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Paternity row Federal Court rejects legal recognition claim of biological father

federal court in lausanne

The Federal Court in Lausanne.


Switzerland’s highest court has rejected the plea of a man seeking legal recognition of his paternity of a child born to a woman married to another man.

In order to have his claim recognised legally, the Lausanne-based court said, the husband of the woman would have had to officially contest the child’s paternity.

This was not the case. The husband (and his wife) never disputed the fact that the child was not his, and in doing so simply assumed the role of legal parent.

+ Read more about children and childcare in Switzerland

It is up to him whether he wants to test or contest the paternity of the child, the court said.

Moreover, the court ruled that there was no harm done to the plaintiff’s personality rights, and rejected his invocation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which outlines the right to respect of one’s private and family life.

The court also clarified that whereas a child has the right to know his or her origin, since this forms an integral part of personality and identity, a biological father has no such legal right, because his claim has nothing to do with personal development and more to do with discerning possible blood relations.

Consensus about biological recognition outside the framework of legal paternity is still controversial and ill-defined across countries, the court said. It clarified that the law around such cases remains open and undefined at the European Court of Human Rights. and agencies/dos

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