The applicant, Ms Godelli, was abandoned by her mother at birth. As her mother did not consent being named, the birth certificate of Ms Godelli did not reveal her name. As adult Ms Godelli asked the national courts to disclose the identity of her mother but the national courts denied access to such information, by claiming the necessity to protect the rights of the mother.
Ms Godelli claimed that a fair balance had not been struck between her mothers right to confidentiality and her right to know her origins, and that has violated her right to private life.
In order to analyze whether the fair balance was struck between the applicant’s right to private life and the legitimate interests of her mother, the Court weighted as follows:
On the one hand, the child has a right to know its origins, that right being derived from the notion of private life. Individual’s interest in discovering his or her parentage does not disappear with age, quite the reverse. On the other hand, a woman’s interest in remaining anonymous in order to protect her health by giving birth in appropriate medical conditions cannot be denied.
The applicant had shown a genuine interest in ascertaining her mother’s identity, since she has tried to obtain conclusive information on the subject. Such conduct implies mental and psychological suffering, even if this has not been medically attested
Ms Godelli's request for information about her origins was totally and definitively refused, without any balancing of the competing interests or prospect of a remedy.
Accordingly, the Court considered that the Italian authorities had failed to strike a fair balance between the interests at stake and, consequently, found a violation of Article 8 of the Convention.