German Murderers Denied the Right to be Forgotten

Judith Thompson

Two German murderers have been denied the right to be forgotten in a case which could have an impact on people wishing to get rid of unwanted internet search results in the UK.

In 1990, two brothers in Germany were convicted of murder. When they were released they brought a case, arguing that because the murder had taken place so long ago, their names should be removed from internet search engine results, in connection with the case. 

In a first instance decision, the court decided that the brothers right to a private life outweighed the public interest in their case. 

However, after a successful appeal to a national court, the case ended up in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Eventually the ECHR decided that the right to freedom of expression under Article 10 outweighed the brothers' Article 8 rights to a private and family life. Therefore, the internet search engines did not have to censor any of their results, and the information about their involvement in the murder remained available to the public. 

The court decided that because the brothers were already so well known in Germany, not least because they had murdered a famous actor, there was little reason to impose any restrictions on the search engines.

Judith Thompson, partner at Samuels Solicitors LLP with a specialisation in reputation management issues said: "This is an interesting case for anyone in England who wants to remove their name from Google, or other internet search results. It demonstrates that each case will be decided on its own merits and that the more serious a crime, the less likely it is that a right to privacy will be granted."

If you wish to remove your name from Google search results, or from other internet search providers such as Bing and Yahoo, we can help. We have assisted a great number of individuals removing unwanted results relating to previous convictions and other issues. 

If you have made an application to Google which has been turned down, we can assist you with appeals to the Information Commissioner's Office. 

You can contact us on 01271 343457, or you can instruct us online by using our right to be forgotten instuction form.