A German court has ruled that the parents of a 15-year-old girl cannot prevent her from having a sexual relationship with her 47-year-old uncle, according to reports.

The teenager, named only as Josephine due to German privacy laws, made headlines when she ran away with her uncle at the age of 14.

When the couple was discovered in France by police, Josephine said she had chosen to run away and was in live with the older man, who was her uncle by marriage.

Josephine's parents reportedly sought a court order to prevent her from being in contact with her uncle on the grounds that it put her welfare at risk.

But the teenager challenged the order and won, with the court ruling that at 14 her own wishes must be taken into account, according to the Telegraph.

The judge reportedly ruled that Josephine risked “serious damage in her social-emotional and mental development” if she was prevented from further contact with the uncle, but added that the decision in no way amounted to an endorsement or approval of the relationship.

According to the Telegraph, the judges wrote in the ruling: “The court does not offer any opinion on the non-judicial question of whether a 47-year-old married man should return the love of a 14-year-old fired by adolescent affection and enthusiasm.

“The relationship may be socially undesirable and unacceptable, but it is not covered by criminal law, and not categorically forbidden.”

The age of sexual consent in Germany is 14, as is the case with several other European countries.

The Independent