The applicants, Georgios Theodorou and Sophia Tsotsorou, are Greek nationals who were born in 1951 and 1957 respectively. They live in Koropi (Greece). The case concerns a judicial decision annulling the applicants’ – religious – marriage.
In 1971 Mr Theodorou married P.T., with whom he had a daughter. In 2001 the marriage was dissolved by decision of Athens Regional Court, which pointed out in its judgment that the applicants had been living separately since 1996. In 2004 a divorce decision was given.
In 2005 Mr Theodorou married the sister of P.T. (Ms Tsotsorou) in a religious ceremony. The following year P.T. complained to the public prosecutor’s office about that marriage, pleading nullity on the grounds of kinship by marriage between the two spouses.
In 2010 the Regional Court annulled the marriage on the basis of Article 1357 of the Greek Civil Code (CC), which prohibits, in particular, marriage between persons related by collateral descent up to the third degree. In its decision the court pointed out that the applicants were second-degree relatives by collateral descent, and Greek law prohibited their marriage for reasons of decency and respect for the institution of the family. The higher courts dismissed the ordinary appeal and the appeal on points of law lodged by the applicants.
The applicants relied on Article 12 (right to marry).
Press release ECHR 290 (2019) 29.08.2019