ADF International


German homeschooling family file case before Human Rights Court

Background briefing in Strasbourg: parental rights of German family severely violated; ADF International submits case of home schoolers to European Court of Human Rights

On 6 April, ADF International will make final written submissions in the case of the German homeschooling family – the Wunderlichs – to the European Court of Human Rights.
Media representatives are invited to participate in a background briefing on this case and its wider implications regarding parental rights for the 800 million Europeans who are subject to the rulings of the Court:


Thursday, 6 April 2017, 12 – 3 p.m.


ADF International office, Strasbourg


Dirk and Petra Wunderlich, (accompanied by their four children)

Robert Clarke, Director of European Advocacy for ADF International and lead counsel on the Wunderlich case

Mike Donelly, international home schooling expert and Director of Global Outreach for the Home School Legal Defense Association

Lorcán Price, Legal Counsel for ADF International based in Strasbourg and ECHR expert

Journalists please contact

“International law protects the right of parents to direct their children’s education”

In August 2013, a group of more than 20 police officers and social workers stormed the home of the Wunderlich family near Darmstadt, Germany. The family had just sat down to begin its first homeschool lesson of the year. Germany’s ban on homeschooling dates back to 1918. Since then, the country has signed up to a number of international human rights agreements that explicitly protect the right of parents to direct the education of their children.

It is a serious thing for a state to interfere with the parent-child bond.

“Children deserve the loving care and protection of their parents. It is a serious thing for a state to interfere with the parent-child bond. It should only do so where there is a real risk of serious harm. Petra and Dirk Wunderlich simply exercised their parental right to raise their children in line with their philosophical and religious convictions – something they thought they could do better in the home environment. In response, the German authorities limited their parental rights for two years and, at one terrifying point, swept in and physically carried their four children away from their home,” said Robert Clarke, Director for European Advocacy for ADF International.

Although Dirk and Petra have now been reunited with their children, the legal position remains uncertain and Germany continues to maintain criminal penalties for families who want to homeschool. Recently, the European Court of Human Rights agreed to review the family’s case. The Court has agreed to look at whether Germany’s actions breached the right to family life which is protected under Article 8 of the European Convention.

Related Case: Wunderlich v. Germany

French Version

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Faith-based legal advocacy organization that protects fundamental freedoms and promotes the inherent dignity of all people.