Application No. 12256/86
                      by L.
                      against Sweden


        The European Commission of Human Rights sitting in private
on 4 July 1988, the following members being present:

              MM. C. A. NØRGAARD, President
                  S. TRECHSEL
                  A. S. GÖZÜBÜYÜK
                  J. C. SOYER
                  H. G. SCHERMERS
                  H. DANELIUS
                  G. BATLINER
                  J. CAMPINOS
             Mrs.  G. H. THUNE
             Sir  Basil HALL
             MM.  F. MARTINEZ
                  C.L. ROZAKIS
             Mrs.  J. LIDDY

             Mr.  J. RAYMOND, Deputy 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 27 June 1986
by Ferenc Lovasz against Sweden and registered on 1 July 1986 under
file No. 12256/86;

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

        Having deliberated;

        Decides as follows:

THE FACTS

        The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicant, may be
summarised as follows.

        The applicant is a Swedish citizen of Hungarian origin, born
in 1936.  He resides at Huddinge and is at present unemployed.  Before
the Commission, the applicant is represented by Mr.  Lennart Möller, a
lawyer practising in Stockholm.

        The application concerns the refusal to terminate the care of
the applicant's son, born in 1975.

        The applicant and his wife divorced in 1980.  Shortly
afterwards his ex-wife died and the custody of their son was given
to the applicant.  In October 1982 the applicant's son was taken into
care on a provisional basis and subsequently the Social District
Council (sociala distriktsnämnden) of Bjuv applied to the Regional
Administrative Court (länsrätten) for the taking into care of the
applicant's son.  On 6 December 1982 the Regional Administrative Court
ordered that the applicant's son should be taken into care and by
judgment of 7 July 1983 the Administrative Court of Appeal
(kammarrätten) rejected the applicant's appeal against this judgment.
Finally on 14 November 1983 the Supreme Administrative Court
(regeringsrätten) refused leave to appeal against the judgment of the
Administrative Court of Appeal.

        On 4 May 1984 the applicant lodged an application with the
European Commission of Human Rights (No. 10967/84) complaining that he
had been the victim of a breach of Article 8 of the Convention as a
result of the decision to take his son into care.  After having
communicated the case to the Swedish Government in order to obtain
their written observations on the admissibility and merits of the
application and after receiving the Government's observations as well
as the applicant's observations in reply, the Commission declared the
above complaint inadmissible as being manifestly ill-founded within
the meaning of Article 27 para. 2 of the Convention.  In its decision
of 11 December 1985 the Commission stated:


"The Commission finds that the taking of the applicant's child
into public care interfered with the applicant's right to
respect for his family life as ensured by Article 8 para. 1 of the
Convention.

It must therefore be examined whether this interference was
justified under the terms of Article 8 para 2.  The Commission
finds that the interference was 'in accordance with the law',
namely Section 1, first paragraph (1) of the Act with Special
Provisions on the Care of Young Persons.  The Commission is
furthermore of the opinion that the interference had a
legitimate aim under Article 8 para. 2 namely the interests of
the child which in this case fall under the expressions 'for
the protection of health or morals' and 'for the protection of
the rights and freedoms of others'.  It remains to be
determined whether the interference was 'necessary in a
democratic society' in the interests of the child.

When determining whether or not the taking of the applicant's
child into public care was 'necessary in a democratic
society' in the interests of the child, the Commission
observes that it is not its task to take the place of the
competent national courts but rather to review under
Article 8 the decisions which have been taken by the domestic
authorities.

It goes without saying that it is difficult to ascertain what
precisely is the best interest of the child.  The Commission
stresses that the issue in this case is not simply what is
the best solution for the child.  Under Article 8, an
interference with the right of the parent to take care of his
child cannot be justified only on the basis that it would be
better for the child to be taken care of by foster parents.  In
order to justify such an interference, it is necessary under
the terms of Article 8 that the State demonstrates sufficient
reasons for the decision to take the child into public care.
Those reasons should be at such a weight as to render the
decision of public care 'necessary in a democratic society'.

The Commission has first had regard to the wording of the
relevant legal provisions, in particular Section 1 of the Act
with Special Provisions on the Care of Young Persons.  Under
this provision a child may be taken into public care if the
lack of care of the child or any other conditions in the
child's home entails danger to the health or development of
the child.  If these conditions are at hand, the Regional
Administrative Court may upon application from the competent
Social Authority decide to take the child into public care.

In the present case the domestic courts found that the
applicant had for many years lived under strong psychological
pressure and that he was psychologically very unstable.  It has
also been established that there were conflicts between the
applicant and the authorities.  Intensive efforts had been made
by the social authorities to assist the family on a voluntary
basis.  It was concluded that there was a need for public care
of the child.  The Commission notes in this context that the
applicant has threatened to kill himself and his son.  The
applicant has submitted this was a 'hasty utterance'.

The Commission furthermore notes that the decision to take the
applicant's child into public care was arrived at following
thorough investigation and the procedure on various levels,
the first being the competent social authorities and
thereafter three levels of court review.  The Commission is of
the opinion that the procedure applied has shown sufficient
respect for the applicant's family and private life.

The Commission considers that the decisions taken by the
Swedish courts were reasonable in the circumstances.  It is the
Commission's opinion that the justification for these decisions
cannot be questioned as a result of the subsequent developments
and decisions.  The Commission is therefore of the opinion that
interference with the applicant's right under Article 8 para. 1
of the Convention was justified under the terms of Article 8
para. 2 as being necessary in a democratic society in the
interests of the child."

        Prior to the Commission's above decision, the Social District
Council decided on 11 September 1985 to continue to keep the
applicant's son in care in accordance with the Act with Special
Provisions on the Care of Young Persons.  Furthermore it was decided to
maintain a prohibition on visits and to keep the applicant's son's
place of living secret to the applicant.

        On 2 October 1985 the applicant complained to the Regional
Administrative Court about the decisions of the social authorities.
The Court held a hearing in the case on 29 October 1985 during which
the Social District Council maintained its views in regard to the
termination of the care order and the implementation of the same.  The
applicant, who was present at the hearing and assisted by counsel,
maintained that no facts, conflicts or problems were at hand, which
could justify the decisions taken by the Social District Council.
Finally counsel for the applicant's son submitted that there was no
reason to terminate the care order.  He pointed out, however, that it
would not seem reasonable to keep the child's place of residence
secret to the applicant and that it would be important that visits
could be arranged between father and son in order to obtain a
reasonable contact between them.

        In its judgment of 13 November 1985 the Regional
Administrative Court stated the following:

"With regard to the question as to whether the care order
should be terminated, the Regional Administrative Court
decides as follows.  As concluded by previous courts on various
occasions, the inquiry of the present case reveals that (the
applicant) has been unable to cope with his situation and he
has completely concentrated on the proceedings concerning his
son and locked himself up in his morbid suspiciousness.  The
Regional Administrative Court finds that this situation and
(the applicant's) attitude towards the authorities obviously
has influenced his whole lifestyle.  His fight to get (his son)
back is his full-time occupation and there is no reason to
doubt that, due to this, he has not had the power to plan his
own work.  It is true that Dr.  P.F.-F. in a medical opinion,
submitted in this case, states that (the applicant) in his
view is fully capable of taking care of his son.  The witness
M. has also been of this opinion.  However, the Regional
Administrative Court considers for its part that (the
applicant) still lives under such strong psychic pressure and
that he is psychologically unstable to such an extent that it
appears necessary that he and his son meet on a regular basis
during a longer period of time before there can be any
question of terminating the care of (the son).  The Court bases
this view on the numerous threats and incidents which appear
from the considerable material of the case and on the
impressions of (the applicant's) person which the Court has
got.

All in all the Court accordingly finds that (the son) needs to
remain in care according to the Act with Special Provisions on
the Care of Young Persons for a further period of time.  This
part of the application is therefore rejected.

Concerning the prohibition on visits, the Court has already
mentioned above that father and son must be given the chance
to meet on a regular basis before there can be a question of
terminating the care order.  From the file of this case, it
appears that the social authorities have also considered this
question.  To secure the safety of (the child) and the foster-
home, the Court finds it appropriate that these visits take
place outside the foster-home and in an appropriate manner.
The Social District Council should take care of this, such as
how, where and when the meeting shall take place.  This part of
the application is accordingly accepted.

Hereafter, it is left for the Court to consider whether the
decision to keep the son's whereabouts secret shall be
maintained.  In this respect, it has been submitted that (the
applicant) now knows where (his son) is.  Therefore the Court
finds that the decision is of no interest at the present
moment and the complaint in this respect does not give the
Court reason to do anything but express the view that the
Social District Council appears to have had reasons to take
such a decision."

        The applicant appealed against this judgment, insofar as it
concerned the refusal to terminate the care order, to the
Administrative Court of Appeal of Stockholm.  The Court held a hearing
in the case where the applicant was present and assisted by counsel.
As in the lower court, his son was also represented by counsel before
the Administrative Court of Appeal.  In its judgment of 4 February
1986, the Court stated as follows:

"In addition to what appears from the file, the Administrative
Court of Appeal has been informed of what happened during a
visit of 14 January 1986 between (the applicant) and (his
son).  Furthermore, (the applicant) has in detail explained to
the Court during the oral hearing how he experienced the
course of events in the case and his views on the authorities'
handling of the case.  The witness M. has described the
relationship between (the applicant) and his son during the
visit of an hour on 14 January 1986 as very satisfactory.  The
Social District Council has raised no objections concerning
the relationship between father and son during the above
mentioned meeting.

The question in this case concerns first of all whether the
circumstances are now such that the care order can be
terminated.  The Administrative Court of Appeal evaluates this
as follows.

(The son) has been in care since 20 October 1982.  The Social
District Council decided on 27 October 1982 to keep (the
son's) address secret and on 15 June 1983 as well as on 31
October 1984 it decided to prohibit visits.  During the period
of care there has been no real contact between (the applicant)
and his son.  It is undisputed in this case that the contact
between (the applicant) and his son functioned well during the
meeting of an hour on 14 January 1986.  The question whether
the care in accordance with the Act with Special Provisions on
the Care of Young Persons can be terminated cannot, however,
in the Court's opinion be decided only on the basis of what
has emerged during the above visit.  On the basis of an overall
view of what has emerged, the Court finds that the
circumstances are not such that the care order should be
terminated."

        The applicant appealed against this judgment to the Supreme
Administrative Court which, by decision of 13 March 1986, refused to
grant leave to appeal.

COMPLAINTS

        The applicant alleges that his rights under Article 8 of the
Convention have been violated when his son was taken into care.  He
also maintains that the social authorities' implementation of the care
order was inappropriate, in particular since they decided to keep his
son's address secret and since they decided not to arrange any visits
between them.

        The applicant further maintains that the decision not to
terminate the care order was taken on the basis of facts which failed
to show that there was a need for such a step.


THE LAW

1.      The applicant has complained that his right to respect for
his private and family life has been interfered with in a manner
unjustifiable under Article 8 para. 2 (Art. 8-2) of the Convention.
In particular he has pointed out that the social authorities' handling
of his case was improper and that the refusal to terminate the care
order concerning his son was decided without it having been
established that there was a need to do so.

        Article 8 (Art. 8) of the Convention reads as follows:

"1.      Everyone has the right to respect for his private
and family life, his home and his correspondence.

2.      There shall be no interference by a public authority
with the exercise of this right except such as is in
accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic
society in the interests of national security, public safety
or the economic well-being of the country, for the
prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of
health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and
freedoms of others."

        The Commission recalls that the taking into care of the
applicant's son was dealt with in his previous application to the
Commission which was declared inadmissible on 11 December 1985
(No. 10967/84).  Accordingly in so far as the applicant complains of
the fact that his child was taken into care, the Commission finds that
this question is substantially the same as the one examined in the
applicant's previous application and that it contains no relevant new
information.  This part of the application is therefore to be rejected
in accordance with Article 27 para. 1 (b) (Art. 27-1-b) of the Convention.

2.      However, the refusal to terminate the care order as well as
the actual implementation of it also interfered, in the Commission's
view, with the applicant's right to respect for his family life as
ensured by Article 8 para. 1 (Art. 8-1) of the Convention.  It must
therefore be examined whether this interference was justified under
the terms of Article 8 para. 2 (Art. 8-2).  In this respect the
Commission recalls that three conditions must be satisfied: the
interference must be "in accordance with the law", it must pursue one
or more of the legitimate aims enumerated in para. 2 of Article 8
(Art. 8-2) and it must be "necessary in a democratic society" for that
or those legitimate aims.

        As regards the first condition, the Commission recalls its
opinion in the case of Olsson v.  Sweden (Olsson v.  Sweden, Comm.
Report 2.12.86, para. 139) where it found that the relevant provisions
in the Swedish Acts, although vague, could not be considered as not
satisfying the requirements as to the quality of the law.  This view
was confirmed by the European Court of Human Rights in its judgment in
the Olsson case (Eur.  Court H.R., Olsson judgment of 24 March 1988,
Series A No. 130, paras. 60-63).

        In the opinion of the Commission, there is nothing to suggest
that the decision taken by the Courts in the present case was contrary
to Swedish law.  The issue of continued care was examined by the
competent administrative courts up to the Supreme Administrative
Court, which refused to grant leave to appeal.

        The Commission is furthermore of the opinion that the
interference had a legitimate aim under Article 8 para. 2 (Art. 8-2),
namely the interests of the child, which in this case fall under the
expression "for the protection of health or morals" and "for the
protection of the rights and freedoms of others".

        In these circumstances, the Commission finds that the decision
in question was taken "in accordance with the law" within the meaning
of Article 8 para. 2 (Art. 8-2) of the Convention and that it had a
legitimate aim (cf. also above-mentioned Olsson judgment, paras. 64 to
65).

        It thus remains to be determined whether the interference was
"necessary in a democratic society" in the interests of the child.

        According to the established case-law of the European Court of
Human Rights, the notion of necessity implies that the interference
corresponds to a pressing social need and, in particular, that it is
proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued.  In determining whether an
interference is "necessary in a democratic society", the Commission
furthermore has to take into account that a margin of appreciation is
left to the Contracting States (cf. above-mentioned Olsson judgment,
para. 67).

        However, the Convention organs' review is not limited to
ascertaining whether the respondent State has exercised its discretion
reasonably, carefully and in good faith, and they cannot confine
themselves to considering the relevant decisions in isolation but must
look at them in the light of the case as a whole.  They must determine
whether the reasons adduced to justify the interference at issue are
"relevant and sufficient" (cf.  Olsson judgment, para. 68).

        In the present case, the Commission recalls that the applicant
has alleged that the social authorities have handled his case
improperly and that the decision not to terminate the care order was
based on irrelevant circumstances.

        Before considering the substance of this issue, the Commission
recalls that both the Regional Administrative Court and the
Administrative Court of Appeal held oral hearings.  The applicant was
present at both hearings and was assisted by a lawyer.  Before these
courts, the applicant had the possibility of presenting any views
which in his opinion would be decisive for the outcome of the case.
Having regard to these facts, the Commission finds that, in so far as
certain procedural requirements are implicit in Article 8 (Art. 8), these
requirements were satisfied since the applicant was involved in the
decision-making process to a degree sufficient to provide him with the
requisite protection of his interests.

        As regards the refusal to terminate care, the Commission
recalls the judgment of the Regional Administrative Court of
13 November 1985 where the Court established that the applicant was
still living under such psychic pressure and was still in such a
condition that the question of terminating care could only be
considered subsequent to regular visits between the applicant and his
son.  This evaluation, like that of the Administrative Court of Appeal
which confirmed it, was made not only on the basis of written material
but also on the basis of a hearing in the presence of the applicant.
The Commission considers that it is justifiable not to terminate care
unless the improvement in the circumstances that occasioned it appears
with reasonable certainty to be stable.  It would clearly be contrary
to the interests of the child concerned to be restored to his father,
only to be taken into care again shortly afterwards (cf.  Olsson
judgment, para. 76).

        In the present case, the Commission recalls that it was such
circumstances which led the Swedish courts to refuse to terminate
care and, seen in this light, the Commission finds that the Swedish
authorities had sufficient and relevant reasons for thinking that it
was necessary for the care decision to remain in force.  Accordingly
the Commission concludes that this decision can be regarded as
"necessary in a democratic society" within the meaning of Article 8
para. 2 (Art. 8-2) of the Convention in the interests of the child.

        It follows that this part of the application is manifestly
ill-founded within the meaning of Article 27 para. 2 (Art. 27-2) of the
Convention.

3.      The applicant has also complained about the actual
implementation of the care order.  In particular he has pointed out
that the social authorities decided to keep his son's address secret
and to refuse to arrange access.  With regard to these complaints, the
Commission recalls the judgment of the Regional Administrative Court
from which it appears that the Court ordered the social authorities to
arrange access and that visits have actually taken place.  Furthermore
the applicant has not substantiated that the authorities have not
subsequently followed the instructions of the Court.  Finally the
Commission also recalls that the Regional Administrative Court decided
that the question of secrecy was of no interest since the applicant
already knew where his son was placed.

        In these circumstances, the Commission's examination of this
part of the application has not disclosed any appearance of a breach
of Article 8 (Art. 8) or any other article of the Convention.  It
follows that this part of the application is also manifestly
ill-founded in the meaning of Article 27 para. 2 (Art. 27-2) of the
Convention.


        For these reasons, the Commission


        DECLARES THE APPLICATION INADMISSIBLE


Deputy Secretary to the Commission        President of the Commission



           (J. RAYMOND)                         (C. A. NØRGAARD)