Keywords: European Court of Human Rights; right to family life; best interest of the child; balancing; positive obligations; procedural rules.
The recent judgment of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Strand Lobben and others v. Norway raises, among others, two interesting reflections. First, it expressly requires a balance between the best interest of the child and other rights, such as the parents’ interest to the maintenance of family relationships. However, the conclusion reached by the Court – finding a violation of art. 8 of the Convention only in respect of its procedural aspect – does not match with the premises. Second, the (missed opportunity for) balancing is carried out without guaranteeing the proper representation of the minor in the judgment. This procedural gap in the Court’s regulations should be filled in order to fully respect the children's right to access to justice.