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Lithuania[1] [print]

Last edited: November 2005


Summary and Analysis


After Lithuania promulgated the Act of Independence on March 11, 1990, it moved from an authoritarian regime to democratic way of life.

On July 1, 2001 a new Civil Code went into effect.[2]  According to Article 3.2 of that Code, family relations in Lithuania are governed by the Constitution, the Civil Code and other law of the Republic of Lithuania as well as by international treaties to which the Republic is a signatory.  Article 1.3 of the Civil Code gives priority to the Code in cases of conflict between the various sources of law.  Article 3.2 expressly provides that were the law and customs are in conflict, the law is to prevail. 


 According to Article 1.3 of that Code “the sources of the Civil law shall be the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, the present Code, other laws and international treaties of the Republic of Lithuania.”   Priority is given to the Code in cases of conflict. 


Article 3.164, in Book 3 of the Civil Code, establishes that if a child is capable of formulating their own views he or she must be heard directly.  If this is impossible, then the child must be heard through a representative.  Article 3.164 also allows children age fourteen and older to commence proceedings before the court where the child believes his or her rights are being abused by his or her parents.  If the child is under the age of fourteen, he or she has the right to apply to a state institution for the protection of his or her rights.

Lithuania acceded to the U.N.Convention on the Rights of the Child on January 31, 1992.  On May 25, 2000, the Lithuanian Parliament passed the Children's Rights Ombudsmen Law designed to ensure the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and to regulate organizations, state agencies, and private individuals that might violate the general rights afforded to the child.  The Children's Rights Ombudsman Institution is responsible for overseeing children's rights protection institutions, investigating complaints and advising the Government on issues related to the legal interests of children.  According to a United States Department of State country report on human rights, in 2002 the ombudsman received approximately three hundred complaints and initiated four investigations.[3]  The report noted that child abuse was a problem in Lithuania, but that assistance for children who were victims of abuse was insufficient.  It additionally found that, “[t]he Civil Code addresses relations between parents and children; however, the Government did not always implement its obligations in practice.”

We were unable to locate a contact person in Lithuania to verify any of the information found in the report.


Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)




Part IV – Mutual Rights and Duties of Children and Parents

Chapter XI – Parental Rights and Duties in Respect of Their Children

Section Two – Children's Rights and Duties

Article 3.164. Involvement of a minor in the assurance of his or her rights

1.      In considering any question related to a child, the child, if capable of formulating his or her views, must be heard directly or, where that is impossible, through a representative. Any decisions on such a question must be taken with regard to the child's wishes unless they are contrary to the child's interests. In making a decision on the appointment of a child's guardian/curator or on a child's adoption, the child's wishes shall be given paramount consideration.

2.      If a child considers that his or her parents abuse his or her rights, the child shall have a right to apply to a state institution for the protection of the child's rights or, on attaining the age of 14, to bring the matter before the court.


Section V – Restriction of Parental Authority

Article 3.183. Examination of application for the restriction of parental authority

3.      The court shall hear the child capable of expressing his or her views and take such views into account.


Article 3.184. Mandatory participation of the state institution for the protection of the child's rights

1.      The state institution for the protection of the child's rights must participate in the examination of cases for the restriction of parental authority.

2.      Having investigated the conditions of the family, the state institution for the protection of the child's rights shall present its opinion to the court. The court shall take the opinion into consideration together with the evidence adduced in the case.


Additional Resources and Links


Books 1 to 3 of the Lithuanian Civil Code:



Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania Website:




[1] This page is also available as a .pdf Document, and Word Document.

[2] English versions of the first three books of the Lithuanian Civil Code can be found at http://www.tm.lt/default.aspx?item=aktual&id=4536 (last visited Nov. 25, 2005).

[3] U.S. Dep't of St., Lithuania: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (2004) available http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2003/27850.htm.

[4] We were unable to locate the original text of the Lithuanian code.


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