Constitutional court case law

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Case number:
U-I-251/14
ECLI:
ECLI:SI:USRS:2015:U.I.251.14
Challenged act:
Operative provisions:
Abstract:
The right of presumed fathers to obtain, in judicial proceedings, recognition that their formal paternity does not correspond to the actual biological origin of the child and that the legal relationship with the child shall cease derives from Article 35 of the Constitution. Knowledge of the facts regarding the actual existence or non-existence of presumed biological parenthood is of decisive importance for the development of an individual’s personality. Furthermore, a father’s legally recognised paternity has significant legal consequences for him that are of pecuniary as well as non-pecuniary nature.
 
The objective preclusive time limit determined by the second paragraph of Article 96 of the Marriage and Family Relations Act represents an obstacle to the exercise of a father’s personal right to resolve doubt regarding his paternity and to dissolve the legal ties with the child that do not correspond to the biological reality, which is protected by Article 35 of the Constitution. It therefore interferes with the human right determined by Article 35 of the Constitution.
 
The five-year preclusive time limit for filing an action to challenge one’s paternity is rigid and inflexible; it starts at an objectively determined point in time and it may start, run, and expire during a period when the presumed father does not know and is not required to know that the child deemed to be his is in fact, in the biological sense, not his. The contested provision permits that the legal presumption of paternity always outweighs the biological reality after the expiry of the five-year time limit following the child's birth, regardless of the subjective circumstances on the part of the father. What is at issue is a severe and burdensome interference with Article 35 of the Constitution. 
 
The objective that family relations be firm and constant coupled with the protection of the child’s interests are sufficiently protected already by the relative time limit that determines that the presumed father must file an action to challenge his paternity within one year of the date he learns of the circumstances giving rise to suspicion that the child is not his.
 
It is inconsistent with Article 35 of the Constitution that a presumed father can no longer challenge his paternity if the relative time limit of one year from the moment when he learns of circumstances giving rise to the suspicion that the child is not his has not yet expired, but the time limit of five years from the birth of the child has, irrespective of whether the presumed father has learnt of circumstances that are legally relevant for filing an action to challenge his paternity.
Thesaurus:
Legal basis:
Cases joined:
Full text:
Type of procedure:
review of constitutionality and legality of regulations and other general acts
Type of act:
statute
Applicant:
A. B., C.
Date of application:
18. 12. 2014
Date of Decision:
21. 10. 2015
Type of decision adopted:
decision
Outcome of proceedings:
annulment or annulment ab initio
Published:
Official Gazette RS, No. 82/2015 and OdlUS XXI, 7
Document:
AN03848

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All decisions the Constitutional Court adopted since independence of Slovenia, with the exception of orders rejecting constitutional complaints or not accepting them for consideration on the merits that contain as reasoning only the reference to the statutory basis of the decision and the composition of the panel of the Constitutional Court (the fourth paragraph of Article 55c of the Constitutional Court Act), are published on this website.

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