Ms. Konovalova (“the Applicant”), a Russian citizen who was pregnant, went into labor and was urgently transferred to a hospital. Upon arrival, she was given a booklet issued by the hospital that contained a notice stating, “We ask you to respect the fact that medical treatment in our hospital is combined with teaching for students studying obstetrics and gynaecology. Because of this, all patients are involved in the study process.” On being admitted to the hospital, due to complications, the Applicant was put into a drug-induced sleep twice in an effort to postpone labor. Delivery was scheduled the next day.

During labor, despite the Applicant’s objections, a group of medical students observed the birth in the delivery room and related interventions, including an episiotomy, and were given information about her health and medical treatment. Relevant domestic law provided that medical students could assist in medical treatment under supervision, but made no provision for obtaining patients’ informed consent.

Konovalova later filed claims against the hospital in the Russian courts, seeking compensation as well as a public apology for the intentional delay to her labor and the non-consensual presence of third parties during the birth. Her claims were rejected and the domestic court held that although written consent was not necessary under domestic law, the applicant had given implied consent to the presence of the medical students. During the proceedings, an expert for the hospital outlined to the court that “Childbirth is stressful for every woman…During the bearing down phase, a pregnant woman is usually focused on her physical activity. The presence of the public could not adversely affect her labour.” Konovalova filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights alleging violations of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“Convention”), which protects the right to private and family life, and Article 3, which prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading treatment.