European Court of Human Rights - case of Hokkanen v. Finland (1994) (excerpts)

 

 

European Court of Human Rights - case of Hokkanen v. Finland (1994) (excerpts)

(...)

72. Although it is essential that custody cases be dealt with

speedily, the Court sees no reason to criticise the District Court for

having suspended the proceedings twice in order to obtain expert

opinions on the issue before it.


As regards the six months' delay the difficulties which the

social welfare authorities encountered as a result of the grandparents'

refusal to allow Sini to be subjected to investigation and to take part

in related interviews must not be overlooked (see paragraph 24 above).

Irrespective of whether there were sufficient reasons for suspending

the hearing for as long as six months, it has to be noted that the

overall length of the proceedings was approximately eighteen months.

In itself this is not excessive for proceedings comprising three

judicial levels.


Having regard to the particular circumstances of the case, the

Court, like the Commission, finds that the length of the second custody

proceedings did not exceed a "reasonable time" and that there was thus

no violation of Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) of the Convention.