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On the restoration of the rights of ownership to a building of Užutrakis manor estate

Case No. 24/2008

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

RULING

ON THE COMPLIANCE OF ARTICLE 14, ARTICLE 15 (WORDING OF 14 OCTOBER 2003) OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA LAW ON RESTORATION OF THE RIGHTS OF OWNERSHIP OF CITIZENS TO THE EXISTING REAL PROPERTY (WORDING OF 1 JULY 1997) WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA, ON THE COMPLIANCE OF RESOLUTION OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA NO. 356 “ON THE APPROVAL OF THE LIST OF THE RESIDENTIAL HOUSES, PARTS THEREOF, AND FLATS (SUBJECT TO BUY-OUT BY THE STATE FROM CITIZENS) RECONSTRUCTED INTO NON-RESIDENTIAL PREMISES AND USED FOR THE NEEDS OF EDUCATION, HEALTHCARE, CULTURE AND SCIENCE AS WELL AS FOR FOSTER HOMES” (WORDING OF 14 MAY 2004) WITH THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA LAW ON RESTORATION OF THE RIGHTS OF OWNERSHIP OF CITIZENS TO THE EXISTING REAL PROPERTY

2 September 2011
Vilnius

 

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court Egidijus Bieliūnas, Toma Birmontienė, Pranas Kuconis, Gediminas Mesonis, Ramutė Ruškytė, Egidijus Šileikis, Algirdas Taminskas, Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis, and Dainius Žalimas,

with the secretaries of the hearing—Daiva Pitrėnaitė and Sigutė Brusovienė,

in the presence of the representative of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the petitioner, who was Julius Dautartas, a Member of the Seimas,

in the presence of the representatives of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, the party concerned, who were Justa Kalinauskienė, the chief specialist of the Legal Division of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, and Eglė Izokaitytė, the chief specialist of the Law Application Division of the Legal Department of the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania,

pursuant to Articles 102, 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Article 1 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, on 29 August 2011, in a public Court hearing heard constitutional justice case No. 24/2008 subsequent to the petition of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, requesting to investigate whether Article 14, Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 1 July 1997), insofar as these articles do not provide for a possibility for the state to buy out those buildings recognised as objects of immovable cultural heritage, i.e. those buildings which sensu stricto do not meet the established conditions of the buy-out, are not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 42, Paragraph 1 (wording of 23 January 2003) of Article 47 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, as well as whether Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 356 “On the Approval of the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes” (wording of 14 May 2004), insofar as the buildings situated in Užtrakio St., Trakai, which, prior to the nationalisation, did not use to be residential houses, parts thereof or flats, were entered into the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes, is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 8 and Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law on Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 1 July 1997).

The Constitutional Court

has established:

I

The petition of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, is substantiated by the following arguments.

1. Article 14 and Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law on Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (hereinafter also referred to as the Law) (wording of 1 July 1997) have entrenched the final list of situations in which the state can respectively buy out the buildings of economic-commercial purpose, residential houses, parts thereof and flats. It needs to be noted that these articles of the law do not provide for a possibility for the state to buy out significant objects of immovable cultural heritage if the other conditions provided therein are not met sensu stricto. Thus, they are legal gaps due to which, according to the petitioner, regardless of the real and grounded public need to buy out all contested buildings of the Užutrakis Manor estate, prevent from doing so. Paragraph 2 of Article 42 of the Constitution, which provides that the state shall support culture and science, and shall take care of the protection of Lithuanian historical, artistic and cultural monuments and other culturally valuable objects, Paragraph 1 (wording of 23 January 2003) of Article 47 of the Constitution, which provides that inter alia the cultural objects of state importance shall belong by the right of exclusive ownership to the Republic of Lithuania, imply that such legal gaps are not allowed and that they must be corrected namely in the specified Article 14 and Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997).

2. By Government Resolution No. 356 “On the Approval of the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes” (wording of 14 May 2004) (hereinafter also referred to Government resolution No. 356 (wording of 14 May 2004)), all buildings, which are the object of the dispute in the case considered by the petitioner, and which are situated in Užtrakio St. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 17 and 12A, the town of Trakai, the municipality of Trakai, have been entered into the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes, however, it is clear from the material of the case that part of these buildings (the canteen, the storage of the still-house, the bar, the still-house and the storehouse) had not been residential houses, parts thereof, or flats. Thus, these buildings sensu stricto do not belong to the category of the buildings bought out by Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law. Therefore, Government resolution No. 356 (wording of 14 May 2004) to the specified extent is in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 8 and Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997).

II

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court hearing written explanations were received from the representatives of the Seimas, the party concerned, who were J. Dautartas and V. Kurpuvesas, Members of the Seimas, wherein it is maintained that Article 14 and Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997) are not in conflict with the Constitution.

Their position is virtually substantiated by the fact that the nature of an object of immovable cultural heritage and the status as being important to society, which was granted to this object, may not be assessed as an unconditional ground for buying it out by the state from the citizens who have the right to restore the rights of ownership to the said object. The interest of society that one should take care of the endurance and protection of the value of culture is secured not by the status of the owner (the state or a private person), but the rights and duties which are established to the owner and possessor of the property and consolidated in the Republic of Lithuania Law on Protection of Immovable Cultural Heritage.

In addition, the legal gap discovered by the petitioner is an issue of application of law, which must be solved by the petitioner himself.

III

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court hearing written explanations were received from the representatives of the Government, a party concerned, who were V. Lukaševičiūtė, the chief specialist of the Legal and Personnel Division of the Ministry of Culture, and E. Izokaitytė, the chief specialist of the Law Application Division of the Legal Department of the Ministry of Environment, wherein it is maintained that Government resolution No. 356 (wording of 14 May 2004) is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 8 and Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997.

V. Lukaševičiūtė, a representative of the party concerned, while taking account of the regulation established in Paragraph 5 of Article 10, Paragraph 2 of Article 25 and Article 30 of the Law on Protection of Immovable Cultural Heritage, maintains that the Government enters only those monuments of culture into the list of the historical, archaeological and cultural objects of state importance, which could be preserved and be accessible to the public only when they belong to the Republic of Lithuania by exclusive right of ownership, and that, in case of need, in order to preserve a monument of culture and make it accessible to the public, it has the right to take over monuments of culture for the needs of society according to the procedure established by law, while providing fair compensation. By Government Resolution No. 1465 “On Declaring the Immovable Cultural Values as Cultural Monuments” of 23 December 1999, the buildings of Užutrakis manor estate were recognised as a cultural monument, whereas by Resolution No. 659 “On the Approval of the List of the Historical, Archaeological and Cultural Objects of State Importance” of 19 June 2007, thus recognising that the Užutrakis manor estate may be preserved and accessible to the public only if it belongs to the Republic of Lithuania by exclusive right of ownership. In addition, a list of other resolutions of the Government and sub-statutory legal acts has been presented, from which, according to the representative of the party concerned, it is clear that the state, while implementing the Constitution, is consistently taking care of the preservation of Užutrakis manor estate, its accessibility to the public, its adjustment to public cultural and representation purposes. The status of Užutrakis manor estate is a special one—it is a unique national complex object of cultural heritage, therefore, it may not be divided.

E. Izokaitytė, a representative of the party concerned, submitted analogous and additional arguments. According to her, while taking account of the fact that the legal status of historical, archaeological and cultural objects of state importance is regulated both in the Constitution and the Law on Protection of Immovable Cultural Heritage, as well as of the fact that the Constitution is a directly applicable legal act, the fact that the Law does not contain a corresponding provision on historical, archaeological and cultural objects of state importance does not exempt one from the duty to observe the Constitution, therefore, such an object, which has been recognised as a historical, archaeological and cultural object of state importance, may not be transferred to private ownership. Paragraph 1 of Article 8 of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997) does not regulate the conditions for making the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes, nor does the said paragraph contain any other limitations which could be applied in the course of adopting the disputed Government resolution. Therefore, this norm of the law may not serve as the legal grounds for questioning the disputed Government resolution. The Užutrakis manor estate was reasonably entered into the list approved by the disputed Government resolution No. 356 (wording of 14 May 2004), since the buildings of the place met all the conditions established in Item 3 of Article 15 of the Law. In addition, at the time of the adoption of the decision on restoration of the rights of ownership to Užutrakis manor estate, the legal acts establishing that it may not be privatised, since it belongs to the State of Lithuania by right of exclusive ownership, were in force.

IV

At the Constitutional Court hearing, the Member of the Seimas J. Dautartas, a representative of the Seimas, a party concerned, virtually reiterated the arguments set forth in his written arguments and in those of the Member of the Seimas V. Kurpuvesas and answered to questions of the justices of the Constitutional Court.

The representative of the Government, a party concerned, J. Kalinauskienė, virtually reiterated the arguments set forth in the written explanations of the representative of the Government V. Lukaševičiūtė, the representative of the Government E. Izokaitytė virtually reiterated the arguments set forth in her written explanations, and both of them answered to questions of the justices of the Constitutional Court.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

I

On the compliance of Article 14, Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) the Law on Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 1 July 1997) with Paragraph 2 of Article 42, Paragraph 1 of Article 47 (wording of 23 January 2003) of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

1. The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, inter alia requests investigation into whether Article 14, Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997), insofar as these articles, according to the petitioner, do not provide for a possibility for the state to buy out the buildings recognised as objects of immovable cultural heritage, i.e. those buildings which sensu stricto do not meet the established conditions of the buy-out, are not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 42, Paragraph 1 of Article 47 (wording of 23 January 2003) of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

2. Article 14 “Buildings Used for Economic and Commercial Purposes being Purchased by the State” of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997) prescribes:

Buildings used for economic and commercial purposes shall be purchased by the State from the citizens specified in Article 2 of this Law and it shall be compensated for them in accordance with Article 16 of this Law, provided these buildings:

1) have been substantially rebuilt (reconstructed) to such an extent that more than 60 per cent of the main constructions have been altered and it is impossible to separate the created new space from the former one;

2) have been acquired into private ownership in accordance with laws.”

3. Thus, Article 14 of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997) establishes the conditions under which the state buys out buildings used for economic and commercial purposes from the citizens who have the right to restore the rights of ownership to these buildings.

4. Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) “Residential Houses, Parts thereof, Flats being Purchased by the State” of the Law prescribes:

Residential houses, parts thereof, flats shall be purchased by the State from the citizens referred to in Article 2 of this Law and it shall be compensated for them according to Article 16 of this Law, if:

1) these residential houses, parts thereof, flats have been substantially reconstructed to such an extent that more than 50 per cent of the main constructions have been altered and it is impossible to separate the created new total area from the former one, if the total area exceeds the former by 30 per cent;

2) these residential houses, parts thereof, flats have been acquired into private ownership according to laws;

3) these residential houses, parts thereof, flats have been reconstructed into non-residential premises and are used for educational, healthcare, cultural, scientific needs, and for foster homes. The list of these premises shall be approved by the Government;

4) citizens do not agree with the requirement laid down in Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of this Law to rent a residential house, a part thereof or a flat which is given back and in which the tenants live.”

5. Thus, Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law establishes the conditions under which the state buys out residential houses, parts thereof, flats from the citizens who have the right to restore the rights of ownership to them.

6. It has been mentioned that the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, inter alia requests investigation into whether Article 14, Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997) are not in conflict with the Constitution.

The petitioner points out that all the buildings that are the object of the dispute in the administrative case considered by it, have been entered into the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes. From the material of the administrative case, in which a ruling was adopted to apply to the Constitutional Court, it is clear that in the said case a legal dispute is at issue regarding restoration of the rights of ownership to the buildings specified in the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes, which was approved by Government resolution No. 356 30 March 1999 (wording of 14 May 2004). Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law provides that the said list shall be approved by the Government.

Thus, in the constitutional justice case at issue it is necessary, first of all, to investigate whether to the extent specified by the petitioner Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law is not in conflict with the Constitution.

7. It has been mentioned that the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, inter alia requests investigation into whether Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997), insofar as this article, according to the petitioner, does not provide for a possibility for the state to buy out the buildings recognised as objects of immovable cultural heritage, i.e. those buildings which sensu stricto do not meet the established conditions of the buy-out, is not in conflict with the Constitution.

In the opinion of the petitioner, due to the fact that Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997) has entrenched the final list of situations in which the state can respectively buy out residential houses, parts thereof and flats, and no possibility is provided for the state to buy out significant objects of immovable cultural heritage, if the other conditions specified in this article are not met, the protection of cultural objects of state importance is not secured, whereas this is a legal gap conflicting with the Constitution.

Thus, the petitioner disputes the legislative omission which, in its opinion, exists in this law, i.e. it disputes something, which has not been established in this law by the legislator, even though, in the opinion of the petitioner, under the Constitution, it should have been established by the legislator, i.e., the petition disputes such a gap in the legal regulation, which, in the opinion of the petitioner, is prohibited by the Constitution.

8. Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) “Residential Houses, Parts thereof, Flats being Purchased by the State” of the Law prescribes:

Residential houses, parts thereof, flats shall be purchased by the State from the citizens referred to in Article 2 of this Law and it shall be compensated for them according to Article 16 of this Law, if: <...>

3) these residential houses, parts thereof, flats have been reconstructed into non-residential premises and are used for educational, healthcare, cultural, scientific needs, and for foster homes. The list of these premises shall be approved by the Government; <...>“

9. Thus, Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997) provides for three conditions under which the state buys out residential houses, parts thereof, flats from the citizens who have the right to restore the rights of ownership: 1) residential houses, parts thereof, flats have been reconstructed into non-residential premises; 2) these premises are used for educational, healthcare, cultural, scientific needs, and for foster homes; 3) the premises are specified in the list which is approved by the Government.

Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997) does not specify expressis verbis that the state buys out residential houses, parts thereof, flats, if they are objects of immovable cultural heritage.

10. While construing the legal regulation established in Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003), it needs to be noted that the notion “residential houses” employed in this article is to be construed while taking account inter alia of the historical context, i.e., of the relations that existed prior to the unlawful nationalisation or other unlawful seizure of residential houses. In this context it needs to be noted that at the time of the unlawful nationalisation or other unlawful seizure of real property various types of residential houses used to be seized: houses intended only for dwelling, places of summer resort, homesteads, landowner’s estates, manors, etc. Thus, both individual houses and complexes—a residential house and other buildings related to the residential house by economic, technological or other functional ties—used to be nationalised. The buildings constituting the complex were designed for satisfying the needs of the persons dwelling in the residential house and such buildings are treated as a whole-complex. In the course of nationalisation, as a rule, along with the buildings with residential premises also the other buildings of the complex, in which there were premises for non-residential purposes, used to be seized as well.

11. The legal regulation established in Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) “Residential Houses, Parts thereof, Flats being Purchased by the State” of the Law is also to be construed by taking account of the Civil Code of the Republic of Lithuania (wording of 18 July 2000), in which inter alia the basics of material law are established. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue one is to mention the following provisions of Book Four “Material Law” of the Civil Code:

principal things are such as may be independent objects of legal relationships (Article 4.12);

auxiliary things are such as exist only in conjunction with principal things or belonging to principal things, or otherwise associated thereto (Paragraph 1 of Article 4.13);

auxiliary things fall into essential parts of principal things, fruit obtained from principal things, product and income, and appurtenances of principal things (Paragraph 2 of Article 4.13);

auxiliary things shall be treated in the same way as principal things, unless otherwise provided by an agreement or a law (Paragraph 1 of Article 4.14);

when during the process of transferring a principal thing to another owner a dispute arises regarding an auxiliary thing, the auxiliary thing shall be transferred to another owner together with the principal thing, unless proven that the opposite should apply (Paragraph 2 of Article 4.14);

appurtenances are independent secondary things meant for serving the principal thing, which are constantly linked to the principal thing by their qualities (Paragraph 1 of Article 4.19).

12. While summing up the specified provisions of the Civil Code, it needs to be noted that principle things are independent objects of legal relations, whereas appurtenances, which are independent secondary things meant for serving the principal thing and which are constantly linked to the principal thing by their qualities, are treated in the same way as principal things, unless otherwise provided by an agreement or a law.

In this context it needs to be noted that the Supreme Court of Lithuania, while construing the legal norms on the legal status of appurtenances, has held that “a thing is recognised as an appurtenance, which is designed to serve the principal thing and is related with the latter in the common economic purpose, thus, there should be a functional link between the principal thing and the thing serving the latter, i.e. the serving thing should be designed for satisfying the needs of the principal thing”. The Supreme Court of Lithuania has also noted that “the physical link is not essential for the existence of a functional link, however, in order that the functional link would be recognised as legally significant, it must be of constant nature and be characteristic of not only in the use of the other thing, but also of the constant serving for the principal thing” (the Supreme Court of Lithuania ruling of 23 April 2001 in civil case No. 3K-3-448/2001, the ruling of 22 October 2003 in civil case No. 3K-3-1002/2003, the ruling of 20 October 2004 in civil case No. 3K-3-561/2004, the ruling of 6 September 2006 in civil case No. 3K-3-453/2006 etc.).

13. While construing the legal regulation established in Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law in conjunction with the aforesaid provisions of the Civil Code, it needs to be noted that the objects of real property subject to buy-out by the state are not only residential houses, parts thereof, flats, but also the former appurtenances thereto, provided they exist at the time of restoration of the rights of ownership to the residential house.

14. It needs to be noted that, under Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997), the state buys out only those residential houses, parts thereof, flats, which have been reconstructed into non-residential premises and are used for educational, healthcare, cultural, scientific needs, and for foster homes, and they are specified in the list approved by the Government.

15. In summary, it needs to be held that, under the legal regulation established in Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997), the residential houses, parts thereof, flats, which meet the conditions established in this article, as well as the appurtenances to the residential houses, parts thereof, flats, which used to compose the same functional complex prior to the nationalisation and other unlawful seizure and which compose the same functional complex at the time of restoration of the rights of ownership, may be bought out.

16. It has been mentioned that subsequent to the petition of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, the Constitutional Court is investigating whether Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997), insofar as this item, according to the petitioner, does not provide for a possibility for the state to buy out the buildings recognised as objects of immovable cultural heritage, i.e. those buildings which sensu stricto do not meet the conditions of the buy-out established in the Law, is not in conflict with inter alia Paragraph 2 of Article 42 and Paragraph 1 of Article 47 (wording of 23 January 2003) of the Constitution.

16.1. Paragraph 2 of Article 42 of the Constitution prescribes: “The State shall support culture and science, and shall take care of the protection of Lithuanian historical, artistic and cultural monuments and other culturally valuable objects.”

While construing the regulation established in Paragraph 2 of Article 42 of the Constitution, the Constitutional Court has held that support and protection of culture by the state is an important function of the state and a public interest, as well as that the provisions of Paragraph 2 of Article 42 of the Constitution are imperative: not only do they specify that culture must be supported, that cultural monuments and culturally valuable objects must be protected, but also they consolidate the entity, which has both positive and negative duties to ensure that culture is supported and cultural monuments and culturally valuable objects are protected, which namely is the state (Constitutional Court ruling of 8 July 2005).

16.2. Paragraph 1 of Article 47 (wording of 23 January 2003) of the Constitution prescribes: “The underground, internal waters, forests, parks, roads, historical, archaeological and cultural objects of State importance shall belong by the right of exclusive ownership to the Republic of Lithuania.”

The Constitutional Court has held that the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 47 of the Constitution that the underground, internal waters, forests, parks, roads, historical, archaeological and cultural objects of state importance shall belong by the right of exclusive ownership to the Republic of Lithuania, means that the listed objects may belong by right of ownership solely to the state, save the exceptions that originate directly from the Constitution; the state (its institutions, officials) cannot adopt any decisions on the grounds of which the said objects would move from the state ownership to the ownership of other subjects (save the situations permitted by the Constitution itself) (Constitutional Court ruling of 8 July 2005).

16.3. It has also been mentioned that in the administrative case in which the ruling was adopted to apply to the Constitutional Court one was settling a legal dispute on restoration of the rights of ownership to the existing real property.

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that, as it has been held by the Constitutional Court, the legitimate expectation of the owner to restore the rights of ownership to the existing real property does not mean that in all cases the rights of ownership to the existing real property must be restored by returning such property in kind, and, in addition, such legal situations are also possible, where the existing real property which is necessary for the needs of society is not returned in kind (Constitutional Court ruling of 20 May 2008).

17. The Constitutional Court has held more than once that the needs of society due to which the existing real property is not returned to the former owners in kind may be very varied ones. The Constitutional Court has held that the concept of the needs of society due to which, in the course of the restitution, is not returned to the owners in kind, but is bought out by the state, is much broader than the content of the notion “needs of society” employed in Paragraph 3 of Article 23 of the Constitution (Constitutional Court ruling of 5 July 2007).

In this context it needs to be noted that, as it has been held by the Constitutional Court, the needs of society for which property may be seized according to the procedure established by law and must be adequately compensated for, are interests of either the whole or part of society, which the state, while implementing its functions, is constitutionally obligated to secure and satisfy; when property is seized for the needs of society, one must strive for the balance between various legitimate interests of society and its members; the needs of society, for which property is seized, are always particular and clearly expressed needs of society for a concrete object of property (Constitutional Court rulings of 2 April 2001 and 4 March 2003).

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it also needs to be noted that, by the law, only such existing real property that is used for the needs of the entire society or part thereof (but not for the needs of individual persons), inter alia the property used for educational, healthcare, cultural and scientific needs, may be not returned to the former owners in kind.

18. While deciding whether Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997) to the extent specified by the petitioner is not in conflict with the Constitution, it needs to be noted that, as it has been mentioned in this ruling of the Constitutional Court, Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997) provides for three conditions under which the state buys out residential houses, parts thereof, flats from the citizens who have the right to restore the rights of ownership: 1) residential houses, parts thereof, flats have been reconstructed into non-residential premises; 2) these premises are used for educational, healthcare, cultural, scientific needs, and for foster homes; 3) the premises are specified in the list which is approved by the Government. It has been held in this Constitutional Court ruling that under the legal regulation established in Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997), the residential houses, parts thereof, flats, which meet the conditions established in this article, as well as the appurtenances to the residential houses, parts thereof, flats, which used to compose the same functional complex prior to the nationalisation and other unlawful seizure and which compose the same functional complex at the time of restoration of the rights of ownership, may be bought out.

Thus, under the legal regulation established in Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997), the state can buy out residential houses, parts thereof, flats from the citizens who have the right to restore the rights of ownership, when such residential houses, parts thereof, flats have been reconstructed into non-residential premises and are used for educational, healthcare, cultural, scientific needs, and for foster homes and such premises are pointed out in the list approved by the Government, as well as the appurtenances to such residential houses, parts thereof, flats, which used to compose the same functional complex with that residential house, part thereof, flat prior to the nationalisation and other unlawful seizure and which compose the same functional complex at the time of restoration of the rights of ownership, provided the former residential building, part thereof, flat, or appurtenances thereto are used as a whole inter alia for educational, healthcare, cultural and scientific needs, i.e. for the needs of society, and they are in the list approved by the Government. Consequently, under the legal regulation established in Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997), the state may buy out also such buildings, which are appurtenances to a former residential house, part thereof, flat subject to buy-out by the state and which are necessary for the needs of society, i.e. used inter alia for education, healthcare, culture and science.

19. It has been mentioned that the petitioner is disputing a legislative omission which, in its opinion, exists in Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the 14 October 2003, i.e. the petitioner is disputing something which has not been established in this article, even though, in the opinion of the petitioner, under the Constitution, it should be established therein, i.e., in the petition one is disputing such a gap in the legal regulation which, in the opinion of the petitioner, is prohibited by the Constitution. It has also been mentioned that, in the opinion of the petitioner, due to the fact that Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997) has entrenched the final list of situations in which the state can buy out residential houses, parts thereof and flats, and no possibility is provided for the state to buy out significant objects of immovable cultural heritage, if the other conditions specified in this article are not met sensu stricto, the protection of cultural objects of state importance is not secured.

19.1. The Constitutional Court has held that a legal gap, inter alia legislative omission, always means that the legal regulation of corresponding social relations is established neither explicitly, nor implicitly, neither in a concrete legal act (part thereof), nor any other legal acts at all, even though there exists a need for the legal regulation of these social relations, while the said legal regulation, in case of legislative omission, must be established precisely in that legal act (precisely in that part thereof), since this is required by a certain legal act of higher power, inter alia the Constitution itself (Constitutional Court decisions of 8 August 2006, 5 November 2008, rulings of 2 March 2009, 22 June 2009, 11 December 2009, 29 September 2010, 29 November 2010 and 21 June 2011).

19.2. It has been held in this ruling that, under the legal regulation established in Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997), from citizens who have the right to restore their rights of ownership, the state may buy out also such buildings, which are appurtenances to a former residential house, part thereof, flat subject to buy-out by the state and which are necessary for the needs of society, inter alia they must be used for the needs of education, healthcare, culture and science, or for foster homes. Thus, under this legal regulation, also the buildings which are objects of cultural heritage, inter alia the appurtenances to the former residential house, part thereof, flat, subject to buy-out by the state, may be bought out.

Consequently, contrary to what has been pointed out by the petitioner, Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997) to the extent specified by the petitioner, does not contain any legislative omission, i.e. there is no legal gap there which is prohibited by the Constitution.

Thus, there are no grounds for maintaining that Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997) insofar as this item does not contain any explicit provisions designed for regulating the buy-out of the buildings which are objects of cultural heritage and which are appurtenances to residential houses, parts thereof, flats subject to buy-out by the state, is in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 42 of the Constitution, which prescribes: “The State shall support culture and science, and shall take care of the protection of Lithuanian historical, artistic and cultural monuments and other culturally valuable objects”, with Paragraph 1 (wording of 23 January 2003) of Article 47 of the Constitution, which prescribes: “The underground, internal waters, forests, parks, roads, historical, archaeological and cultural objects of State importance shall belong by the right of exclusive ownership to the Republic of Lithuania”, and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

20. Taking account of the arguments set forth, one is to draw a conclusion that Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997) insofar as this item does not contain any explicit provisions designed for regulating the buy-out of the buildings which are objects of cultural heritage and which are appurtenances to residential houses, parts thereof, flats subject to buy-out by the state, is not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 42, Paragraph 1 (wording of 23 January 2003) of Article 47 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

21. It has been mentioned that the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, inter alia requests investigation into whether Article 14 of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997) is not in conflict with the Constitution.

22. In the opinion of the petitioner, due to the fact that Article 14 of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997) has entrenched the final list of situations in which the state can respectively buy out the buildings of economic-commercial purpose, and no other possibility is provided for the state to buy out significant objects of immovable cultural heritage, if the other conditions specified in this article are not met, the protection of cultural objects of state importance is not secured, whereas this is a legal gap conflicting with the Constitution.

23. It has also been mentioned that Article 14 of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997) establishes the conditions under which the state buys out buildings used for economic and commercial purposes from the citizens who have the right to restore the rights of ownership.

24. It has been held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that that, under the legal regulation established in Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997), the state may buy out also such buildings, which are appurtenances to a former residential house, part thereof, flat subject to buy-out by the state and which are necessary for the needs of society, inter alia they should be used for the needs of education, healthcare, culture and science, or for foster homes. It has been mentioned in this ruling that in the administrative case, in which a ruling was adopted to apply to the Constitutional Court, a legal dispute is at issue regarding restoration of the rights of ownership to the buildings specified in the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes, which was approved by Government resolution No. 356 30 March 1999 (wording of 14 May 2004) while following Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997). Consequently, Article 14 of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997) must not be applied in the administrative case considered by the petitioner.

25. Thus, the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, in the aforementioned administrative case adopted a ruling to suspend the consideration of that case and to apply to the Constitutional Court as regards inter alia Article 14 of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997), which must not be applied in the said administrative case.

26. Under Paragraph 2 of Article 110 of the Constitution, in cases when there are grounds to believe that the law or other legal act which should be applied in a concrete case is in conflict with the Constitution, the judge shall suspend the consideration of the case and shall apply to the Constitutional Court requesting it to decide whether the law or other legal act in question is in compliance with the Constitution.

Under Paragraph 1 of Article 67 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, a court applies to the Constitutional Court whether a law or other legal act is in compliance with the Constitution in case there are grounds to believe that the law or other legal act which should be applied in a concrete case is in conflict with the Constitution.

27. In its decision of 13 November 2007, the Constitutional Court held that the application of a court to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting to investigate the compliance of a legal act with a legal act of higher power, inter alia with the Constitution, and the investigation of that compliance are not an end in itself, and the purpose of the application (as a constitutional institute) of a court to the Constitutional Court is to ensure administration of justice.

The Constitutional Court has held in its acts that, under the Constitution, a court of general jurisdiction or a specialised court established under Paragraph 2 of Article 111 of the Constitution may apply to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting to investigate and decide whether not any constitutional law (part thereof) is not in conflict with the Constitution, but only such constitutional law, which must be applied in the corresponding case considered by that court, also whether not any law (part thereof) (as well as the Statute of the Seimas (part thereof)) is not in conflict with the Constitution and constitutional laws, but only that which must be applied in the corresponding case considered by that court, also whether not any sub-statutory legal act (part thereof) of the Seimas is not in conflict with the Constitution, constitutional laws and laws as well as the Statute of the Seimas, but only that which must be applied in the corresponding case considered by that court, also whether not any act (part thereof) of the President of the Republic is not in conflict with the Constitution, constitutional laws and laws, but only that which must be applied in the corresponding case considered by that court, as well as whether not any act (part thereof) of the Government is not in conflict with the Constitution, constitutional laws and laws, but only that which must be applied in the corresponding case considered by that court (Constitutional Court ruling of 28 March 2006 and decisions of 5 July 2007 and 29 October 2009).

Alongside, it needs to be noted that, under the Constitution and the Law on the Constitutional Court, no court has locus standi to apply to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting to investigate whether a law (part thereof) or another legal act (part thereof), which should not (could not) be applied in the case considered by the said court, is not in conflict with the Constitution (Constitutional Court decisions of 22 May 2007, 27 June 2007, 5 July 2007, ruling of 24 October 2007, and decision of 29 October 2009).

Therefore, under the Constitution and the Law on the Constitutional Court, a court may apply to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting to investigate whether not any law (part thereof) or other legal act (part thereof) is not in conflict with the Constitution, but only such law (part thereof) or other legal act (part thereof), which must be applied in the corresponding case considered by that court.

28. It has been mentioned that the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, in the aforementioned administrative case adopted a ruling to suspend the consideration of that case and to apply to the Constitutional Court as regards inter alia Article 14 of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997), which must not be applied in the said administrative case. Thus, the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, in the administrative case considered by it, does not have locus standi to apply to the Constitutional Court with the petition requesting to investigate whether Article 14 of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997) is not in conflict with the Constitution.

29. Under Item 1 of Paragraph 1 of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, by a decision, the Constitutional Court shall refuse to consider petitions to investigate the compliance of a legal act with the Constitution, if the petition was filed by an institution or person who does not have the right to apply to the Constitutional Court, whereas under Paragraph 3 of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, in the event that the grounds for refusal to consider a petition have been established after the commencement of the investigation of the case during the hearing of the Constitutional Court, a decision to dismiss the case shall be adopted.

30. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the part of the constitutional justice case at issue subsequent to the petition of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, requesting to investigate Article 14 of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997), insofar as this article, according to the petitioner, does not provide for a possibility for the state to buy out the buildings recognised as objects of immovable cultural heritage, i.e. those buildings which sensu stricto do not meet the conditions of the buy-out, is not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 42, Paragraph 1 of Article 47 (wording of 23 January 2003) of the Constitution and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, is to be dismissed.

II

On the compliance of Government resolution No. 356 of 30 March 1999 (wording of 14 May 2004) with Paragraph 1 of Article 8 and Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law on Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 1 July 1997).

1. The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, requests investigation into whether Item 2 of Government Resolution No. 584 “On Amending Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 356 ‘On the Approval of the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes’ of 30 March 1999” of 14 May 2004 insofar as the buildings situated in Užtrakio St., Trakai, which, prior to the nationalisation, did not use to be residential houses, parts thereof or flats, were entered into the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes, is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 8 and Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997).

2. On 30 March 1999, the Government, while invoking Article 15 of the Law, adopted Resolution No. 356 “On the Approval of the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes” (it came into force on 8 April 1999), whereby it approved the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes. This list indicates the address, the general floor space (in square metres) of the houses and premises and the institution, establishment, enterprise or organisation which is using the premises.

Government Resolution No. 356 of 30 March 1999 was amended and supplemented more than once.

On 14 May 2004, the Government adopted Resolution No. 584 “On Amending Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 356 ‘On the Approval of the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes’ of 30 March 1999” (it came into force on 21 May 2004), whereby it amended the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes which was approved by Government resolution No. 356 of 30 March 1999 and amended and supplemented by subsequent Government resolutions, whereas by Item 2 of this resolution the said list was supplemented with a new section, which was set forth as follows:

The Trakai District

Užtrakio St. 1, Trakai, 288.49, the Directorate of Trakai Historical National Park

Užtrakio St. 2, Trakai, 73.45, the Directorate of Trakai Historical National Park

Užtrakio St. 3, Trakai, 282.24, the Directorate of Trakai Historical National Park

Užtrakio St. 4, Trakai, 148.37, the Directorate of Trakai Historical National Park

Užtrakio St. 5, Trakai, 233.09, the Directorate of Trakai Historical National Park

Užtrakio St. 7, Trakai, 231.19, the Directorate of Trakai Historical National Park

Užtrakio St. 8, Trakai, 688.37, the Directorate of Trakai Historical National Park

Užtrakio St. 8A, Trakai, 243.4, the Directorate of Trakai Historical National Park

Užtrakio St. 10, Trakai, 91.59, the Directorate of Trakai Historical National Park

Užtrakio St. 12A, Trakai, 277.25, the Directorate of Trakai Historical National Park

Užtrakio St. 17, Trakai, 1539.19, the Directorate of Trakai Historical National Park

Užtrakio St. 21, Trakai, 44.1, the Directorate of Trakai Historical National Park.”

Thus, the list approved by Government resolution No. 356 of 30 March 1999 (wording of 14 May 2004) inter alia indicates the addresses of the houses and premises subject to buy-out by the state, which are situated in Užtrakio St., Trakai, it indicates the general floor space in square metres of these premises and the institution, establishment, enterprise or organisation which is using the premises (the Directorate of Trakai Historical National Park).

The List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes approved by Government resolution No. 356 of 30 March 1999 (wording of 14 May 2004) was amended and/or supplemented, however, the section “The Trakai District” has not been amended or supplemented.

3. The petitioner disputes the compliance of Government resolution No. 356 of 30 March 1999 (wording of 14 May 2004) with Paragraph 1 of Article 8 and Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997), insofar as also those buildings situated in Užtrakio St., Trakai, which, according to the petitioner, prior to the nationalisation, did not use to be residential houses, parts thereof or flats “(building—Canteen (unique No. 7998-2013-7019, Trakai dist. mun., Trakai tn., Užtrakio St. 1), building—Storage of the Still-house (unique No. 7989-7000-4011, address Trakai dist. mun., Trakai tn., Užtrakio St. 4), building—Bar (unique No. 7997-8019-5015, address Trakai dist. mun., Trakai tn., Užtrakio St. 5), building—Still-house (unique No. 7989-6000-2012, address Trakai dist. mun., Trakai tn., Užtrakio St. 8), and building—Storehouse (unique No. 7990-2000-8013, address Trakai dist. mun., Trakai tn., Užtrakio St. 12A)”, were entered into the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes.

The ruling of the petitioner by means of which one has applied to the Constitutional Court, the buildings specified in the list approved by Government resolution No. 356 of 30 March 1999 (wording of 14 May 2004) are referred to as follows: “Užtrakio St. 1, Trakai, 288,49, the Directorate of Trakai Historical National Park”, “Užtrakio St. 4, Trakai, 148.37, the Directorate of Trakai Historical National Park”, “Užtrakio St. 5, Trakai, 233.09, the Directorate of Trakai Historical National Park”, “Užtrakio St. 8, Trakai, 688.37, the Directorate of Trakai Historical National Park”, “Užtrakio St. 12A, Trakai, 277.25, the Directorate of Trakai Historical National Park.”

Thus, in the constitutional justice case at issue the Constitutional Court will investigate whether Government resolution No. 356 of 30 March 1999 (wording of 14 May 2004), insofar as the buildings situated in Užtrakio St. 1, 4, 5, 8, 12A, Trakai, were entered into the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes, is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 8 and Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997).

4. While taking account of the fact that the disputed Government resolution No. 356 of 30 March 1999 (wording of 14 May 2004) has entered the buildings that belong to Užutrakis manor estate, an object of immovable cultural heritage, into the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes, in the constitutional justice case at issue it is necessary to disclose the legal regulation related to establishment of the purpose of Užutrakis manor estate.

4.1. On 7 April 1992, the Government adopted Resolution No. 256 “On the Principles of Preservation of Former Manor Places, Historical and Cultural Monuments, in the Course of Restoration of the Rights of Ownership, in Conducting Privatisation and Land Reform”. Užutrakis manor estate was entered into the list of former manor places, historical and cultural monuments, not subject to privatisation, which was approved by the said resolution.

4.2. On 6 December 1993, the Government adopted Resolution No. 912 “On Approving the Planning Scheme of Trakai Historical National Park” whereby it approved the Planning Scheme of Trakai Historical National Park (the plan of the park territory with its functional zones and the explanatory note) (Item 1). Section 2 “General Principles of Planning and Managing the THNP” of the Chapter “The Planning Scheme of Trakai Historical National Park” of the said scheme indicated also the Užutrakis manor ensemble among the most valuable complexes of cultural heritage. Sub-item 2.3 of Item 2 “Sanctuaries” of Section I “Conservation Zone” of the Chapter “Zones of Trakai Historical National Park” of the said scheme inter alia established that the Užutrakis park landscape-architectural sanctuary includes the Užutrakis manor ensemble with the park in the peninsula between lakes Galvė and Skaistis. The purpose of this sanctuary is to preserve, manage and supervise Užutrakis manor estate, to conduct scientific research; the use—for educational recreation, accommodation of guests, for the purposes of representation of the State of Lithuania and the cultural centre open to the public. These provisions were amended by Government Resolution No. 760 “On Granting the Right of Land Possession to the Directorate of Trakai Historical National Park and on Amending Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 912 of 6 December 1993 and Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 69 of 11 January 1996” of 28 May 2002, Item 2 whereof prescribed:

2.3. The Užutrakis park landscape-architectural sanctuary includes 79.36 ha of the former Užutrakis manor estate—the G208KP territory in the peninsula between lakes Galvė and Skaistis, from which 78.65 ha is state property, whereas 0.71 ha are five private households.

The purpose. To preserve, manage and supervise the former Užutrakis manor estate— G208KP, to conduct scientific research.

The use. For educational recreation, accommodation of guests, for the purposes of representation of the State of Lithuania and the cultural centre open to the public.

The protection, use and management are established by Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 343 ‘On Approving the Special Conditions for Using Forest and Land’ of 12 May 1992 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1992, No. 22-652), Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 369 ‘On the Protection of Former Manors and Landowners’ Monument Estates’ of 27 May 1993 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1993, No. 18-460), the special (monument-protection) plan of the former Užutrakis manor estate—G208KP approved by Order of the Director of the Department for Protection of Cultural Values No. 157 of 5 June 2000 and the detailed plan of the former Užutrakis manor estate—G208KP approved by Decision of the Trakai District Municipality No. 33 of 14 March 2001.”

4.3. On 14 July 1994, the Government adopted Resolution No. 598 “On the List of Historical, Archaeological, and Cultural Objects of State Importance”, whereby it resolved: “To assent to the List of Historical, Archaeological, and Cultural Objects of State Importance, into which 503 historical and cultural monuments of the Republic of Lithuania were entered and which was prepared by the Department for Monument Maintenance of the Ministry of Construction and Urban Planning” (Item 1).

4.4. On 11 January 1996, the Government adopted Resolution No. 69 “On the Purpose of the Former Užutrakis Manor Ensemble”, whereby it was resolved to apply the following buildings of the Former Užutrakis manor ensemble for state representational needs, which are situated on the territory of Trakai Historical National Park and in the balance-sheet thereof: the palace—Užtrakio St. 17, the cowshed—Užtrakio St. 1, the residential house—Užtrakio St. 3, the residential house—Užtrakio St. 7, the carriage-shed—Užtrakio St. 12A (Item 1).

By Government Resolution No. 760 “On Granting the Right of Land Possession to the Directorate of Trakai Historical National Park and on Amending Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 912 of 6 December 1993 and Resolution No. 69 of 11 January 1996” of 28 May 2002 Government Resolution No. 69 of 11 January 1996 was amended and supplemented and it was resolved to adjust the following buildings of the Former Užutrakis manor estate—G208KP for state representational needs, which are situated on the territory of Trakai Historical National Park and which are used and possessed by trust by the Directorate of Trakai Historical National Park: the palace G208KP 1, 01A—Užtrakio St. 17; the stable G208KP 2, 01D—Užtrakio St. 12A; the ferryman’s house G208KP 11, 01E—Užtrakio St. 10; the icehouse G208KP 12, 01C—Užtrakio St. 21; the hotel 01B—Užtrakio St. 15.

4.5. On 9 June 1999, the Government adopted Resolution No. 755 “On Approving the Outline of the Programme for Perspective Use (Purpose) for the Former Užutrakis Manor Estate”, whereby, while seeking to preserve one of the most prominent manors in Lithuania in the 19-20th centuries, together with the park designed by E. F. André, a famous French landscape architect, approved the outline of the programme for perspective use (purpose) for the former Užutrakis manor estate. The purpose of the outline of the programme is “to create a model of perspective functioning of the former Užutrakis manor estate so that this immovable cultural value adjusted in a complex manner would embody the idea of a state representational cultural centre open to the public, and to propose ways how to put such a model into practice” (Item 3 of the Outline of the Programme for Perspective Use (Purpose) for the Former Užutrakis Manor Estate).

4.6. On 23 December 1999, the Government adopted Resolution No. 1465 “On Proclaiming Immovable Cultural Values as Monuments” whereby Užutrakis manor estate was proclaimed as a cultural monument.

4.7. On 4 April 2000, the Government adopted Resolution No. 388 “On Approving the Regulations for Trakai Historical National Park”. The Regulations for Trakai Historical National Park approved by this resolution consolidated one of the tasks of Trakai Historical National Park—to preserve, keep and supervise the Užutrakis manor ensemble, to create pre-conditions to use the complex for the purposes of representation of the State of Lithuania and the cultural centre open to the public, to accumulate a dendrological collection in Užutrakis for the purpose of science, ecological education and restoration of E. F. André’s parks (Item 5.3).

4.8. As mentioned, on 14 May 2004, the Government adopted Resolution No. 584 “On Amending Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 356 ‘On the Approval of the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes’ of 30 March 1999” which is being disputed by the petitioner; according to this resolution, the buildings of Užutrakis manor estate were entered into List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes.

4.9. On 19 October 2005, the Government adopted Resolution No. 1109 “On Approving the Conception for Use of Užutrakis Manor Estate for Public Tourism Infrastructure (For the Needs of Public Cultural and Educational Tourism)”, whereby it approved the conception for use of Užutrakis manor estate for public tourism infrastructure (for the needs of public cultural and educational tourism) (Item 1) and recognised the previous Government resolutions, which have been mentioned in this ruling of the Constitutional Court, or some provisions of the resolutions (Items 1–3 of Government resolution No. 69 of 11 January 1996; resolution No. 755 of 9 June 1999 and resolution No. 761 of 28 May 2002 which replaced the former; Item 3 of resolution No. 760 of 28 May 2002) (Item 2). The purpose of the conception for use of Užutrakis manor estate for public tourism infrastructure (for the needs of public cultural and educational tourism) is to establish a model for use of Užutrakis manor estate which might be implemented by making use of the financial support of structural funds of the European Union (Item 2 of the aforesaid conception). Item 4 of this conception points out that Užutrakis manor estate is composed of multi-functional, public-cultural and active recreation parts. Item 5 of the conception provides: “The territory of multi-functional purpose is the most valuable and best preserved central part of the park. Its centre is the multi-functional palace with a parterre and a terrace. This part of the estate is devoted for cultural and educational tourism, for cultural events and those of state importance.”

4.10. On 7 February 2007, the Government adopted Resolution No. 193 “On Approving the Lists of the Objects of Cultural Heritage of Exceptional Cultural Value as Well as the Buildings and Premises Meant for Preservation and Display Movable Cultural Values”, whereby it approved the List of the Objects—Structures of Cultural Heritage—of Cultural Heritage of Exceptional Cultural Value. This list contains Užutrakis manor estate, points out concrete buildings of the estate and that the owner of the estate is the Republic of Lithuania.

4.11. On 19 June 2007, the Government adopted Resolution No. 659 “On the Approval of the List of the Historical, Archaeological and Cultural Objects of State Importance”, whereby it approved the List of the Historical, Archaeological and Cultural Objects of State Importance (Item 1) and recognised Government Resolution No. 598 “On the List of Historical, Archaeological, and Cultural Objects of State Importance” of 14 July 1994 as no longer valid. Užutrakis manor estate was also entered into the List of the Historical, Archaeological and Cultural Objects of State Importance, concrete buildings (eight) of the estate were enumerated, inter alia the building—the palace of culture, and it was pointed out that the owner of this estate is the Republic of Lithuania.

On 27 May 2009, the Government adopted Resolution No. 522 “On Amending Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 659 ‘On the Approval of the List of the Historical, Archaeological and Cultural Objects of State Importance’ of 19 June 2007” whereby it amended the List of the Historical, Archaeological and Cultural Objects of State Importance approved by Government Resolution No. 659 “On the Approval of the List of the Historical, Archaeological and Cultural Objects of State Importance” of 19 June 2007 and set it forth in a new wording. In the List of the Historical, Archaeological and Cultural Objects of State Importance (wording of 27 May 2009) twelve buildings of Užutrakis manor estate were entered.

5. While summing up the legal regulation established by the said Government resolutions, it needs to be held that the state has been paying special attention to Užutrakis manor estate as a complex since the very beginning of the restoration of the independence of Lithuania. In order to preserve this cultural value various measures of legal protection have been taken. As far back as in 1992, Užutrakis manor estate as a complex was included into the list of the former manor estates—historical and cultural monuments—not subject to privatisation. Užutrakis manor estate has been adjusted for use of cultural and educational tourism, of cultural events and those of state importance, i.e. for cultural needs.

6. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that, as it has been held by the Constitutional Court more than once, the duty of the Government to adopt sub-statutory acts which are necessary so as to implement laws stems directly from the Constitution, while in case there is a commissioning by the Seimas to do so, it also stems from the laws and Seimas resolutions concerning implementation of laws (Constitutional Court rulings of 30 October 2001, 18 December 2001, 5 March 2004, 31 May 2006, and 13 August 2007). Under the Constitution, the Government is bound also by the resolutions that it itself adopted; the Government must follow the requirements set therein until the Government resolution is amended or annulled (Constitutional Court rulings of 28 June 2001, 30 October 2001, 8 July 2005, 23 May 2007 and 13 August 2007).

7. It has been mentioned that in the constitutional justice case at issue it is investigated whether Government resolution No. 356 of 30 March 1999 (wording of 14 May 2004), insofar as the buildings situated in Užtrakio St. 1, 4, 5, 8, 12A, Trakai, were entered into the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes, is not in conflict with inter alia Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997).

8. In the opinion of the petitioner, the buildings (the canteen, the storage of the still-house, the bar, the still-house and the storehouse), which did not use to be residential houses, parts thereof, or flats prior to the nationalisation, were also entered into The List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes approved by Government resolution No. 356 of 30 March 1999 (wording of 14 May 2004); thus, in the opinion of the petitioner, these buildings sensu stricto do not belong to the category of the buildings bought out by Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law.

9. It has been mentioned in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997) provides for three conditions under which the state buys out residential houses, parts thereof, flats from the citizens who have the right to restore the rights of ownership: 1) residential houses, parts thereof, flats have been reconstructed into non-residential premises; 2) these premises are used for educational, healthcare, cultural, scientific needs, and for foster homes; 3) the premises are specified in the list which is approved by the Government.

It has been held in this Constitutional Court ruling that, under the legal regulation established in Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997), the state can buy out residential houses, parts thereof, flats from the citizens who have the right to restore the rights of ownership, when such residential houses, parts thereof, flats have been reconstructed into non-residential premises and are used for educational, healthcare, cultural, scientific needs, and for foster homes and such premises are pointed out in the list approved by the Government, as well as the appurtenances to such residential houses, parts thereof, flats, which used to compose the same functional complex with that residential house, part thereof, flat prior to the nationalisation and other unlawful seizure and which compose the same functional complex at the time of restoration of the rights of ownership, provided the former residential building, part thereof, flat, or appurtenances thereto are used as a whole inter alia for educational, healthcare, cultural and scientific needs, i.e. for the needs of society, and they are in the list approved by the Government.

10. It is clear from the material of the constitutional justice case at issue that, historically, the buildings, to which restoration of the rights of ownership is requested, were appurtenances to Užutrakis manor palace and constituent parts of Užutrakis manor estate. Užutrakis manor palace has been readjusted into non-residential premises (palace of culture) and, together with other appurtenances (the other buildings that are on the territory of Užutrakis manor estate), is used for cultural needs. Therefore, the buildings situated in Užtrakio St. 1, 4, 5, 8, 12A, Trakai, which are specified in the list approved Government Resolution No. 356 “On the Approval of the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes” of 30 March 1999 (wording of 14 May 2004) meet the conditions established in Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997).

Thus, under the legal regulation established in Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997), the Government was allowed to enter, by means of Government resolution No. 356 of 30 March 1999 (wording of 14 May 2004), the buildings of Užutrakis manor estate, which are a constituent part of the complex object of cultural heritage, into the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes.

11. Taking account of the arguments set forth, one is to draw a conclusion that Government Resolution No. 356 “On the Approval of the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes” of 30 March 1999 (wording of 14 May 2004), insofar as the buildings situated in Užtrakio St. 1, 4, 5, 8, 12A, Trakai, were entered into the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes approved by the said resolution, is not in conflict with Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law.

12. It has been mentioned that in the constitutional justice case at issue, subsequent to the petition of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, the Constitutional Court inter alia will investigate whether the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes approved by Government resolution No. 356 of 30 March 1999 (wording of 14 May 2004), insofar as the buildings situated in Užtrakio St. 1, 4, 5, 8, 12A, Trakai, were entered into this list, is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 8 of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997).

This request is grounded on the same arguments as the request to investigate the compliance of Government resolution No. 356 (wording of 14 May 2004) to the specified extent with Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997).

13. Paragraph 1 of Article 8 of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997) prescribes: “Ownership rights to residential houses, parts thereof, flats shall be restored to persons specified in Article 2 of this Law by returning them in kind, except the residential houses, parts thereof, flats which are subject to purchase by the State pursuant to Article 15 of this Law.”

Thus, Paragraph 1 of Article 8 of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997) established the manner of restoration of the rights of ownership to residential houses, parts thereof, flats (returning them in kind) and an exception of application thereof (“except the residential houses, parts thereof, flats which are subject to purchase by the State pursuant to Article 15 of this Law”).

14. Having held that Government resolution No. 356 (wording of 14 May 2004) to the extent specified by the petitioner is not in conflict with Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997), on the grounds of the same arguments one is also to hold that the list approved by this resolution is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 8 of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997), either.

15. Taking account of the arguments set forth, one is to draw a conclusion that Government Resolution No. 356 “On the Approval of the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes” of 30 March 1999 (wording of 14 May 2004), insofar as the buildings situated in Užtrakio St. 1, 4, 5, 8, 12A, Trakai, were entered into the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes approved by the said resolution, is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 8 of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997).

Conforming to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Articles 1, 53, 54, 55, 56 and 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania has passed the following

ruling:

1. To recognise that Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2003, No. 101-4542) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 1 July 1997; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1997, No. 65-1558), insofar as this item does not contain any explicit provisions designed for regulating the buy-out of the buildings which are objects of cultural heritage and which are appurtenances to residential houses, parts thereof, flats subject to buy-out by the state, is not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

2. To recognise that Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 356 “On the Approval of the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes” (wording of 14 May 2004; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1999, No. 31-890; 2004, No. 82-2941), insofar as the buildings situated in Užtrakio St. 1, 4, 5, 8, 12A, Trakai, were entered into the List of the Residential Houses, Parts Thereof, and Flats (Subject to Buy-out by the State from Citizens) Reconstructed into Non-residential Premises and Used for the Needs of Education, Healthcare, Culture and Science as Well as for Foster Homes approved by the said resolution, is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 8 and Item 3 of Article 15 (wording of 14 October 2003) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 1 July 1997).

3. To dismiss the part of the case regarding the compliance of Article 14 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (wording of 1 July 1997; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1997, No. 65-1558) with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

This ruling of the Constitutional Court is final and not subject to appeal.

The ruling is promulgated in the name of the Republic of Lithuania.

Justices of the Constitutional Court: Egidijus Bieliūnas

Toma Birmontienė

Pranas Kuconis

Gediminas Mesonis

Ramutė Ruškytė

Egidijus Šileikis

Algirdas Taminskas

Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis

Dainius Žalimas