AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF

                       Application No. 11240/84
                       by Frank CAMPBELL
                       against the United Kingdom

        The European Commission of Human Rights sitting in private
on 12 December 1987, the following members being present:

              MM. C.A. NØRGAARD, President
                  J.A. FROWEIN
                  S. TRECHSEL
                  F. ERMACORA
                  G. SPERDUTI
                  E. BUSUTTIL
                  G. JÖRUNDSSON
                  A.S. GÖZÜBÜYÜK
                  A. WEITZEL
                  J.-C. SOYER
                  H.G. SCHERMERS
                  H. DANELIUS
                  G. BATLINER
                  H. VANDENBERGHE
             Mrs.  G.H. THUNE
             Sir  Basil HALL
             MM.  F. MARTINEZ
                  C.L. ROZAKIS
             Mrs.  J. LIDDY

             Mr.  H.C. KRÜGER Secretary to the Commission

        Having regard to Article 25 of the Convention for the
Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;

        Having regard to the application introduced on 9 August 1984
by Mr.  Frank Campbell against the United Kingdom and registered
on 13 November 1984 under file N° 11240/84;

        Having regard to the report provided for in Rule 40 of the
Rules of Procedure of the Commission;

        Having regard to the observations submitted by the respondent
Government on 29 October 1985 and the observations in reply submitted
by the applicant on 22 March 1986;

        Having deliberated;

        Decides as follows:

THE FACTS

        The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be
summarised as follows:

        The applicant is a United Kingdom citizen, born in 1936.
He is a universal grinder by profession although he is presently
unemployed.  He lives with his wife in London.  Before the Commission
he is represented by Susan C. Hulton, legal director of Interights,
London.

I.      Particular facts of the case

        It appears that certain difficulties arose between the
applicant and the Inner London Education Authority concerning the
applicant's son A, who was born in 1971.  The Education Authority
subsequently applied for a care order because of continuing concern
for the welfare of A owing to his persistent non-attendance at school.
On 25 October 1982 the Kensington and Chelsea Juvenile Court
decided to place A in a children's home for an assessment period
of one month.

        On 22 November 1982 a care order was made in respect of A
under Section 1(2)(e) of the Children and Young Persons Act of 1969.
The Court found that A was in need of care, or control, which he was
unlikely to receive unless an order was made in respect of him and he
was to remain in the children's home where he had initially been
placed.  The applicant lodged a notice of appeal against the Juvenile
Court's decision but withdrew his appeal before it was heard.

        Under the care order A was taken from the custody of the
applicant and his wife into the care of the local education authority.
Following the order the local authority made arrangements for access
visits by the applicant and his wife on weekdays with A visiting his
parents at their home on Saturdays and Sundays.  A did visit his
parental home at weekends but only the applicant availed himself of
the weekday offered, his wife finding the experience too upsetting.

        Difficulties arose in the contacts between the applicant and
his son.  The Government submit that the difficulties started in May
1983 when allegedly it was reported by local authority officials
concerned with A that he was unhappy about maintaining contact with
his parents.  The applicant maintains that the difficulties did not
start until January 1984 when he experienced problems in communicating
with A, who on several occasions was not in the home on visiting
evenings.

        It is clear, however, that the applicant obtained advice
during the summer of 1983 in relation to seeking the return of A to
him and his wife.  Following the advice he received the applicant made
an application to the Juvenile Court for a discharge of the care order
according to Section 21(2) of the Children and Young Persons Act of
1969.

        The applicant's request for legal aid was refused by the Law
Society on 1 November 1983 and the application for the revocation of
the care order was refused by the Juvenile Court on 5 December 1983.
The applicant did not seek appeal against this decision nor has he
made any further application for a discharge of the care order.

        The applicant continued to visit A but due to the problems
mentioned above these visits became more and more strained.  It was
also reported by the applicant himself that in late 1983 there was an
incident of violence against A by his mother.  Having regard to
these problems and the fact that A was to be starting school in early
1984, for which reason the applicant did not wish to interfere in any
way with the prospects for success of the education programme by
persisting with visits which might be distressing for A, the applicant
ceased visiting his son in January/February 1984.  On 10 February 1984
A's mother wrote a letter to him and after receipt of this letter it
appears that A began refusing to see his parents.

        In February 1984 the local authority suggested a meeting
between the applicant and his wife and the social worker taking care
of A.  The meeting was scheduled to take place on 16 March 1984 but
the social worker was told by the applicant that he was unwelcome.  By
letter of 21 March 1984 the social worker informed the applicant inter
alia:

        "I regret your unwillingness to discuss (A) with me.
        However I wish to state that I shall offer, as a matter
        of course, to have a discussion with you every six months
        prior to each Statutory Review.  As (A's) next Review,
        after this, will be in September I hope you will be
        able to respond, at that time, to another approach from
        me."

        There was no contact between the applicant and his son until
June 1984 when the applicant, after a telephone call to the place
where A lived, sought to recommence his weekday visits.  The local
authority offered a meeting and the meeting took place on 24 July
1984.  At the meeting the applicant maintains that he was informed by
A's social worker that he could no longer visit, telephone or write to
A.  The Government submit, however, that it was impressed upon the
applicant that contact should remain but that there was a need for
planned contact and a need to meet to plan such contact.

        Referring to the above meeting the local authority by letter
of 26 June 1984 expressed the view that:


" ... planned arrangements for (A) to keep in contact with
both of you are essential to his commendable progress at
school and at (the children's home).  We feel that
unnecessary feelings of rejection on your part and
disappointment on (A's) part can be avoided by planning the
contact as well as possible.  For instance, you might call
at (the children's home) and find that (A) is away on holiday or on an outing.
It is in (A's) interest that we all make strong efforts to come together to
discuss his future contact with both of you.  I wish to repeat my invitation to
you both to come to this office to meet Mr.  W and me for this discussion."


        A meeting took place on 1 August 1984 but the applicant
nevertheless felt that he was now barred from seeing his son and
complained on 18 September 1984 to the Director of Social Services
who, on 1 October 1984, replied:


"I have discussed the situation with the social worker (Mr.
M).  It seems that Mr.  M has been in contact with you and
has talked about (A's) contact with you and your wife.  From
the records which have been kept I see that you and your
wife have not been able to agree to see Mr.  M at your home.
In view of the Department's responsibilities there has been
a reasonable expectation that a discussion takes place
concerning (A's) contact with you.  This expectation is very
much linked to the fact that on the last occasion at which
(A) visited there was an incidence of violence being used
against him.

I regret that you have not seen (A) during the last nine
months or so as you have been unable to accept a visit from
Mr.  M which must precede this.  You have been informed by
Mr.  M and Mr.  W of (A's) progress at school and the
encouraging advances he has made in other areas.

I am aware of your great love and concern for (A) and would
wish to help in whatever way possible to re-establish a
contact which relates to (A's) long-term needs.  If you
think it would be of assistance I am prepared to meet you
and (your wife) at this office and discuss the basis on
which we can proceed.

I hope you can accept this offer and look forward to hearing
from you giving me some idea of the most suitable days and
times convenient for you."


        Due to this development another meeting was arranged at the
Social Services Building on 25 October 1984 in order to clarify the
situation.  The applicant was informed that only prearranged visits
with his son would be offered in the future, supervised by the
responsible social worker at the offices of the Social Services or at
the parents' home.  Continuing review of the situation would follow
these visits and the wishes of A should be taken into consideration.
It was finally decided that the first visit should take place on
1 November 1984 at the Social Services Building.

        The meeting took place but the applicant submits that it was
very unsuccessful.  He therefore complained to the Social Services
about the responsible social worker whose presence he felt to have
been unnecessary and intrusive.  Nevertheless a new meeting was
arranged on 16 November 1984, this time at the children's home but
otherwise under the same conditions.  After these two meetings the
Government submit that A refused further visits unless and until his
mother retracted the statements made in her letter of 10 February 1984
mentioned above.

        On 3 December 1984 the applicant's complaints against the
responsible social worker were dismissed.  In his letter the Area
Officer of the Social Services wrote inter alia:


"Lastly, therefore, I come to your request for a
different social worker and your belief that this will
facilitate your 'starting afresh'.  After careful thought
and examination of Mr M's objectives I find I am unable to
agree that the ends you seek will be brought about by the
means you advocate.  Indeed, I think it important that for
the first time since the care proceedings (your wife) has
joined her voice with yours in signing the letter you
sent me.  I do consider that this bodes well for the future
and hope that it is not long before (A) is able to meet you
both, albeit in the first instance on his terms in the
presence of his social worker."


        There were no further visits arranged but certain contacts
between the local authority and the applicant.  The situation was
described in a letter of 6 February 1985 to the applicant and his wife
from the local authority stating inter alia:


"Now the situation, (the applicant) insists, is one in which
he says there is no point in any further discussion with me
unless I am planning for (A's) return to live with you.  In
the present situation, as I explained, this is not the
Department's plan.  I again told you that a social worker
from the Fostering and Adoption Unit has been allocated to
pursue plans to obtain a foster family for (A).

We seem now to be in a position of stalemate concerning a
very important part of (A's) life: his contact, or lack of
it, with you both.  It cannot be in (A's) interest to have
his uncertainty and anxiety unrelieved.  This is a matter as
I told (you) I shall be discussing with my supervisor, Miss D."


        The local authority held a review of the case on 1 April 1985
as a result of which it was agreed that quarterly visits to the
applicant and his wife should be offered with the acquiescence of A.
Such a supervised visit to the parental home was arranged for and took
place on 1 May 1985.  The applicant and his wife did not attend or
participate in the review of the case.  Nor were they informed of the
reasons for the decision taken.  They subsequently conveyed to the
local authority the wish that they be allowed weekly or monthly visits
but by letter of 5 September 1985 the applicant was informed of "the
Review's view that a visit every three months seemed to offer benefits
to all concerned".

        In accordance with the offer of quarterly access decided by
the local authority in April 1985 a visit for September 1985 was
arranged.  The Government submit, however, that the visit was abandoned
at the applicant's son's own request and that he is at present still
refusing to visit his parents.


II.     Domestic law and practice

The compulsory placing of a child in care by order of the Juvenile
Court under the Children and Young Persons Act of 1969

        A local education authority, as defined in Section 114 of the
Education Act of 1944, has, by virtue of Section 2(8) of the Children
and Young Persons Act of 1969 ("CYPA 1969"), a duty under Section 2(2)
of the CYPA 1969 to apply to the Juvenile Court, which is a specially
constituted Magistrates' Court, for an order under Section 1(3) of the
CYPA 1969 in respect of a child who it appears to that local
education authority is of compulsory school age (within the meaning of
the Education Act of 1944) and is not receiving efficient full-time
education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude.

        In the application before the court the local education
authority has to show:

a.      that the child is of compulsory school age (within the meaning
of the Education Act of 1944) and is not receiving efficient full-time
education suitable to his ability, age and aptitude.  By virtue of
Section 2(8)(b) of the CYPA 1969 this condition is deemed to be met if
it is proved that the child is a registered pupil at a school which he
is not attending regularly within the meaning of Section 39 of the
Education Act of 1944 and it is not proved he is receiving the
education mentioned in Section 1(2)(e);

b.      that he is also in need of care and control and that he is
unlikely to receive it unless one of the orders mentioned in Section
1(3) of the CYPA 1969 is made.

        Section 44 of the Children and Young Persons Act of 1933
provides that every court in care proceedings shall in a proper case
take steps to remove children from undesirable surroundings and to
secure that proper provision is made for their education and training.

        The effect of a care order under Section 1(3)(c) of the CYPA
1969 is that the rights of the parents except the right to agree to
adoption and the right to influence the child's religious beliefs are
taken from the parents and vested in the local authority.  The powers
and duties of local authorities with respect to children and young
persons committed to their care are contained in Section 10 of the
Child Care Act of 1980.

        The care proceedings are, unless ground (f) in Section 1 of
the CYPA 1969 is alleged, civil proceedings and are governed by the
Magistrates' Courts (Children and Young Persons) Rules 1970
(S.I.1970/1972) and the law of evidence in civil cases applies
to such proceedings.

        The parties to the proceedings are the local authority and the
child.  Subject to his means the child is entitled to legal aid and
to be represented (Section 28(3) of the Legal Aid Act of 1974).  It is
open to the child to have his parent conduct his case on his behalf
either directly or indirectly through a lawyer in which case the
parent can apply for legal aid on the child's behalf (Section 40(2) of
the Legal Aid Act of 1974).  The child being of sufficient competence,
may decide that he wishes to be separately represented.  Where a court
thinks there may be a conflict of interest between the child and the
parent, the court may make a legal aid order and appoint a solicitor
to act on the child's behalf.  In that case the parent may be granted
legal aid.  Legal aid will be granted if the interests of justice
require.

        When the parent is not acting on behalf of the child he has
the right to attend the hearing and to give or call evidence
challenging allegations made against him by the local authority.  In
practice the court would also allow the parent to cross-examine
witnesses on behalf of the local authority and to have separate legal
representation.  The position has since May 1984 been clarified,
without prejudice to the court's inherent jurisdiction, as a result of
amendments to the Magistrates' Courts (Children and Young Persons)
Rules 1970 (S.I.1970/1972).

        The child or parent on behalf of the child (except where the
parent has not represented the child in the Juvenile Court) may appeal
against the order to the Crown Court under Section 2(12) of the CYPA
1969.  The Crown Court reviews the decision by way of a rehearing of
the case.  The local authority has no general right of appeal where
no order is made under Section 1(3), or where the order made was not
the one sought, except on a point of law to the Divisional Court of
the High Court.

        After a care order has been made, the child and the parent on
his behalf have a right under Section 21 of the CYPA 1969 to seek at
intervals of three months or, with the consent of the court, more
frequently, the discharge of the order or its variation to a
supervision order.  A supervision order, which is dealt with in
Sections 11 to 19 of the CYPA 1969, will enable the child to live with
his parents but the child may be required by the order to comply with
instructions, for example to participate in certain activities, given
from time to time by the local authority which is the supervisor.  The
parent and child have a right to appeal to the Crown Court against a
refusal of any application to discharge or vary a care order.  Further
appeal lies to the Divisional Court by case stated with leave of that
court.  If the point at issue is a point of law the parent and child
may go directly from the Juvenile Court to the Divisional Court and
thereafter to the Court of Appeal and in very rare cases and on a
point of law of general public importance to the House of Lords.  The
same provisions as to separate representation and legal aid apply as
in relation to the original proceedings.

Termination or refusal of access in respect of a child placed
in care

        In reaching any decision relating to the child in their care a
local authority have to give, by virtue of Section 18 of the Child
Care Act of 1980, first consideration to the need to safeguard and
promote the welfare of the child throughout his childhood and have so
far as practicable to ascertain the wishes of the child regarding the
decision and give due consideration to them having regard to his age
and understanding.

        Since 30 January 1984, under the provisions of Section 12A to
D of the Child Care Act of 1980, a local authority may not terminate
or refuse to make arrangements for access to a child in their care
pursuant to (inter alia) a care order unless they give notice of the
termination or refusal to the parent in accordance with the Notice of
Termination and of Refusal Order 1983 (S.I.1983/1680).  This notice
must inform the parent of his right to apply to the Juvenile Court for
an access order.  The parent may then make a complaint to the Juvenile
Court, which may make such order as to access, subject to such
conditions with regard to commencement, frequency, duration or place
of access or to any other matter for which it appears to the court
that provision ought to be made in connection with the requirement to
allow access (Section 12C(3) of the Child Care Act of 1980).  Appeal
from any such decision lies to the High Court (Section 12C(5)).  The
order is subject to variation and discharge (Section 12D).  A parent
applying for an access order is eligible to receive legal aid in
respect of representation.

        Section 12G requires that the Secretary of State should
prepare and lay before Parliament a code of practice with regard
to access to children in care.  The Secretary of State for Social
Security laid before Parliament such a code on 16 December 1983.

        The code sets out "the basic principles on which local
authorities and other agencies should operate in promoting and
sustaining access and in the handling of decisions to restrict and
terminate access where that becomes necessary".  Paragraph 11 of the
code reiterates the local authority's duty to give due consideration
to the child's wishes and feelings having regard to his age and
understanding and indicates that where a child is openly unwilling to
see his parents local authority staff should help resolve the
difficulties, but where these cannot be resolved the local authority
may have to conclude that a child cannot be forced unwillingly into
seeing a parent and that access has to be terminated.

        Paragraph 13 of the code requires that access arrangements
should be kept under review and discussed with parents.  Paragraph 15
requires that decisions on access should be explained to parents and
discussed with them.

        As the regulation of access in respect of a child committed to
its care under Section 1 of the CYPA 1969 is a matter which has been
vested in the local authority by statute, the actions of the local
authority can be challenged by way of judicial review in the High
Court, if it acts improperly in the regulation of access.  The
practice laid down in the statutory code as well as any special
extenuating circumstances would be matters for the High Court to
take into consideration in such review.
        The relevant parts of the new legislation reads as follows:

"12A. Children to whom Part 1A applies

(I)     Subject to sub-section (2) below, this Part of this Act applies
to any child in the care of a local authority in consequence -

        (a)     of a care order (including an interim order);

        (b)     of an order under Section 2(I) of the Matrimonial
                Proceedings (Magistrates' Courts) Act 1960;

        (c)     of committal under Section 23(I) of the Children
                and Young Persons Act 1969;

        (d)     of an order under Section 2(2)(b) of the Guardianship
                Act 1973;

        (e)     of an order under Section 17(I)(b) of the Children
                Act 1975 or Section 26(I)(b) of the Adoption Act
                1976 (order on refusal of adoption order);

        (f)     of an order under Section 36(2) or 3(a) of the
                Children Act 1975 (order on revocation of
                custodianship order);

        (g)     of an order under Section 10(I) of the Domestic
                Proceedings and Magistrates' Court Act 1978; or

        (h)     of a resolution under Section 3 above.

(2)     This Part of this Act does not apply to a child in the care of
a local authority in consequence of an order made by the High Court.

12B.  Termination of access

(I)     A local authority may not terminate arrangements for access to
a child to whom this Part of this Act applies by its parent, guardian
or custodian, or refuse to make such arrangements unless they have
first given the parent, guardian or custodian notice of termination or
refusal in a form prescribed by order made by the Secretary of State.

(2)     A notice under this Section shall contain a statement that the
parent, guardian or custodian has a right to apply to a court for an
order under Section 12C below.

(3)     A notice terminating access shall state that access will be
terminated as from the date of service of the notice.

(4)     A local authority are not to be taken to terminate access for
the purpose of this Section in a case where they propose to substitute
new arrangements for access for existing arrangements.

(5)     A local authority are not to be taken to refuse to make
arrangements for the access for the purposes of this Section in a case
where they postpone access for such reasonable period as appears to
them to be necessary to enable them to consider what arrangements for
access (if any) are to be made.

(6)     A notice under this Section may be served on a parent,
guardian or custodian either by delivering it to him or by leaving it
at his proper address or by sending it by post.

(7)     For the purposes of this Section, and of Section 7 of the
Interpretation Act 1978 in its application to this Section the proper
address of a person shall be his last known address.

12C.  Access orders - general

(I)     A parent, guardian or custodian on whom a notice under Section
12B above is served may apply for an order under this Section (in this
Part of this Act referred to as an 'access order').

(2)     An application under sub-section (I) above shall be made by way
of complaint to an appropriate juvenile court.

(3)     An access order shall be an order requiring the authority to
allow the child's parent, guardian or custodian access to the child
subject to such conditions as the order may specify with regard to
commencement, frequency, duration or place of access or to any other
matter for which it appears to the court that provision ought to be
made in connection with the requirement to allow access.

(4)     A juvenile court is an appropriate juvenile court for the
purposes of this Part of the Act if it has jurisdiction in the area of
the authority serving the notice under Section 12B above.

(5)     An appeal shall lie to the High Court against any decision of
a juvenile court under this Part of this Act.

12D.  Variation and discharge of access orders

(I)     Where an access order has been made -

        (a)     the parent, guardian or custodian named in the order;
                or

        (b)     the local authority,

        may apply for the variation or discharge of the order.

(2)     An application under this Section shall be made by way of
complaint to an appropriate juvenile court.

12E.  Emergency orders

(I)     A qualified justice of the peace may make an order under this
sub-section where he is satisfied that continued access to a child by
its parent, guardian or custodian in accordance with the terms of an
access order will put the child's welfare seriously at risk.

(2)     Subject to sub-section (3) below, an order under sub-section (I)
above shall be an order suspending the operation of the access order
for 7 days beginning with the date of the order under sub-section (I)
above, or for such shorter period beginning with that date as may be
specified in that order.

(3)     If during that period for which the operation of the access
order is suspended the local authority make an application for its
variation or discharge to an appropriate juvenile court, its operation
shall be suspended until the date on which the application to vary or
discharge is determined or abandoned.

(4)     An application for an order under sub-section (I) above may be
made ex parte.

(5)      A justice of the peace is a qualified justice of the peace
for the purposes of this Section if he is a member of a juvenile court
panel formed under Schedule 2 to the Children and Young Persons Act
1933.

12F.  Safeguarding of interests of child

(I)     A court -

        (a)     to which an application for an access order or
                any other application under this Part of this Act
                is made; or

        (b)     to which an appeal under this Part of this Act
                is brought,

        shall regard the welfare of the child as the first and
paramount consideration in determining the matter.

(2)     In any proceedings before a court under this Part of this Act
the court may, where it considers necessary in order to safeguard the
interests of the child, by order make the child a party of the
proceedings.

(3)     If the court makes the child a party to the proceedings, it
shall in accordance with rules of court appoint a guardian ad litem of
the child for the purposes of the proceedings unless it is satisfied
that to do so it is not necessary for safeguarding the interests of
the child.

(4)     A guardian ad litem appointed in pursuance of this Section
shall be under a duty to safeguard the interests of the child in the
manner prescribed by rules of court.

12G.  Code of practice

(I)     The Secretary of State shall prepare, and from time to time
revise, a code of practice with regard to access to children in care.

(2)     Before preparing the code or making any alteration in it the
Secretary of State shall consult such bodies as appear to him to be
concerned.

(3)     The Secretary of State shall lay copies of the code and of any
alteration in the code before Parliament; and if either House of
Parliament passes a resolution requiring the code or any alteration in
it to be withdrawn the Secretary of State shall withdraw the code or
alteration and, where he withdraws the code, shall prepare a code in
substitution for the one which is withdrawn.

(4)     No resolution shall be passed by either House of Parliament
under sub-section (3) above in respect of a code or alteration after
the expiration of the period of 40 days beginning with the day on
which a copy of the code or alteration was laid before that House; but
for the purposes of this sub-section no account shall be taken of any
time during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued or during which
both Houses are adjourned for more than four days.

(5)     The Secretary of State shall publish the code as for the time
being in force."

        The above legislation, except the new Child Care Act 1980,
Section 12F(3) and (4), was brought into force on 30 January 1984, and
those provisions were brought into force on 27 May 1984 by the Health
and Social Services and Social Security Adjudiciations Act 1983
(Commencement No. 2) Order 1983, SI 1983 No. 1862, made under 32(2),
ante.

        The above Section 12 inserts a new Part IA in the Child Care
Act 1980, Vol 50(I), p 1054 which implements proposals made by the
Government to provide natural parents and others with parental duties
with statutory rights of access to children who are in local authority
care, but, at the same time, enable authorities to exercise their
existing legal responsibilities towards children in their care.  The
new provisions apply to all children in care with the exception,
firstly, of those who are there as a result of a High Court order (in
such cases the court already has power to make an access order)
(Section 12A(2) of the Act of 1980) and, secondly, in cases where
children are in voluntary care by virtue of Section 2 of the Act of
1980, Vol 50(I), p 1058 (where the child can be removed from care, and
where the authority has not got unrestricted power to terminate
access).  In the latter case, however, the provisions may apply where
the child concerned, though originally in care on a voluntary basis
under Section 2, is subsequently the subject of a resolution under
Section 3 of the Act of 1980, Vol 50(I), p 1061, whereupon the
authority assumes parental rights and duties (Section 12A(I)(h) of the
Act).
        The main features of these provisions may be summarised as
follows:

        (i)     existing arrangements for access may not be
                terminated, and initial arrangements for access may
                not be refused, unless notice of termination or
                refusal has first been given to the child's parent,
                guardian or custodian: termination of access does
                not occur, for these purposes, if the authority
                substitutes new access arrangements for the existing
                arrangements (Section 12B(I), (4));

        (ii)    upon receipt of a notice terminating or refusing
                access, the parent may apply to a juvenile court for
                an "access order" (Section 12C(I), (2)).  The order,
                if granted, will require the authority to allow access
                to the child and specify the frequency of visits
                and other relevant conditions (Section 12C(3)): an
                appeal lies to the High Court (Section 12C(5));

        (iii)   either a parent or the authority may apply to a
                juvenile court for variation or discharge of an
                order (Section 12D);

        (iv)    provision is made for the suspension of an access
                order if continued access would put the child's
                welfare seriously at risk (Section 12E);

        (v)     the court considering the application for an access
                order or on appeal is to regard the welfare of the
                child as the first and paramount consideration in
                determining the matter (Section 12F(I));

        (vi)    the Secretary of State is required to prepare and
                periodically revise a code of practice with regard
                to access to children in care, and publish that code
                (Section 12G).


COMPLAINTS

        The applicant complains that the decision of the local
authority to restrict his contact with his son who is in their care,
and the manner in which that decision was made, violated his right to
respect for his family life guaranteed in Article 8 of the Convention.

        He further complains that the procedure for deciding upon
access to his son was not in conformity with Article 6 para. 1 of the
Convention.

        The applicant also complains that he did not have an effective
remedy before a national authority, as required by Article 13 of the
Convention, in respect of his complaint that the decision of the local
authority interfered with his right to respect for his family life.


PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COMMISSION

        The application was introduced on 9 August 1984 and registered
on 13 November 1984.

        The Commission decided on 1 July 1985 to bring the application
to the notice of the respondent Government and invite them to submit
written observations on the admissibility and merits.  Having been
granted an extension of the time-limit the Government submitted their
observations on 29 October 1985.

        On 7 November 1985 the President, acting in accordance with
Rule 7 of the Addendum to the Commission's Rules of Procedure, decided
that legal aid should be granted to the applicant.

        The applicant was invited to submit observations in reply to
those of the respondent Government by 24 February 1986.  Having been
granted an extension of this time-limit twice the applicant submitted
his observations on 22 March 1986.

        On 17 July 1986 the Commission decided to adjourn the
examination of the case pending the outcome of the five child care
cases brought before the European Court of Human Rights.  The Court
pronounced its judgments in these cases on 8 July 1987 (Eur.  Court
H.R., Series A no. 120).


SUBMISSIONS OF THE PARTIES

The Government

Article 6 of the Convention

        The present application discloses no issue arising under
Article 6 para. 1 in respect of the proceedings before the Juvenile
Court.  Article 6 para. 1 is only applicable to the present case if a
parent's claim to access to his child constitutes a civil right within
the meaning of that Article.  The jurisprudence of the Commission
indicates that rights of access and custody may fall within Article 8
of the Convention - see eg.  No. 7911/77, Dec. 12.12.77, D.R. 12 p. 192
(193) where the Commission said: "in principle a parent always has a
right of access to his or her child under paragraph 1 of Article 8 of
the Convention".  This does not necessarily mean that such a right is
"a civil right" for the purposes of Article 6 para. 1 and the
Government make no admission as to that.  But, even assuming that it
can be a civil right for those purposes, it is not a right that has a
separate continuing existence in a situation where the bundle of
parental rights of which it forms part has been lawfully transferred
to another party.

        Thus in this case the local authority, following the care
order made by the Juvenile Court under the CYPA 1969, stood in the
shoes of the parents and was entitled to exercise the whole bundle of
parental rights including the right to regulate and supervise the
child's association with other persons in the interests of the child.
It follows that the persons the local authority might wish to restrict
having access to the child in its interests could include its natural
parents.  This is likely to be necessary when visits by the natural
parents prove to be disruptive to the child's welfare and, as in the
present case, the child plainly indicates that he does not wish to
see his parents.  The parents' rights of access cannot be considered
in such cases as separable from the parental rights as a whole.

        Support for this view can be drawn from the Commission's
jurisprudence in relation to a parent's right to determine a child's
education.  In Dec.  No. 7911/77 (cited above) the Commission decided
that the applicant had lost his right to determine his child's
education because that was "an integral part of the right to custody
which in the present case has been removed from the applicant by the
Swedish courts".  In a more recent case (No. 9867/82, Dec. 7.12.82,
unpublished), where the applicant had complained that his former wife
had been permitted to remove his children to South Africa to be
brought up in a society to which he objected, the Commission reaffirmed
the dictum in No. 7911/77 quoted above and went on to say:

        "Similarly it is normally for the parent having custody to
        determine more broadly the mode of the child's upbringing
        and to assess the consequences of taking up residence in a
        given society."

        In just the same way the lawful transfer to the local
authority of all the rights of a parent mean that the rights forming
an integral part of the parental rights transferred, such as the
rights to custody and access, are for the local authority as custodial
parent to determine.  The transfer of all the parental rights may be
challenged, and was so challenged in the present case in the
proceedings for the care order under Section 1(2) of the CYPA 1969 and
by the subsequent application for the discharge of that order under
Section 21 of the CYPA 1969.

        If, however, contrary to the view taken above, Article 6
para. 1 is applicable, the Government submit that no breach of the
Article has occurred.  The hearing for which Article 6 provides was
afforded in the opportunities, of which the applicant at least partly
availed himself, for challenging the care order itself and seeking its
revocation.  On both occasions when matters relating to the
applicant's son were before the Court, that is the proceedings for a
care order on 22 November 1982 and the proceedings for its discharge
on 5 December 1983, there was a full hearing in which the applicant
had the opportunity to participate.

        As regards the applicant's opportunities to challenge the
access arrangements themselves, the Government would point out that
prior to January 1984 the applicant had unrestricted access to his
son.  As regards the arrangements which the local authority sought to
make for the visits of the applicant to his son since 1984, the local
authority has acted subject to the code of practice with regard to
access to children in care laid before Parliament by the Secretary of
State for Social Security on 16 December 1983.  If the authority had
terminated access or refused to make arrangements for it in accordance
with Section 12 of the Child Care Act of 1980 it would have been open
to the applicant to apply to the Juvenile Court for an order for
access.  If the applicant had had a complaint that the authority was
not complying with the provisions of the Code in making arrangements
for access, it is submitted that he could have challenged the local
authority's conduct in the High Court by way of an application for
judicial review.  This he did not do.

        It is accordingly submitted that if, which is not admitted,
the applicant's claim to access is a "civil right" within the meaning
of Article 6 para. 1, the procedures available to the applicant for
the determination of that right are in conformity with that Article.

Article 8 of the Convention

        Paragraph 1 of Article 8 prohibits in principle, and subject
to the provisions of para. 2, interference with an existing family
unit.  Denial of access to a parent, for example, may constitute
interference under Article 8 para. 1.  It may however be justified
under the exception in para. 2.

        The history of this case shows that until January 1984 the
applicant and his wife had unlimited access to their son.  Thereafter
for some five months the applicant stopped visiting his son of his own
volition.  The local authority during this period made efforts to
restore the access arrangements and discussed the child's future needs
and requirements with the applicant.  Subsequent to the applicant's
application to the Commission, the abandonment of A's visit for
September 1985, arranged as a result of the review of the case by the
local authority in April 1985, was at A's own request; he is still
refusing to visit his parents.  The local authority are continuing
their efforts to resolve this situation.

        It is therefore denied that the local authority prevented the
applicant having access to his son.  Of his own volition the applicant
ceased, albeit temporarily, visiting his son.  Thereafter the son has
expressed a desire not to see his parents.

        Under Section 18 of the Child Care Act of 1980 and the code of
practice laid before Parliament on 16 December 1983 pursuant to
Section 12G of the Child Care Act of 1980, the local authority have a
duty to give due regard to the wishes and feelings of a child in their
care having regard to his age and understanding.  It must be pointed
out that the child at the centre of this dispute is now 16 years old
and of good intelligence.  The local authority have sought to resolve
the problems relating to access and made considerable efforts to
discuss these difficulties with the applicant and his wife in
accordance with the code of practice.  It is therefore submitted that
there has been no interference with the applicant's right to respect
for his family life.

        If contrary to the Government's submission it is found that
the arrangements made by the local authority interfere with the
applicant's right to family life under Article 8 para. 1, this
interference was justified by the exceptions set out in paragraph 2
of Article 8, in particular the protection of the child's health.
The health or morals of a child include his psychological health and
well-being and this requires that he be brought up in a stable
environment free from conflict and tension.  The child has his own
"rights and freedoms" under Article 8 to be brought up in such an
environment.  Public authorities have to maintain a balance between
the rights of either party, and the access of the parent may have to
be stopped or restricted in order to protect the rights and freedoms
of the child.  Hendriks v. the Netherlands, Comm.  Report 8.3.82, D.R.
29 p. 5 exemplifies the Commission's consistent jurisprudence in
stating that "in assessing the question of whether or not the refusal
of the right of access to the non-custodial parent was in conformity
with Article 8 of the Convention, the interests of the child
predominate.  The interference is therefore justified when it has been
made for the protection of the health of the child".  In its recent
decision on admissibility in Application No. 10148/82 (Dec. 14.3.85,
to be published in D.R. 42) the Commission stated:

(provisional translation)

"... having regard to Article 8 para. 2, when as in the
instant case there is a serious conflict between the
interests of the child and those of one of his parents which
can only be resolved to the detriment of one of these
parties the interests of the child must prevail.  In the
eyes of the Commission there is nothing to show that the
withdrawal of the applicant's right of access was not
necessary in the essential interests of the child."

        Much of the jurisprudence of the Commission relating to
Article 8 in respect of the custody of or access to children concerns
children whose parents were divorced or living apart under judicial
separation, which was not the situation in the present case.
Nevertheless, it is submitted that that jurisprudence lends support to
the principle that paragraph 2 of Article 8 leaves a wide margin of
appreciation to domestic courts or authorities, before whom questions
of access or custody are raised, to decide those questions in the
light of what is necessary to protect the well-being of the child,
including his mental and emotional health, and that it is the child's
interests that predominate.

        In the light of these principles the Government submit that,
on the facts of the present case, there is no appearance of a violation
of Article 8.

Article 13 of the Convention

        The complaint raises the same issues as does the complaint
under Article 6 para. 1.  The right of access was an integral part of
the rights transferred as a whole to the local authority by the care
order made by the Juvenile Court in November 1982.  There was a right
to appeal against the care order.  Whilst the applicant lodged notice
of an appeal he subsequently withdrew his appeal.  In addition there
was the right to seek revocation of the care order.  The applicant
unsuccessfully sought such revocation in December 1983 and did not
appeal.  Further, applications for subsequent discharge of the order
or for a supervision order could have been made but the applicant has
not made any such further applications.  The applicant could also
challenge in the High Court the local authority's conduct on access
but has not done so.  It is accordingly submitted that the applicant
had an effective remedy in compliance with Article 13 of the
Convention.

The Applicant

Article 6 of the Convention

        The first question which arises is whether a parent's right of
access to his child constitutes a "civil right" within the meaning of
Article 6 para. 1.

        Under English law, in disputes between divorced or separated
parents, the party who does not have custody of his or her child has a
right to apply to the civil courts for a determination as to whether
or not his or her right of access should be granted.  By definition,
therefore, a parent's right of access would appear to be a civil right
within the meaning of Article 6 para. 1.

        This would also appear to be the view taken by the Commission
in the case of Hendriks v. the Netherlands (Comm.  Report 8.3.82, D.R.
29 p. 5) in which it examined the compatibility with Article 6 para. 1
of the decisions of the Dutch courts denying a father's access to his
child.

        The case law relied upon by the Government to the effect that
access may be considered under Article 8 of the Convention does not
preclude its also being considered as a civil right under Article 6
para. 1.

        Nor is this civil right extinguished, as the Government
contend, upon the making of a care order and the transfer of parental
rights to the local authority.  The notion, upon which the Government
rely, that all parental rights, including access, can be regarded as
one "bundle" cannot be satisfactorily adopted as a description of the
position under English law.  By definition, access is the right which
remains to the parent who has been deprived of custody.  It must,
therefore, of necessity have a separate and continuing existence to
those rights enjoyed by the custodial parent.  This is well
illustrated by the jurisdiction of the English courts both in
matrimonial cases and under the guardianship legislation, where
separate orders are made relating to custody and access.  A divorced
or separated parent having the custody of a child does not have the
power to obliterate the other parent's right of access.  The
non-custodial parent has the right to a fair and public hearing to
determine his or her right.

        The Government draw support for their view from the
Commission's jurisprudence to the effect that a non-custodial parent
may lose the right to determine a child's education or the country in
which the child resides.  These cases are clearly distinguishable from
the present case which concerns solely the question of access.  That
custody and access are two distinct legal concepts is clearly
recognised in the Commission's jurisprudence which holds that the
justification for the award of custody to one parent rather than
another cannot be automatically relied upon as well for the denial of
the right of access to the latter.  Very strong arguments indeed have
to be put forward for the justification of the complete cutting of the
ties between a parent and child (cf.  No. 172/56, Dec. 20.12.57,
Yearbook 1 p. 211; No. 7911/77, Dec. 12.12.77, D.R. 12 p. 192 and
Hendriks v. the Netherlands, Comm.  Report cited above).

        The applicant submits that the same right of access must be
recognised where the custody of the child is in the local authority or
exists between spouses in matrimonial proceedings.  The result
otherwise would be analogous to providing in matrimonial proceedings
that, where one parent applied for custody of the child and succeeded,
he or she would then also have the right to declare unilaterally that
the other parent was not entitled to access.  The manifest unfairness
of such a result is clear.

        The second question which arises is whether the procedure for
deciding upon access to the applicant's child is in conformity with
Article 6 para. 1.

        It is clear that the local authority is not itself an
independent and impartial tribunal within the meaning of Article 6
para. 1.

        Nor can it be accepted that the question of access was the
subject of judicial control in this case either when the Juvenile
Court considered, on 22 November 1982, whether or not to make a care
order in respect of the applicant's child, or when it considered, on
5 December 1983, an application for discharge of the care order.  The
test applied by the Juvenile Court was whether or not one of the legal
criteria for taking a child into care had been established.  The Court
did not have the opportunity to consider the question of access at
all.

        With regard to the possibility of applying to the Juvenile
Court for an access order under Section 12 of the Child Care Act of
1980, this right only arises (as the Government also observe) if a
decision is taken to "terminate" or "refuse" access; it does not arise
if access is merely "restricted", as in this case.

        With regard to the possibility of challenging the local
authority's conduct in the High Court by way of an application for
judicial review, it is clear from the House of Lords decision in A. v.
Liverpool City Council (1982) A.C. 363 that the Court will only
interfere with decisions taken in relation to children in care if the
local authority is shown to be acting outside its statutory powers, or
not to be exercising them in good faith, or if it has executed its
discretion improperly, or if there is evidence that the authority did
not consider all the matters relevant to the exercise of its
discretion.

        Moreover, in practice, it is extremely difficult to mount a
case.  Decisions relating to access and its determination are taken by
case conferences from which the parents are excluded, and the
conferences are not required to give any reasons for their decisions.
In these circumstances, it is usually impossible for a parent to
discover whether the local authority has gone through all the
necessary procedures or whether it has taken account of extraneous
circumstances.  Furthermore, the courts are reluctant to order the
disclosure of case records: Gaskin v.  Liverpool City Council (1980) 1
W.L.R. 549.

        In this case, access has not been terminated but simply
considerably restricted.  Nor is it alleged that the local authority
has acted illegally.  As a result, the applicant has not had any
opportunity to have the local authority's decision to restrict his
access to his son reviewed by a court.  The applicant respectfully
requests the Commission to conclude that, in the circumstances of the
present case, Article 6 para. 1 has been breached.

Article 8 of the Convention

        The first issue under Article 8 is whether English law provides
the requisite legal safeguards to ensure the "respect" for family life
guaranteed in Article 8 para. 1.

        The applicant submits that English law governing care
proceedings constitutes in itself a violation of Article 8 para. 1
in two respects.  First, it does not provide the necessary legal
safeguards to ensure that contact exists as a matter of right between
a parent and his child who is in the care of a local authority.  It is
submitted that such a right of contact is guaranteed by Article 8
para. 1 in the same way that it is guaranteed to a divorced or
separated parent who does not have custody.  While it is acknowledged
that the exercise of the right of contact may be suspended, inter
alia, when the child's overriding interest so requires, there must be
legislation which recognises and guarantees this right in the first
place.

        There is no such right of contact secured under English law to
parents whose children are taken into care.  Section 1(2) of the
Children and Young Persons Act of 1969 merely authorises the Juvenile
Court to make an order committing a child to the care of the local
authority if certain conditions are satisfied.  The Court has no power
to impose conditions on the making of a care order (specifying, for
example, that the local authority should allow unrestricted access to
the child's parents).  The question of access falls exclusively to be
determined by the local authority in the exercise of its broad
discretion.

        The second manner in which English law fails to accord the
requisite "respect" for family life guaranteed by Article 8 para. 1 is
the broad, largely unreviewable discretion accorded to the local
authority to make decisions concerning parental contacts.  The
applicant submits that this discretion and the manner in which it was
exercised in the present case failed to provide the necessary legal
safeguards required by Article 8 para. 1.

        Under English law, the local authority, in whose care the
applicant's son was and remains, was under a general duty to give
first consideration to the need to safeguard and promote his welfare
(Child Care Act of 1980, Section 18(1)).  This approach necessarily
left a considerable discretion to the local authority as to how this
principle should be applied.  The discretion included questions which
were crucial both for the applicant's son's future and for the
applicant's relationship with him.  In particular, the local authority
had the power to determine whether and in what circumstances to allow
the applicant and his wife continued access to their son.  The local
authority's discretion extended to making the decision as to when and
how fully the applicant and his wife should be informed that the
options of restricting access and placing their son with foster
parents were being discussed.  It also extended to making the
determination as to whether the parents should participate in the
discussions.

        In this case, the applicant and his wife had an unrestricted
right of access to their son between November 1982 and December 1983.
That right was restricted in July 1984 to prearranged, formal,
supervised visits and in March 1985 to fixed quarterly visits.  They
were neither involved in the decision to restrict access nor informed
of the reasons for the restriction.

        The fact that a local authority can increasingly restrict a
parent's access to his child is of enormous significance; for the
authority may then be able to place the child with foster parents who
might ultimately adopt him, on the basis that this serves the child's
best interests.  The applicant submits that this broad discretion is
contrary to the rule of law embodied in the Convention.

        The code of practice concerning access to children in care,
laid before Parliament on 16 December 1983, goes some way to
controlling the manner in which local authorities act in reaching
decisions.  However, it falls short of constituting the requisite
legal safeguard required by Article 8 para. 1 in two respects.  First,
the code of practice is simply an administrative directive.  Its legal
status is unclear.  Secondly, it does not reduce in any way the scope
of the local authority's discretion or render it subject to any
greater judicial oversight.

        For these reasons, the applicant submits that English law does
not provide the necessary legal safeguards to ensure the "respect" for
family life guaranteed in Article 8 para. 1.  Nor did the manner in
which the local authority exercised its decision-making functions
contain sufficient safeguards to show such respect for the applicant's
family life.

        If the Commission is of the view, which the applicant
disputes, that such safeguards were not lacking, the applicant submits
that there was an interference with his right to respect for his
family life which was not justified under Article 8 para. 2.

        From the time that his son was taken into care until December
1983, the applicant visited him regularly each evening at the
children's home.  A, in turn, visited his parents' home at weekends.

        In July 1984, however, the applicant was informed that any
further contact would be conditional upon the carrying out of a home
visit by A's social worker.  Further, he was informed that only
formal, prearranged visits with his son would be allowed to take place
in the future, supervised by the social worker at the offices of the
Social Services or at the parents' home.

        The applicant was subsequently informed that the local
authority had decided at a case conference on 1 April 1985 that the
applicant and his wife should be offered quarterly visits with the
acquiescence of their son.  This decision was contrary to the parents'
wishes:  they had requested that they be allowed weekly or monthly
visits.

        The applicant's views were not taken into account in reaching
those decisions, decisions which were taken in camera.  Nor was he
apprised of the reasons for the decisions.

        These decisions restricting the applicant's contact with his
son constitute a clear interference by the authorities with the
applicant's right to respect for his family life, a constituent
element of which, in the case of divided families, is the right of
access.

        The applicant does not dispute that the local authority had
the legal power to make the decision it did.  Indeed, it is for that
reason that the remedy of judicial review was not available to him to
challenge the decision.

        The applicant does not dispute that the restriction had the
legitimate aim of protecting the child's health, which includes his
psychological health and well-being.

        The criteria for establishing whether an interference is
necessary in a democratic society are well established in the
Commission's case law.  In the context of access cases, the Commission
has made it clear that the child's interests must take precedence over
a parent's interests even to the extent that the latter may be refused
access to his or her child (Hendriks v. the Netherlands, Comm.  Report
8.3.82, D.R. 29 p. 5).

        In this case, the child's interests have, apparently, been
given such priority.  However, the process by which the local
authority determined what was in the child's interests is open to
severe criticism.  There is no indication whatsoever of the factors
that the authority took into consideration and the weight it gave to
them in arriving at the conclusion that restricted access was indeed
in his interests.

        The Government contend that the restriction of access was
justified for the protection of the child's psychological health and
well-being which requires that he be brought up in a stable
environment free from conflict and tension.

        The creation of tension within the family cannot, however, in
itself warrant a restriction of access.  In determining that the
child's interests lie in his protection from psychological stress, the
Government have taken a static approach to the consideration of his
best interests.  They have not given any consideration to the prospect
that it may in fact be in the child's best interests to maintain
closer contact with his natural father notwithstanding that such
contact may cause some difficulty for all concerned.

        Although contact remains permissible under the present
circumstances, it has been so reduced that there is a very real danger
that it may be terminated completely and that, subsequently, the
applicant's son may be placed with foster parents on the grounds that
close family ties have not been maintained.

        The applicant submits that, although the interference with his
family life pursued a legitimate aim, it was disproportionate and did
not correspond with a pressing social need, and so was not necessary
in a democratic society.  The applicant respectfully requests the
Commission to conclude that, in the circumstances of the present case,
Article 8 has been breached.

Article 13 of the Convention

        The issue in the present case is whether such a remedy was
available to the applicant in respect of his complaint that the
decision of the local authority to prevent or restrict his contact
with his son interferes with his right to respect for his family life.

        The applicant submits, and this is the essence of his
complaint, that he had no opportunity for his claim to be examined by
a national authority conforming to the requirements of Article 13
which was able to examine the merits of his complaint.

        The Government contend that there were four potential remedies
available to the applicant:

1)      the right to appeal against the care order;

2)      the right to seek revocation of the care order;

3)      the right to seek a discharge or variation of the care order;

4)      the right to seek judicial review in the High Court of the
        local authority's conduct on access.

        The first three alleged remedies do not, however, give rise to
an examination of the question of access at all.  The Juvenile Court
at first instance and the higher courts in care proceedings simply
make a decision concerning the question of the assumption of parental
rights.  The courts do not consider the question of terminating or
restricting parental access to children.  It is not at the stage where
a care order is made or confirmed that access is taken away.  Rather,
such a decision is made by the local authority in the exercise of its
broad discretion to manage the child's life.

        With regard to the availability of a remedy to challenge the
lawfulness of the local authority's decision by way of judicial
review, it is submitted that this is so severely limited as not to
constitute an effective remedy within the meaning of Article 13.  The
courts will only review the exercise by a local authority of its
statutory powers if the applicant can discharge the heavy onus of
showing that the authority has contravened the law by acting in excess
of the powers which Parliament has conferred on the authority
(Associated Provincial Houses Ltd. v.  Wednesbury Corporation (1948)
1 K.B. 223, 234 per Lord Greene M.R.; Re W. (Minors Wardship):
Jurisdiction (1980) Fam. 60, 70 per Braine L.J.).

        It is clear from English case-law that the remedy of judicial
review is not intended to take over from local authorities the powers
and discretions vested in them by law, and to substitute the courts or
the bodies making the decisions.  It is intended, rather, to see that
local authorities use their power in a proper manner (Chief Constable
of the North Wales Police v.  Evans (1982) 1 W.L.R. 1155, 1160 per Lord
Hailsham L.C.).  It follows that the courts will not interfere with a
bona fide exercise of a statutory discretion unless the decision is so
unreasonable that no reasonable authority could have come to it
(Associated Provincial Picture Houses Ltd. op. cit., at 228-229).

        The House of Lords has held that the court will interfere with
decisions taken in relation to children in care only to the same
extent that it will review any other administrative decision of a
local authority (A. v.  Liverpool City Council (1982) A.C. 363, 372,
377).  It would, therefore, be incumbent upon the applicant to show
that, in restricting access, the local authority had acted outside its
statutory powers, not exercised them in good faith, exercised its
discretion improperly, or failed to consider all the matters relevant
to the exercise of its discretion.

        In practice, it is exceedingly difficult to mount such a case
as the local authority is not required to give reasons for its
decisions regarding access, and the courts are reluctant to order the
disclosure of case records (Gaskin v.  Liverpool City Council (1980) 1
W.L.R. 549).

        It was expressly in response to the complaint that the courts
would generally refuse to review decisions to terminate access that
the Government agreed in 1983 that there was a need to improve
standards of practice and issued a code of practice dealing with
access to children in care.  (Hansard (H.C.) February 17, 1983, vol.
37, col. 561.)

        Further, the Government were persuaded to accept legislation
giving a parent a right to apply to the Juvenile Court if access to
his child was refused or terminated (ibid., cols. 561-4).

        This new legislative remedy introduced on 30 January 1984 is,
however, limited in scope and of no application to the applicant since
it gives a right only where there has been a total termination of
access.  The case of A. v.  Liverpool City Council still prevents
parents of children in care from having a decision which is not a
"termination" of access judicially reviewed on its merits.

        The applicant respectfully requests the Commission to conclude
that, in the circumstances of the present case, Article 13 has been
breached.


THE LAW

        The applicant has complained that the decision of the local
authority to restrict his contact with his son who is in their care,
and the manner in which that decision was made, violated his right to
respect for his family life guaranteed in Article 8 (Art. 8) of the Convention.
He has further complained that the procedure for deciding upon access
to his son was not in conformity with Article 6 para. 1 (Art. 6-1) of the
Convention.  The applicant has finally complained that he did not
have an effective remedy before a national authority, as required by
Article 13 (Art. 13) of the Convention, in respect of his complaint that the
decision of the local authority interfered with his right to respect
for his family life.

        Regarding Article 8 (Art. 8) of the Convention the Government have
maintained that neither the procedures concerning the decision-making
machinery relating to parental access nor any other steps taken by
the local authorities interfered with the applicant's rights under
Article 8 (Art. 8) of the Convention.  The local authority sought to resolve
the problems relating to access and made considerable efforts to
discuss the difficulties with the parents in accordance with the
general guidelines now applicable.  In the alternative, any possible
interference with Article 8 para. 1 (Art. 8-1) of the Convention was justified by
the exceptions set out in para. 2 of that provision.

        The Government have also contended that the present
application does not disclose any issue arising under Article 6
para. 1 (Art. 6-1) of the Convention, since the local authority, following the
care order made by the Juvenile Court under the CYPA 1969, stood in
the shoes of the parents and was entitled to examine the whole bundle
of parental rights.  In the alternative the Government have submitted
that the procedures and remedies available to the applicant for the
determination of the right of access were in conformity with Article 6
(Art. 6) of the Convention.  Likewise, the Government have contended that the
applicant had an effective remedy in compliance with Article 13 (Art. 13) of the
Convention, if that provision were held to apply.

        The Commission has taken cognizance of both parties'
submissions and has made a preliminary examination of the applicant's
complaints in the light of the judgments of the European Court of
Human Rights of 8 July 1987 in the cases of O, H, W, B and R v.
United Kingdom (Eur.  Court H.R., O, H, W, B and R judgments of 8 July
1987, Series A no. 120).  It has come to the conclusion that the
applicant's complaints raise serious issues as to the application and
interpretation of the Convention, and that these issues can only be
determined after an examination of their merits.


        For these reasons, the Commission


        DECLARES THE APPLICATION ADMISSIBLE
        without prejudging the merits of the case.


Secretary to the Commission             President of the Commission




       (H. C. KRÜGER)                         (C.A. NØRGAARD)