The applicant gave birth by Caesarean section at a Hospital in Latvia in 1997. The surgeon conducting the Caesarean section performed a tubal ligation (sterilization) without the applicant’s consent. The applicant commenced civil proceedings against the hospital in the domestic courts. Ultimately, in December 2006, the applicant’s claim was upheld and she was awarded compensation.
During the course of the domestic legal proceedings, the hospital requested the Inspectorate of Quality Control for Medical Care and Fitness for Work to assess the applicant’s treatment in 1997. An administrative inquiry was initiated and in 2004, a report was released. The report contained sensitive, private medical information concerning the applicant and it concluded that the hospital had not violated any laws with regards to the applicant. The applicant lodged an administrative claim contending that the inquiry was unlawful and was done to assist the hospital during the litigation. The domestic courts rejected her claim.
The applicant submitted a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights claiming that the collection and presentation of her confidential medical data without her prior consent violated her right to respect for her private life under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Court held that there had been an interference with the applicant’s right to respect for private life in violation of Article 8 of the Convention. It held that for this interference to comply with Article 8(2) it had to be shown to be “in accordance with the law” and necessary in a democratic society pursuant to a legitimate aim. The Court rejected the government’s claim that the purpose of collecting the applicant’s personal data was to protect public health. It held that the applicant’s data began to be collected in 2004, seven years after the incident took place, after any prosecution of the medical professional could occur. Additionally, the Court noted that the applicant was never informed about the collection of her personal information and that the relevant report contained no information on how the hospital could improve its services. It also observed that data concerning the applicant was collected indiscriminately, without regard for its importance or relevance to the matter at issue. The Court also noted that, under Article 8, the relevant domestic law must be sufficiently precise and “afford adequate legal protection against arbitrariness.” Whereas the relevant laws described the competence of the Inspectorate of Quality Control for Medical Care and Fitness for Work in “a very general fashion.” In light of all the facts the Court found the law lacked sufficient precision and legal protection against arbitrariness and it found a violation of Article 8.