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National Laws protecting property rights



Constitution of the Kingdom of Belgium
Article 16
No one can be deprived of his property except in the case of expropriation for a public purpose, in the cases and manner established by law, and in return for a fair compensation paid beforehand.
Article 17
Punishment by confiscation of assets cannot be made.


Constitution of the Czech Republic
Article 11
1) Everybody has the right to own property. The ownership right of all owners has the same statutory content and enjoys the same protection, inheritance is guaranteed.
2) The law shall specify which property essential for securing the needs of the whole society, development of the national economy, and public welfare may be owned exclusively.
(3) Ownership is binding. It may not be misused to the detriment of the rights of others or against legally protected public interests. Its exercise may not cause damage to human health, nature and the environment beyond statutory limits.
(4) Expropriation or other forcible limitation of the ownership right is possible only in public interest and on the basis of law, and for compensation.
(5) Taxes and fees may be levied only on the basis of law.
Article 34
(1) The rights to the results of creative intellectual activity are protected by law.(...)


Constitution of the Kingdom of Denmark
Article 73
1. The right of property shall be inviolable. No person shall be ordered to cede his property except where required by the public weal. It can be done only as provided by Statute and against full compensation. (...)
3. Any question of the legality of an act of expropriation and the amount of compensation may be brought before the courts of justice. The hearing of issues relating to the amount of the compensation may by Statute be referred to courts of justice established for such purpose.


Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany
Article 14
1. Property and the right of inheritance are guaranteed. Their content and limits are determined by statute.
2. Property imposes duties. Its use should also serve the public weal.
3. Expropriation is only permissible for the public good. It may be imposed only by or pursuant to a statute regulating the nature and extent of compensation. Such compensation has to be determined by establishing an equitable balance between the public interest and the interests of those affected. Regarding disputes about the
amount of compensation, recourse to the courts of ordinary jurisdiction is available.
Article 15
Land, natural resources, and means of production can, for the purpose of socialization, be transferred to public ownership or other forms of collective enterprise by a statute regulating the nature and extent of compensation. Regarding such compensation, Article 14 III 3 & 4 also applies.


Constitution of the Republic of Estonia
Article 32
« The property of every person is inviolable and equally protected. Property may be expropriated without the consent of the owner only in the public interest, in the cases and pursuant to procedure provided by law, and for fair and immediate compensation. Everyone whose property is expropriated without his or her consent has the right of recourse to the courts and to contest the expropriation, the compensation, or the amount thereof.
Everyone has the right to freely possess, use, and dispose of his or her property. Restrictions shall be provided by law. Property shall not be used contrary to the public interest.
Classes of property which, in the public interest, may be acquired in Estonia only by Estonian citizens, some categories of legal persons, local governments, or the Estonian state may be provided by law.
The right of succession is guaranteed. »
Article 39
“An author has the inalienable right to his or her work. The state shall protect the rights of the author.”


Constitution of the Hellenic Republic
Article 7
3. General confiscation is prohibited. (...)
Article 17
1. Property stands under the protection of the State; the rights, however, derived therefrom, may not be exercised in a manner detrimental to the public interest.
2. No one shall be deprived of his property except for the public benefit, which shall be duly ascertained, when and as the law directs and always after full indemnification. Such indemnification must be commensurate with the value of the expropriated property at the time of the court hearing for the temporary fixing of indemnification. In the case of direct petition for the final fixing of indemnification, the value of the property at the time of court hearing relating thereto shall be taken into consideration. (...)


Constitution of the Kingdom of Spain
Article 33
1. The right to private property and inheritance is recognized. (...)
3. No one may be deprived of his or her property and rights, except on justified grounds of public utility or social interest and with a proper compensation in accordance with the law.


Constitution of the French Republic
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen 26 August 1789
Article 17 - The right of ownership is an inviolable and sacred right; one may not be deprived of one's property, unless where public need, duly ascertained by law, clearly requires it, and subject to the condition that fair and prior compensation be made. 0


Constitution of Ireland
Article 40.3
(...) 2. The State shall, in particular, by its laws protect as best it may from unjust attack and, in the case of injustice done, vindicate the life, person, good name, and property rights of every citizen. (...)
Article 43.1
1.The State acknowledges that man, in virtue of his rational being, has the natural right, antecedent to positive law, to the private ownership of external goods.
2.The State accordingly guarantees to pass no law attempting to abolish the right of private ownership or the general right to transfer, bequeath, and inherit property.

Constitution of the Italian Republic

Article 42
Private ownership shall be recognized and guaranteed by laws which shall determine the manner by which it may be acquired and enjoyed, and its limits, in order to ensure its social function and to make it open to all.
Private property, in such cases as are provided for by law, and with payment of compensation, may be expropriated for reasons of common interest.
The law shall establish the rules of legitimate and testamentary succession and its limits, and the rights of the State on inheritance.


Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus
Appendice D – Part II – Rights et fundamental freedoms
Article 23
« 1. Every person, alone or jointly with others, has the right to acquire, own, possess, enjoy or dispose of any movable or immovable property and has the right to respect for such right.
The right of the Republic to underground water, minerals and antiquities is reserved.
2. No deprivation or restriction or limitation of any such right shall be made except as provided in this Article.
3. Restrictions or limitations which are absolutely necessary in the interest of the public safety or the public health or the public morals or the town and country planning or the development and utilization of any property to the promotion of the public benefit or for the protection of the rights of others may be imposed by law on the exercise of such right.
Just compensation shall be promptly paid for any such restrictions or limitations which materially decrease the economic value of such property. (…)»


Constitution of the Republic of Latvia
Article 105
“Everyone has the right to own property. Property shall not be used contrary to the interests of the public. Property rights may be restricted only in accordance with law. Expropriation of property for public purposes shall be allowed only in exceptional cases on the basis of a specific law and in return for fair compensation.”
Article 113
“The State shall recognise the freedom of scientific research, artistic and other creative activity, and shall protect copyright and patent rights.”


Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania
Article 23
Property shall be inviolable.
The rights of ownership shall be protected by laws.
Property may only be seized for the needs of society in accordance with the procedure established by law and shall be justly compensated for.
Article 42
Culture, science and research, and teaching shall be free.
The State shall support culture and science and shall protect Lithuanian historical, art, and cultural monuments and other culturally valuable objects.


Constitution of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Article 16
No one may be deprived of his property except on grounds of public interest in cases and in the manner laid down by the law and in consideration of prior and just compensation.
Article 17
Confiscation of property as a penalty may not be instituted


Constitution of the Republic of Hungary
Article 9
“(1) The economy of Hungary is a market economy, in which public and private property shall receive equal consideration and protection under the law. (…)”
Article 13
“(1) The Republic of Hungary guarantees the right to property.
(2) Expropriation shall only be permitted in exceptional cases, when such action is in the public interest, and only in such cases and in the manner stipulated by law, with provision of full, unconditional and immediate compensation.”


Constitution of Malta
Article 32
“Whereas every person in Malta is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, whatever his race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest, to each and all of the following, namely --
(a) life, liberty, security of the person, the enjoyment of property and the protection of the law; (…)”
Article 37
“(1) No property of any description shall be compulsorily taken possession of, and no interest in or right over property of any description shall be compulsorily acquired, except where provision is made by a law applicable to that taking of possession or acquisition.
(a) for the payment of adequate compensation;
(b) securing to any person claiming such compensation a right of access to an independent and impartial court or tribunal established by law for the purpose of determining his interest in or right over the property and the amount of any compensation to which he may be entitled, and for the purpose of obtaining payment of that compensation; and
(c) securing to any party to proceedings in that court or tribunal relating to such a claim a right of appeal from its determination to the Court of Appeal in Malta:
Provided that in special cases Parliament may, if it deems it appropriate so to act in the national interest, by law establish the criteria which are to be followed, including the factors and other circumstances to be taken into account, in the determination of the compensation payable in respect of property compulsorily taken possession of or acquired; and in any such case the compensation shall be determined and shall be payable accordingly.
(2) Nothing in this section shall be construed as affecting the making or operation of any law so far as it provides for the taking of possession or acquisition of property -- (…)”


Constitution of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Article 14
1. Expropriation may take place only in the public interest and on prior assurance of full compensation, in accordance with regulations laid down by or pursuant to Act of Parliament.(...)
3. In the cases laid down by or pursuant to Act of Parliament there shall be a right to full or partial compensation if in the public interest the competent authority destroys property or renders it unusable or restricts the exercise of the owner’s rights to it.


Republic of Austria - Federal Constitutional Laws (Updated in 2000)
Basic Law of 21 December 1867
Art. 5. Property is inviolable. Expropriation against the will of the owner can only occur in cases and in the manner determined by law.


Constitution of the Republic of Poland
Article 21
1. The Republic of Poland shall protect ownership and the right of succession.
2. Expropriation may be allowed solely for public purposes and for just compensation.
Article 46
Property may be forfeited only in cases specified by statute, and only by virtue of a final judgment of a court.
Article 64
1. Everyone shall have the right to ownership, other property rights and the right of succession.
2. Everyone, on an equal basis, shall receive legal protection regarding ownership, other property rights and the right of succession.
3. The right of ownership may only be limited by means of a statute and only to the extent that it does not violate the substance of such right.


Constitution of the Portuguese Republic
Article 62
1. Everyone is guaranteed, under this Constitution, the right to private property and to transfer it during his or her lifetime and on death.
2. Requisitioning or compulsory acquisition of property for public purposes shall be carried out only under the authority of law and on the payment of fair compensation.


Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia
Article 33
The right to private property and inheritance shall be guaranteed.
Article 60
The protection of copyright and other rights deriving from artistic, scientific, research and invention activities shall be guaranteed.
Article 67
The manner in which property is acquired and enjoyed shall be established by law so as to ensure its economic, social and environmental function.
The manner and conditions of inheritance shall be established by law.
Article 68
Aliens may acquire ownership rights to real estate under conditions provided by law.
Aliens may not acquire title to land except by inheritance, under the condition of reciprocity. (amended in 1997, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia No. 42/97)
Aliens may acquire ownership rights to real estate under conditions provided by law or if so provided by a treaty ratified by the National Assembly, under the condition of reciprocity.
Such law and treaty from the preceding paragraph shall be adopted by the National Assembly by a two-thirds majority vote of all deputies. (amended in 2003, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia No. 24/03)
Aliens may acquire ownership rights to real estate under conditions provided by law or a treaty ratified by the National Assembly.
Article 69
Ownership rights to real estate may be revoked or limited in the public interest with the provision of compensation in kind or monetary compensation under conditions established by law.


Constitution of the Slovak Republic
Article 20
(1) Everyone shall have the right to own property. Property rights of all owners shall be uniformly construed and equally protected by law. The right of inheritance is guaranteed.
(2) , The law shall establish certain property, which is necessary for the purposes of safeguarding the needs of the society, the development of the national economy and the public interest, except the property defined in Art. 4 of this Constitution as the exclusive property of the State, the municipality or specific legal persons. A law may also lay down which property only individual citizens or legal persons residing in the Slovak Republic may own.
(3) The ownership is binding. It shall not be misused causing injury to others or in contradiction with the public interests protected by the law. The exercise of
right in property must not be detrimental to the health of other people, nature, cultural sites or the environment beyond the margin laid down by a law.
(4) Expropriation or restrictions of right in property may be imposed only to the necessary extent and in public interest, based on the law and for a valuable
Article 43
(1) Freedom of scientific research and freedom of artistic expression shall be guaranteed. Intellectual property rights shall be protected by a law.
(2) The right to access to cultural heritage shall be guaranteed under the terms laid down by a law.


Constitution of Finland
Article 15
The property of everyone is protected.
Provisions on the expropriation of property, for public needs and against full compensation, are laid down by an Act.


Constitution of the Kingdom of Sweden, 27 February 1994-Four Basic Laws (Updated in September 2002)
Article 18 [Property, Expropriation]
Every citizen whose property is requisitioned by means of an expropriation order or by any other such disposition shall be guaranteed compensation for his loss on the bases laid down in law.
Article 19
Authors, artists and photographers shall own the rights to their works in accordance with provisions laid down in law.


Human Rights Act (UK)
The first Protocol
Art 1 Protection of Property
Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.
The preceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest or to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or penalties


Compiled by

Alexandra Mareschi

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