freely enter into marriage and to choose a marriage partner.

Protection of the individual’s private and family life has been interpreted by those bodies that monitor these rights to involve not only an obligation for the state to refrain from intervening in private and family life, but also to effectively protect individuals against intrusion by public authorities and other individuals.

The European Court of Human Rights has examined many cases considered to fall under the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights and its Protocol 7 concerning private and family life. These cases have dealt with such issues as abortion, criminalisation of homosexuality, issues concerning transsexuals, surveillance methods used in crime prevention, checks of staff and placement of children in foster homes.

The right to freely enter into marriage and found a family
The right to freely enter into marriage and found a family is established in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 16), the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 23) and the European Convention on Human Rights (Article 12).

Those who are of marriageable age have the right to freely choose a partner without interference by the authorities. The aforementioned Articles also include the right to not be forced into a marriage that is not one of choice. The provisions do not establish a specific marriageable age or the right to divorce and/or enter into a new marriage.

Equality between spouses applies both during the marriage and at its dissolution and is included in Article 23 of the UN’s Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.