European Court of Human Rights delivers its first advisory opinion


The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has today delivered its first advisory opinion under Protocol 16 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Protocol 16 came into force in August 2018. It enables the Grand Chamber to deliver a non-binding advisory opinion on request from a referring domestic court on the interpretation or application of the rights in the Convention.

In its first opinion under the protocol, on request from the French Court of Cassation, the Grand Chamber considered human rights issues that arise in surrogacy arrangements. Specifically, the Court was asked whether and in what form the intended mother in a surrogacy arrangement, who was registered abroad as the mother on the child’s birth certificate, should have her relationship with the child recognised in law domestically. The Court opined that there should be the possibility of legal recognition of the relationship, but that the means of the recognition falls within member states’ margin of appreciation.

The Court’s press summary can be found here.

Sarah Hannett and Nathan Roberts were instructed to represent the United Kingdom government, which intervened in the case.