Compensation for Property under the European Convention on Human Rights


This Article investigates the nature of the right to property guaranteed under the First Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights ('P1-1'). It argues that the European Court of Human Rights has been torn between two theories of the right to property. The first is the "integrated theory", and it holds that the right to property shares common values and purposes with other Convention rights. Hence, the interpretation of P1-1 should reflect principles developed in the interpretation of other Convention rights. It is argued that the application of the integrated theory should support a "social model" of property. The second theory is the "comparative theory". It tends to look outside the Convention, to the comparative law on rights of property, for guidance on the interpretation of P1-1. Implicitly, it rejects the notion that there is a strong link between the right to property and other Convention rights. In addition, it supports the use of either a "legal model" or an "economic model" of property in the application of P1-1. The Article demonstrates that the rhetoric of Court of Human Rights follows the integrated theory, but the development of substantive doctrine more often reflects the comparative theory. It shows this by exploring the development of the implied right to compensation for the expropriation of property. There is no express guarantee of compensation in P1-1, and hence the development of compensation principles provides insight into the Court's views on the nature of the interest protected by a human right to property.


Human Rights Law | International Law

Date of this Version

November 2006