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Right of succession of Children Born Out of Wedlock

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About This Case

For the very first time, with a decision of the court the right of succession of children born out of wedlock to their father’s and mother’s estate was recognized as if they had been born in wedlock, something not recognised up to this case through domestic law and hence being the first case to establish such precedent.

In this case Mr. Melas who was representing the children of the deceased was alleging that although the children were born out of wedlock, the Convention on the Legal Status of Children Born out of Wedlock was superior to any domestic law preventing the right of succession of these children and hence they had to be eligible to their father’s estate. Mr. Mela’s position in particular, which was accepted by the majority of the Supreme Court was that article 9 of the Convention which refers to the right of succession was incorporated in our law and thus cancelling any previous provision.

This case raised a number of points of considerable importance such as the effect and application of Article 169 of the constitution and the position of the convention ratified in conformity with Article 169 of the constitution in our domestic legal order.

Moreover the implications of the Convention on the Legal Status of Children Born out of Wedlock, ratified by Law 50/79 were examined and especially the issue of the right of succession of children born out of wedlock.
The court ruled that the convention has increased effect and overrides any domestic law that is against it or incompatible with it regardless of whether the domestic law was in existence before the convention or was added after the convention and had direct effect.

The Court ruled that the Court of First Instance was right in accepting that the children of the deceased who were born out of wedlock had a right of succession.

This case was of utmost importance as the issues raised were of both international and constitutional matter and especially in terms of establishing the superiority of international conventions over domestic laws and creating a precedent.

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