APPLICATION/REQUÉTE N° 10978/84 Mary Catherine STOU TT v/IRELAND Mary Catherine STOUTT c/IRLANDE DECISION of 14 October 1986 on the admissibility of the application DÉCISION du 14 octobre 1986 sur la recevabilité de la requêt e Article 8 of the Convention : Even if patrimonial rights fall within the scope of Article 8, it does not actually confer any right to inherit (reference to the Marcla judgment) . An illegitimate child's lack of inheritance rights in the estates of his intestate father or of his parents' close relatives does not constitute an interference with the exercise of his right to respect for family life. Article 14 of the Convention, in conjunction with Article 8 of the Convention : Alleged discrimination between legitimàte and illegitimate chlldren with regard to the right to inherit frwn the fàther and from the parents' close relatives (Complaint declared admissible) . Article 25 of the Conven6on : The author qf an application relating to a family life which has ceased to exist cannot claim to be a victim of a violation of Article 8 of the Convention . Article 26 of the Convention : The obligation to exhaust domestic remedies requires only that an applicant make norntal use of remedies iikely to be effective and adequate. No effective remedy in Creland for complaining that an illegitimate child is unable to iaherit from its parents' close relatives, the Supreme Court having held the legisla tion at issue (Succession Act 1965) to be in conformity with the Constitution . Article 8 de la Convention : Même si les droits patrimoniaux relèvent de l'article 8, celui-ci ne confère pas un droit d'hériter (référence à l'arrêt Marckx) . 144 L'incapaeité pour un enfant naturel d'hériter ab intestat de son père et des,oroches parents de ses père et mère .ne coustitue pas une ingérence dans l'exercice du droit au respect de sa vie familiale. Article 14' de In Convenlion, combiné avec Fair6a"e 8 de la Convention : Discrimination alléguée entre enjiaüs légitimes et enfc.nts naturels en ce qui concerne le droit dSkériter du père et des parents proches des pire et mère (Grief déclaré reeevable) . Article 25 de la Convention : Ne peut se prétendre u ctime d'une violation de l'article 8 de la Convention l'auteur d'une requête visant une vie farni[iale qui a cessé d'exister. Article 26 de la Conventioiu : L'obligation d'épuiser les voies de recours lnternes se lintite à celle aé faire un usage normal des recours vrai.sernblablement efficaces et suffisants. - Pas de recours e,tficace en Irlanaé pour se plaindre quun enjiint naturel ne peut hériter des proches parents (le ses père et mère, la légisiation litigieuse (loi de 1965 sur les successions) étant jugée conforme à la constitution par la Cour suprême . THE f'AC'TS (français : voir p. 157) The applicant, Mrs. Mary Catherine Stoutt, born in 1937, is an Irish citizen, at nresent residing, in England . She is represented in the proceedings before the Commission by Senator Mary Robinson, S.C., Mr. Ercus Stewart, S.C., and Mr . K. O'Briei of Bowler GeragtRy & Co ., solicitors, Dublin. It was established in evidence in a hearing before the High Court on 12 and 13 January 1982 that the applicant was born out of wedlock and tltat she was the daughicr of Mr . William Walket who died intestate in 1975 . In or about 1935/1936 the applicant's mother, Mirs . Mary Palmer, whose husband had left tter, established a relationship with 1blr . Walker and lived vrith him until his death in 1975 . The applicant was the first child of this relationsh:p. Two other children died in 1949 and in 1966 . The applicant married in 1958 and settled in England . She has two children born in 1960 and 1963 . She states that her Yather was a frequent visitor to their family honie in England . When her father died in 1975 hc left an estate valued at approxiinately £ 1,600 and his sister, Florence O'Brien, applied to the Principal Probate Office as next-ofkin for the letters of administration to his estate . On 7 October 1975 a caveat to that applicationi was entered by the aoplicant. Proceedingswere isstied by the sister as plaintiff, seeking inter alia an Order setting aside the caveat and granting her liberty to proceed with the application for a grant of admirdstration . 'rhe applicant in he r 145 defence claimed an Order and Declaration that she waslhe issue of Mr . Walker and entitled to claim a share of the estate . On the facts of the case, if the applicant were to be treated as "issue" for the purpose of Section 67 of the Succession Act 1965, she would take the whole estate, there being no surviving spouse of the deceased . In the alternative, it was claimed that the relevant sections of the Succession Act which govern the distribution of property on intestacy (Sections 67 and 69) were invalid, having regard to the provisions of the Constitution (1) . Notice was served on the Attorney-General in November 1981 pursuant to Order 60 of the Rules of the Superior Courts and once it had been established in the High Court that the applicant was the deceased's daughter the proceedings became an issue between the defendant and the Attorney-General on the interpretation and constitutional validity of the relevant provisions of the 1965 Act . Mr. Justice D'Arcy, in a decision of the High Court dated 19 April 1982, held that the defendant (the applicant) was not entitled to succeed on intestacy, not being "issue" within the meaning of Section 67 of the 1965 Act, and that Sections 67 and 69 were not invalid under the Constitution . An appeal was taken to the Supreme Court which upheld the decision of Mr. Justice D'Arcy on botli issues . In the judgment of 20 January 1984 delivered by Mr . Justice Walsh on behalf of the Court, it was held that (a) the term "issue" as a matter of statutory construction referred only to issue born within tnarriage ; and (b) Sections 67 and 69 of the 1965 Act did not infringe the principle of equality before the law guaranteed under Article 40, subsection (1) of the Constitution . The differential treatment between children born out of wedlock and children born in wedlock could not be regarded as unreasonable, unjust or arbitrary since its purpose is to maintain the primacy of the family which is the subject of special protection in Article 41 of the Constitution . Following the judgment and Order of the Supreme Court there was no impediment to Florence O'Brien taking out the grant to administer the estate and divide it amongst the next of kin in the manner provided in Section 69 of the 1965 Act . (I) 67 . (I) It an intestate dles leaving a spouse and no issuc, the spouse shall take the wholc estate . (2) lf an intcsmtc dies leaving a spouse and issu e (a) the apouse shall take two-thirds of the estate . znd (h) thc remainder shall be di.atributed umong the issue in accordance with subseetion (4) . (3) If an intestate dies leaving issue and no spoose, his estatc shall be distributed among the issue in accordance with subscction (4) . (4) If thc issuc arc in equal degree of relationship to the deceased the distribution shall be in equal shares anrong thent ; if they are not, it shall be per .vtirpes. 69_ (I) If an intestate dies leaving neither spouse nor issue norparent, his estate shall be distributed between his brothers and sisters in cqual shares, and, if any brother or sister does not survivc the inleslate, the surviving children of the deceased brother or sister shall, where any other brother ur sisrer of the deceased survives him, take in equal shares the share thar their parent wonld have raken if he or she had snrvived the intcstatc . (2) If an intestate dies leaving neither spouse nor issnc nor parent nor brother nor nistcr . his estate shull hc distrihuted in equal shares among the children of his brothers and sistcrs- 146 Ir addition to her inability to inherit.on the intestacy of her father the applicant's righIs to inherit from lier mother's estate are also liinited. She can only inherit from her mother'i estate, on an intestacy, if there are rio surviving legitimate issue (Legitimacy Act 1931, Section 9 (1)) . The applicant's father was survived by two sisters and her rnother is still alive . Her mother has three sisters who arc tnarried and have children . COMPLAINTS Article 8 The applicant claims that the following aspects of Irish law are in breactrof Article 8 nf the Convention :(1) the lack of mcognition of-the family unit in which she grew up ; (2) the failure to provide any procedure for the establishment of patertùty which would facilitate the developinent of a normal parent-child relationship between a fathe : and his "illegitimate" child ; (3) her total exdusion fronr any rights of succession to the estate of her father ; (4) the inferior nature of the rights of succession which the applicznt has in relation to her mother and the absence of any right to succession to other relatives either of her father or mottier . Article 1 4 The applicant submits that the statutory discrirainalion in matters of intestatc succession constitutes an unjustifiable discrimination on the ground of birth, contrary to Article 114 . She has been excluded from any right to succeed solely because of her status as a person born out of wedlock . There not being any "legitimate" children to succeed as "is~ue" the estate tten passed to the persons who were deenusd to be her father's lawffrd under Irish law, namely, his sist,rs and chiidren of a deceased brother . She alleges a further head of discrimination as regards her inferior rights of succession under Irish law to her mother's estate arnd her total lack of inheritanee rights on intestacy in relation to ttie estates of near relatives, either of her father or her mcther. She submits that the conclusiuns drawn in the N7arckx case relating to the right of an "ille;gitimate" child to succeed on the intestacy of lier mother, and her rights with regard to the near relatives of her tnother, apply equally to a naturalf•ather where paternity tas been established (see Eur . Court H .R., judgment of 13 June 1979, Series A no . 31, para. 59) Obje<-t af the application Tne applicant seeks just satisfaction in respect of the above violations and an ainendment of the relevant law . . .. 1147 PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COMMISSION The application was introduced on 30 May 1984 and registered on 4 June 1984 . It was examined by the Commission on 16 May 1985 when it was decided to communicate it to the respondent Government for observations on the admissibility and merits of the applicant's cotnplaints . The observations of the Government were received on 26 September 1985 and the applicant's observations in reply were received on 13 November 1985 . The Commission again considered the application on 5 March 1986 and decided to hold an oral hearing on the complaints under Article 14 in conjunction with Artiele 8 concerning the absence of any right of succession on the intestacy of her father or that of her parents' near relatives . The hearing took place in Strasbourg on 14 October 1986 and the uarties were represented as follows : For the Governmen t Mrs. Jane Liddy, Mr. Dertnot Gleeson, Mr. James O'Reilly, Mr. Matthew Russell, Agent, Department of Foreign Affairs Senior Counsel ' Barrister-at-law Offïce of the Attorney General, Adviser For the Applicant Senator Mary Robinson, Mr. Ercus Stewart , Mr. Kieran E. O'Brien, Senior Counsel Senior Counsel Solicito r SUMMARY OF THE OBSERVATIONS Respondent Governmeru Domestic Law and Practice The Irish Constitutio n Article 41 of the Constitution of Ireland (1937) provides that - the State recognises the family :asthe natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law ; - the State, therefore, guarantees to protect the family in its Constitution and authority, as the necessary basis of social order and as indispensable to the welfare of the Nation and State ; - the State pledges itself to guard with special care the institntion of Marriage , on which the Family is founded, and to protect it against attack. 148 7'he Suprenie Court, interpreting the above provisions, has held : - that the namral parents of an "illegitimate" child and the child itself are not a family for the purposesof Article 41 (The State iNieolaou) v . An Bord Uchtala 1966 I .R. 367) ; -- that an "illegitimate" child has unenutnerated natural rights which will be protecced under Article 40 .3 (which deals generally with personal rights) such as the right to be fed and to live, to be reared and educated, to havethe oppormnity of working and of realising his or her full personality and dignity as a human being as well as the same: natural rights nnder the Constitution as a "legitimate" child to religious and moral, intellectual, physical and social education (G . v. An Bord Uchtala 1980 I.R. 32). Registration of Births The law relating to registration of births of "illegitimate" hildren enables the Registrar to enter in the register the name of a person as father of the child at the joint request of the mother and of the person acknowledging himself to be the father of the child. In such cases the nalural father and mother both sign the register . The law is set out in tae Registration of Births and Deaths (Ireland) Act 1863 as amended by the Births and Deaths Registration (Ireland) Act 1880 . Provision is also inade for the issue of a sho1 form of birth certificate omitting taé information about the parents of the child. Succession rights The relevant law concerning succession rights is as follows : -"where The mother of an illegitiniate child dies intestate and does not leave any Icgitimate issuétheillegitimalechild, or,'if he is dead, his issue, shall be entitled to take any interest [in the estate] to which he or suctt issue would have been entitled if he had been born legitimate" (Legitimacy Act 1931, Section 9(1)) ; -- au "illegitimate" child has no rights of inheritance on the intestacy of his or her natural father . The expression "issue" in the releiant Sections of the Succession Act 1,965 has been held by the courts to refer to "legitimate" issue only . The Supretne Court in the case taken by the applicant has upheld the constitutionality of these provisions of the Successior, Act holding that they clo not infringe the hrinaiple of equality before the law and that such differential treatnient between childten is not necessarily unreasonable, unjust or arbitrary having regard to the consiitutional guarantee relating to the marriage-based family; - -- a spouse guilty of desertion which has continucd up to the death for two years or more is precluded from [aking any share in the estate, which isdistributed as if Fe had died before the deceased (Section 120 of tlae Succession Act 1965) ; -- an "illeg,itimate" child has no suitutory right to inherit on the intestacies of relatives of the natural parents . 149 Proposed Amendment of the Lctw In September 1982 the Law Reform Commission published a report on Illegitimacy under Irish law, recommending the elimination of discrimination between "legitimate" and "illegitimate" children and other refortns of the law . On 24 October 1983 the Government announced its intention to implement most of the refortns proposed . In May 1985 the Minister for Justice laid before each House of thc Oireachtas a Menrorandum entitled "The Status of Children" . Its purpose was to inform interested persons of the nature and scope of the main changes in the law which the Government proposed to make. The Governntcnt invited cotnments on the proposals . The text of a draft Status of Children Bill, annexed to the Memorandum, proposed inter alia that, for the purposes of the Succession Act 1965, the relationship betwecn every person and his father and mother would, subject to Section 27A, be determined irrespective of whether the father and mother are or have been married to each other, and that all other relationships should be determined accordingly, the word "issue" to be construed accordingly . In circumstances where the spouse or children (whether children of the tnarriage or otherwise) have made a substantial contribution to the deceased's estate the proposals provided that the High Court could make extra provision where application of the normal rules would result in injustice. The proposals included provisions whereby the father of a non-marital child could be granted full guardianship rights . The Government expect to review the draft Bill in October 1986 in the light of comments received in the meantime from interested persons, prior lo its introduction in the Dâil . Adinissibility and Merits Article 8 The Government submit that the Cotnmission lacks contpetence ratione temporis to examine this complaint . It is not open to the Commission to examine an allegation concerning legal safeguards in the field of family life in Ireland thirty or forty years ago . Nor is it open to the Comntission to apply principles developed by the European Court of Human Rights in the Marckx case in 1979 to a legal regime which obtained in Ireland thir(y years ago Qudgment of 13 June 1979) . Furthermore, insofar as the applicant's complaints relate to the effect on her private and family life of her inferior rights of succession to her mother and her parents' near relatives, she has not exhausted domestic remedies. In this respect she has not attacked these disabilities before the domestic courts invoking her ftmdamental personal rights as developed under Irish law . In the alternative, the applicant lacks the status of a victim as required by Article 25 . It is clear from the transcript of the proceedings before the High Court that her only concern in bringing the proceedings was to seek a declaration of paternity . She disclaims any interest in the sinall amount of money that her father left . Against this background the Commission is, in effect, being asked to examine in ab.stracto 150 the provisions of the Succession Act 1965 . Moreover, the proczedings beFore the High C'outt resulted in her a declaration of paternity . Further, lhe Status of Children Bill which is at present before the Irish iParlianrent atnends the Succession Act 1965 by putting marital and non-marital children on thc same footing for succession purposes and treating non-marital children as "issue" . In additiôn, the applicant's father was regisrered on her birth certificate and in the dotnestie proceediugs the Supretne Court direcled that the costs of all of the 3roceedings should be borne by the State . As regards the merits, the Governmcnt submit that Article 8 does not contain an absolute right to inherit property . In Ihis respect reference is made to paragraph 53 of the judgment of the Court n the Nlarekx case (loc. cit.). Artic'e 14 The applicant's mother is aged 75 and has no children apart from the applicant . The applicant can thus inherit from her tnother according to Section 9 of the Legitimacy Act 1931 . Accordingly she cannot claim to he a victim in this respe,ct . It is not known whether any effort was made by the applicant's mother to rcgularise her marital status while William Walker was still alive, notwith!tanding the poesibility thiu her husband could have obtained a divorce in England which could be recognised in Ireland . It is submitted, with refei-ence to the Comn-Lission's decision in Application No . 9519/81 (Dec. 15.3.84, unpablished), that there can be no bretich of Article 14 whete steps could lrave been taken to regularise the situation, thus avoiding the impact of the legislative provisions complained of . It is further submitted that since there is no right to inherit property as such under Article 8, no issue ot discrimination under Article, 14 can arise . 'l'he Govermnent maintain iltat the applicant seeks to apply the principles developed by the Court in the Marckx easc retrospectively . The Court has recognised that the different treatment of "legitimate" and "illegitimate" children was, for mariy years, regarded as 'permissible and normal" in a large uumber of C'ontracting States. It is submitted that the difference in patrimonial rights between "legitimate" and "illegitimate" children is proportionatc, and historically justified for reasons of public policy which include the requirement of legal certainty, and the aitn of protecting the tnarriage-bascd family . Finally, the Government poirit out, with refercncc to the judgment of the Court in the Basmussen case, that Contracting States enjoy a margin of appreciation in asse.ssing whether and to what ectent differences in otherwise similar si :uations justify a different treaunent in law (sec Eur. Court HR., judgment of 28 Novetnber 1984, para. 40) . In the present case the Government have not ezceeded the margin of appreciation. Notwithstanding lhe Marckx judgment, it eannot be said that the position leeislatccl for in 1955 was not then tenable . 151 The applican t Article 8 Although the scope of protection of family life under Article 8 is normally considered within the existing unit of the family, consisting of parents and dependent children, there arc circumstances when the protection of family life can extend beyond this factual situation . It is broad enough to encompass the relationship of an extended family . In this respect although the applicant was a married woman before her father died she had not severed her connection withher original family . She remained in close contact with her mother and father follôwing her own marriage and the establishment of her matrimonial home in England . Her father was a frequent visitor to her home in England and had established a close relationship with his grandchildren. Article 14 The applicant submits that under Irish law she would have no locus standi to bring constimtional proceedings before the courts challenging her rights over her mother's estate or that of her parents' relatives . Such proceedings could only lead to an examination of her claims, if these relatives had died . As regards the merits, the applicant submits, with reference to paragraph 45 of the Marckx judgment, that the concept of family life, within the meaning of Article 8, "includes at least the ties between near relatives, for instance those between grandparents and grandchildren, since such relatives may play a considerable part in family life." If such ties can extend to grandparents and grandchildren, they must also apply to the relationship between a father and daughter even though the daugher is now mature and may have married . Furthermore, the Court in the Marckx case also expressly accepted the contention that patrimonial rights fall within the reach of family life (loc. cit., paras. 51-52) . The Court has also concluded in the Marckx case that the discrimination in relation to succession rights affecting the "illegitimate" child lacked any objective and reasonable justification and violated Article 14 taken in conjunction with Art- icle 8. This finding was not grounded on the circumstances of the dependency of a young child with in a family unit but on the nature of the discrimination based on birth which had no reasonable or objective justification . The Government, in the present case, have advanced no arguments seeking to justify the ditference in treatment which the applicant suffered. The reference to Application No. 9519/81 (loc. cit.) is irrelevant sineë the applicant's parents did not exercise a choice to remain unmarried as they had no remedy open to them under Irish law which would enable the applicant's mother to dissolve her existing marriage and to remarry. 152 It cannot be claimed that the discrimination is el'fective in the sense that it deters relationships outside marriage since the evidence shows an inei-ease in the nunrber of children born out of wedlock-ii Ireland. In any event the Court has made it clear in the Marckx judgment that, while encouragement of the traditional family is in itself a legitimate aim, theineasur:s taken to achieve this must not injure or prejudice the "ülegitimate" family (para . 40) . Moreover, if the puripose of the discriininatc-ry provisions is to pnotect th e marriage-based zamily the measure must be regaided as disproportionate in the present case since there are no `legitimate" children to be protected . Finally, the exclusion of the, applicant from rights of succession is fundamentally unjust since it is tantamouit to a punishntent for the aotions of others . To exeluc,e innocent children, or, as in the case of the present applicant, innocent children who have reached maturity, merely because of the status of their paronts at the time of their birth is arbitrary, unreasonable, and unjus :ified . THE LAW l . 'Phe applicant, who was born out of wedlock in 1937, complains that the following aspects of Irish law are in breach of Article 8 of the Convention : (a) that Irich law does not recognise the family utiit in which she grew np ; (b) that there is no procedure under Irish law for the establishment of patei-nity in order to facilitate a normal parent/child relationsnip between a fathrr and his child born out of wedlock ; (c) lhe absence of any right of succession on intestacy in respect of her late father's estate ; (d) the infcrior nature of the rights of succession which she has in relation to her mother ; (e) the absence of any inheritance rights on intestacy over the estaas of her parents' near relative ;. She further complairl that the absence of inheritance rights on inteslacy over the estates of her father and her parents' near relatives constitutes an .unjustifiable discriinination on the ground of birth contrary to Article 14 of the Convention . 'rhe respondent Government submit inter a7ia that tae Conimission has no competen< z to examine the application since it concerns a legal regime relating to the applicants farnily life which predates the entry inta force of the Convention . It is further argued that the applicant has failed to exhaust domestic reniedies before the Irish courts since she made no constitutional complaint concerning her rights over her mother's estate or that of her parents' near relatives . Finally, the Government contend that it is not open to the applicant to complain about the present legal situation in Ireland iri respect of a family life which noIonger exists and that slte cannot be regarded as a victim in this respect . 153 The applicant contends that the protection afforded by Article 8 encompasses not only the family relationships which existed when she was growing up but also the relationships involved in the extended fatnily . She also claims that she would have no locus standi to institute constitutional proceedings in respect of her complaints concerning her inheritance rights over her mother's estate and that of her parents' near relatives . a. As regards Article 25 para. 1 The relevant part of this provision reads as follow s "The Commission may receive petitions addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe from any person, non-govermnental organisation or group of individuals claiming to be the victim of a violation by one of the High Contracting Parties of the rights set forth in this Convention . . . " The Comtnission considers that the applicant's complaints, undcr (a) and (b) above, relate to the legal regime in Ireland which was in force when the applicant was growing up and which concerns the family relationship during that period bet-. ween herself and her late father. Since such a complaint relates to a family life which has long since ceased to exist, she can no longer be considered to be a victim as required by Article 25 para . I of the Convcntion. The applicant has also cotnplained, under (d) above, of her inferior rights of succession to her mother's estate. The Commission recalls, in this respect, that the applicant can only inherit on the intestacy of her mother if there are no surviving "legitimate" issue (Section 9(I), Legitimacy Act 1931) . In the present case, however, there is no impediment to the applicant's succeeding to her tnother's estate since there are, in fact, no surviving "legitimate" issue. It follows that the applicant cannot be considered to be a victim in respect of this coniplaint since she will suffer no prejudice from the legislative provision complained of. The Commission considers therefore that the above complaints, under (a), (b), and (d) above, must be rejected as incompatible ratione personae with the Convention within the meaning of Article 27 para . 2 of the Convention . b. As regards exhaustion of domestic remedies The Government have submitted in this respect that it would have been open to the applicant to bring a constitutional action in respect of complaint (e) above, concerning the absence of any inheritance rights over the estates of her parents' near relatives . The applicant has replied-that sueh a reinedywould not be open to her since she would not satisfy the requirement of locus standi under Irish law . 154 IJndcr Article 26 of the Convention the Commission may only deal with a complaint "after all clomestic remedies have been exhausted, according to the generally recognised rules of international law .. ... . In aceerdanee with the Commission's case-law an applicant must make "normal use" of remedies which are likely to be effective and adequate to remedy the matters of which he complains (see e .g. Donnelly and others v . United Kingdom, D .R. 4 pp. 4, 64). In the present case the Supreme Court of Ireland ]tas upheld the conatimtionality nf Sections 65 and 69 of the Succession Act 1965, finding inter aCio that the differential trcannent between children did not infrünge the eoristitutional principle of equaliÇy since its purpose was to protect the primacy of the marriage-based fan»ly . In the lighr of this decision the Commission does not consider, even if it is assumed (hat the applicant would have locus standi, that the respondent Government have shown the c.xistence under Irish law of retnedie ; which are likely to be effective to remedy this complaint (see, matatis mutandis, R. Johaston and others v . Ireland, No. 9697/82, Cimm . Rep~rrt 5 .3 .85, pp . 61-63) . Accordingly it does not consider that the above complaint (e) can be rejected for failure to exhaust domestic remedies . ,4s regards Article 8 'rhe applicant contends that her remaining complaints, (e) and (e) above, concerning the aDsence of inheritance rights on intes?acy over the estates of her father and her parents' near relatives constitute an interference with her right to respect for familv life as protected by Article 8 of the Convention . Article 8 para. 1 provides as follows : "Everyone has the rig;ht to respect for his private and family life, his Itome and iis correspondcnce . " The Commission first observes that while the Huropean Court of Human Rights in the Marekx case consid .red that patrimonial rights féll withinThe scope of Article 8 of the Convention, it did not eonsider that this provisicn actually conferred any right to inherit . The Court stated as `ollows : "Mattcrs cf intestate ;uccëssion - and of disposition - bclween near relatives prove to be, intimatelv connected with family life . Family life does not include onlv social, moral or cultural relations, for example in the sphere of children's education ; it also comprises interests of a niaterial kind, as is slrown by, amongst other things, the obligations in respect of tnaintenance and the position occupied in the domestic legal systems of the roajoiity of the Contracting States by the instimtion of the reserved portion ofan estate (ré .serve héréditaire) . Whilst inherimnce rights are not normally exercised unlil the estaotowner' s 155 death, that is at a time when family life undergoes a change ot even comes to an end, this does not mean that no issue concerning such rights may arise before the death : the distribution of the estate may be settled, and in practice fairly often is settled, by the making of a will or of a gift on account of a future inheritance (avance d'hoirie) ; it therefore represents a feature of family life that cannot be disregarded . 53 . Nevertheless, it is not a requirement of Article 8 that a childshould be entitled to some share in the estates of his parents or even of other near relatives : in the matter of patrimonial rights also, Article 8 in principle leaves to the Contracting States the choice of the means calculated to allow everyone to lead a normal family life (see paragraph 31 above) and such an entitlement is not indispensable in the pursuit of a normal family life . In consequence the restrictions which the Belgian Civil Code places on Alexandra Marckx's inheritance rights on intestacy are not of themselves in conflict with the Convention, that is if they are considered independently of the reason underlying them ." (judgment of 13 June 1979, Series A no . 31, paras . 52-53) . Having regard to these principles, the Commission does not consider that the succession disabilities under (c) and (e) above constitute an interference with the applicant's right to respect for family life .Accordinglytheapplicant'sremainingcomplaintsunderArticle8mustb e rejected as manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 27 para. 2 of the Convention. 3. As regards Article 14 in conjunction with Article 8 In addition, the applicant complains that the absence of inheritance rights over the estates of her father and her parents' near relatives, under (c) and (e) above, constitutes an unjustified discrimination against her on the ground of birth contrary to Article 14 of the Convention . She contends that such discrimination under Irish law pursues no legitimate aim and has no reasonable or objective justification . The Government maintain inter alia that Article 14 cannot apply to the applicant's complaint since there is no right under Article 8 to inherit property from relatives . It is also submitted that the Commission should not examine the provisions of the Succession Act 1965 in the light of the principles subsequently developed by the Court in the Marckx case in 1979 . The Commission first notes, from the above-cited paragraphs of the decision of the Court in the Marckx case, that the scope of the concept of family life extends to inheritance rights and that accordingly Article 14 can apply to differential treatment of succession on intestacy . Accordingly it does not consider that this complaint can be rejected as incompatible ratione ntateriae with the Convention as submitted by the respondent Government .156 T'he Commission conaiders, in the light of the parties' submissions, that the above complaints of discriniination raise complex issues of fac, and law under the Convention, the determination of which should depend ou examination of tkie merits of the case . Is concludes, therefore, that this part of the application cannot be rejected as manifestly ill-founded wi thin the meaning of Article: 27 para. 2 of the Convention. F'or these reasons, the. Commission 1 . DECLARES ADMISSIELE, without prejudging to the merits of Ihe case, the applicant's complaints under Article 14 in conjunclion with Article 8 concerning the absence of inheritance rights on intestacy over the estatas of her father and lier parents' near relative s 2 . DECLARES INADMISSIBLE the remainder of the application .