European Court of Human Rights - case of H v. the United Kingdom (1987) (excerpts)

 

 

 

European Court of Human Rights - case of H v. the United Kingdom (1987) (excerpts)

(...)

85. In the present case, the Court considers it right to place

special emphasis on the importance of what was at stake for the

applicant in the proceedings in question. Not only were they decisive

for her future relations with her own child, but they had a particular

quality of irreversibility, involving as they did what the High Court

graphically described as the "statutory guillotine" of adoption (see

paragraph 28 above).


In cases of this kind the authorities are under a duty to exercise

exceptional diligence since, as the Commission rightly pointed out,

there is always the danger that any procedural delay will result in

the de facto determination of the issue submitted to the court before

it has held its hearing. And, indeed, this was what happened here.