The European Court: The Czech Republic made a mistake when taking a baby from its mother, after she had left the hospital on the day of the birth

11. December 2014

The European Court for Human Rights has ruled, that the Czech Republic made a mistake when taking a healthy new-born away from his mother after she had left the hospital on the day of the birth. The State has forced them through a court decision to return back to the hospital. According to the Court it was a drastic measure taken without compelling reasons in such a sensitive time in the family life.

The Court has ruled that even though in some cases a pressing need may arise to protect the health of a baby, the interference with the family life of the applicants caused by the interim court measure could not be regarded as justified in a democratic society,” informed the Human Rights League lawyer, Zuzana Candigliota.

Ms. Eva gave birth in 2007 in the hospital in Hořovice to a healthy baby and on the same day left the hospital for home. However the medical team disagreed with her decision and based on their complaint on alleged threat to the baby and with the support of the social workers a court has decided to remove the baby from the care of his mother through an interim measure. The parents did not get a chance to challenge the decision and the mother with the baby was escorted by the police to the hospital where she had to stay involuntarily for another two days.

The European Court has by its ruling called on the Czech Republic to respect parents and their choice of health care for a healthy new-born

According to the Court, the new-born cannot be taken away from his parents based only on the prevailing view of the Czech medical practice on the need for him to stay in the hospital. The World Health Organization is of a contrary view, that a healthy baby after the birth does not need to stay in the hospital and that there are also some advantages to the home care.

The Court has criticised also the fact that the Czech legislation does not allow parents to challenge such a court decision on removing their child from their care and to demand any redress or damage, even in cases when the removal was found out not to be substantiated.

For more information contact:

Radka Korbelová Dohnalová, phone no: +420 604 310 187, e-mail:

Zuzana Candigliota, phone no.: +420 607 005 043, e-mail:

More information:

Description of the case:

Recommendations of the World Health Organization 10.4.1 on Duration of stay in health facility:

Blog of a bio-statistician, Markéta Pavlíková, on problematic practices in the Czech birth care including after birth stay in the hospital and so called ambulant birth here: