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Publication:A 176 B
Title:Huvig v. France
Application No:11105/84
Referred by:Commission
Date of reference by Commission:16-03-1989
Date of reference by State:
Date of Judgment:24-04-1990
Conclusion:Violation of article 8
No compensation awarded

Kruslin v. France and Huvig v. France: Telephone tapping carried out by senior police office under warrant issued by investigating judge.
Part of the evidence against Mr. Kruslin in his trial for attempted armed robbery and abetting a murder was a transcript of a telephone conversation he had made. Mr. Huvig's telephone was tapped in the context of investigations into alleged tax fraud by the applicant and his wife. They were convicted. The issues were the same as in the Kruslin case. The applicants' complaints under Article 8 of the Convention (right to respect for private life and correspondence) was limited to the alleged failure of the French law to authorise telephone tapping.

The Court first had to consider whether there had been a legal basis in French law for the interference. The Court noted that for many years the French courts had regarded Articles 81, 151 and 152 of the Code of Criminal Procedure as providing a legal basis for telephone tapping. The Court held that settled case-law of that kind could not be disregarded. In relation to paragraph 2 of Article 8 of the Convention and other similar clauses, the Court had always understood the term "law" in its substantive sense, not its formal one, and had included both enactments of lower rank than statutes and unwritten law. It held therefore that the interferences complained of had had a legal basis in French law. However the French law, written and unwritten, did not indicate with reasonable clarity the scope and manner of exercise of the relevant discretion conferred on the public authorities. This was truer still at material times, so that the applicants had not enjoyed the minimum degree of protection, to which citizens were entitled under the rule of law in a democratic society. The Court therefore held that there had been a breach of Article 8 of the Convention.

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Last Modified: 13-01-2014 16:18:19 (Documentation SIM)