Europe

German lover's data hidden from paternity suit woman

Clenched hands - man and woman Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The woman was vague about the man who had allegedly fathered her son

A woman who got pregnant after having sex with a lover in a German hotel has failed in a legal battle to find out his name.

The hotel where they spent three nights in 2010, in the city of Halle, does not have to tell her the man's name, a court in Munich ruled.

The man's right to privacy outweighed the woman's claim for child support payments from him, the ruling said.

She knew him as "Michael" but three other Michaels were also at the hotel.

Each of the four Michaels had a right to "control their own data and protect their own marriage and family", the ruling said.

The case was heard at the Munich District Court because the hotel chain is based in the Bavarian city. Halle is in eastern Germany.

The woman - not named in the case - said she had got pregnant after staying with "Michael" in a room on the second floor. She now has a seven-year-old son called Joel.

The court decided that her lack of detail about the man raised the risk of personal data "simply being released at random".

"Nor is it certain that the Christian name is indeed the name of the man in question," the court said.

German privacy laws are among the strictest in Europe. It is partly a legacy of history - under the Nazis, then later under the communist East German regime, there was intrusive mass surveillance, with grievous human rights abuses.

The Munich Appeal Court backed the verdict and decided not to review the case, a court spokeswoman told the BBC.

The case is now closed, in terms of German civil law, she added.

Correction 16 May 2017: This report has been amended to better render the German word "Begleiter", originally translated as "escort".

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