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On the right of heirs of former owners to restore the rights of ownership

Case No. 1/2012

 THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

IN THE NAME OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 RULING

ON THE COMPLIANCE OF PARAGRAPH 1 OF ARTICLE 2 OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON THE RESTORATION OF THE RIGHTS OF OWNERSHIP OF CITIZENS TO THE EXISTING REAL PROPERTY WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 8 October 2014, No. KT43-N11/2014

Vilnius

 

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court: Elvyra Baltutytė, Vytautas Greičius, Danutė Jočienė, Gediminas Mesonis, Vytas Milius, Egidijus Šileikis, Algirdas Taminskas, and Dainius Žalimas

The court reporter—Daiva Pitrėnaitė

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, pursuant to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Articles 1 and 531 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, on 3 May 2014, in the Court’s hearing considered, under written procedure, constitutional justice case No. 1/2012 subsequent to petition (No. 1B-2/2012) of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court requesting an investigation into whether Paragraph 1 (wordings of 13 May 1999 and 14 October 2003) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property, to the extent that it does not provide that the rights of ownership to the real property must be restored under equal conditions to those citizens of the Republic of Lithuania to whom the property was transferred as inheritance by operation of law, or as inheritance by will, is (was) not in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

I

The petition of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, is substantiated by the following arguments.

  1. Paragraph 1 (wordings of 13 May 1999 and 14 October 2003) of Article 2 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (hereinafter also referred to as the Law) provides that the rights of ownership are restored to the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania who inherited the property of a former owner by will (irrespective of the fact that there is no evidence of the fact of the bequeathal of land or other real property), to whom the property was transferred pursuant to a will without adhering to the form and manner established by law (domestic will) or pursuant to agreements, as well as to the citizens to whom the successors to the rights of ownership bequeathed the property by will, however, it does not provide that the rights of ownership must be restored to the persons who inherited the property by operation of law save the persons who are essentially heirs of the first and second degree by operation of law (Article 5.11 of the Civil Code of the Republic of Lithuania). Such legal regulation denies, in the absence of any valid reason, the rights of ownership of a part of the heirs who inherited property by operation of law. In addition, such legal regulation disregards the constitutional principles of the protection of ownership, i.e., it unreasonably limits the right of inheritance of a part of heirs, therefore, this legal regulation might be in conflict with Article 23 of the Constitution.
  2. There are not any such differences between the persons who inherit by operation of law and those who inherit by will (Articles 5.2 and 5.5 of the Civil Code) that would make it possible to deem these persons to belong to different categories of persons, therefore, from an objective point of view, it is impossible to justify a completely different treatment of such persons in the impugned provision by failing to establish the right of the heirs who inherited property by operation of law to the restoration of the rights of ownership, whilst the law makes exceptions for heirs by will—the latter are granted the right to restore the rights of ownership even in the situations where the will does not contain any indication to land or other real property, and where a will was drawn up without adhering to the form and manner established by law. There is also no difference between these persons as regards the objects of real property inherited by them, since during the period of the Soviet occupation in the cases of both inheritance by operation of law and inheritance by will it was prohibited to specify the objects of property whose civil circulation was not allowed. Due to such reasons, there are doubts about the compliance of the impugned legal regulation with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution.
  3. The disproportionate limitation established by the impugned legal regulation on the rights of heirs by operation of law in the process of the restoration of the rights of ownership to the existing real property does not ensure legal certainty and the protection of legitimate expectations; in addition, the rights of subjects of legal relations, including the acquired ones by inheriting property, are not protected. Therefore, there are doubts about the compliance of this legal regulation with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

II

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court hearing, written explanations were received from the representative of the Seimas, the party concerned, who was Edmundas Pupinis, the then Chairperson of the Seimas Committee on Rural Affairs, wherein it is maintained that the impugned legal regulation is not in conflict with the Constitution. The position of the representative of the party concerned is substantiated by the following arguments.

  1. The petitioner did not take into consideration the entire official constitutional doctrine of the restoration of the rights of ownership formulated by the Constitutional Court in its rulings. As the Constitutional Court has noted on more than one occasion, the legal acts regulating the relations of the restoration of the rights to the existing real property provide that, in Lithuania, limited restitution is carried out, therefore, the violated rights of ownership are defended under conditions and procedure established by law. In the case at issue, also the provisions of the official constitutional doctrine are relevant, according to which the law establishing the conditions and procedure of the restoration of the rights of ownership to the existing real property is a special (ad hoc) law that is applied not to all property relations and not to all former owners and their descendants; upon the death of a former owner, the right of ownership to the existing real property is restored not under the general legal norms of inheritance, but only under a special procedure; only in cases where the rights of ownership are restored on the grounds of a special law, the norms of Article 23 of the Constitution and those of the Civil Code are applied to the full extent (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 20 June 1995).
  2. The persons who, under the Law, are appropriate aspirants to the restoration of the rights of ownership to the existing real property and the persons who do not meet the special conditions established in the Law belong to different categories of persons, therefore, it is impossible to assert that the same rights and duties should be granted to them or that the differentiated legal regulation is applied to them unreasonably.

A person who does not meet and has not met so far the special conditions established in the Law, the conditions being necessary for the restoration of the rights of ownership to the existing real property, is not and has never been a subject to whom the Law is applied. Such a person has not acquired the right to ownership or the constitutional protection thereof, the situation of such a person has not been deteriorated, and they do not enjoy any legitimate interests or legitimate expectations that the rights of ownership to the existing real property will be restored to them.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

  1. In the constitutional justice case at issue, the Constitutional Court investigates the compliance of Paragraph 1 (wordings of 13 May 1999 and 14 October 2003) of Article 2 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property, which establishes the persons who have the right to restore the rights of ownership to the existing real property, with the Constitution. The arguments of the petitioner make it clear that that the petitioner doubts about the compliance of Paragraph 1 (wordings of 13 May 1999 and 14 October 2003) of Article 2 of the Law, to the extent that, after the establishment of the right of the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania—heirs of former owners by will—to restore the rights of ownership to the existing real property, such a right has not been granted to the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania—heirs of former owners by operation of law, with the Constitution.
  2. The Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On the Procedure and Conditions of the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property”, which was adopted by the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania on 18 June 1991 and came into force on 1 August 1991, marked the beginning of the restoration of the rights of ownership to the existing real property in Lithuania. It should be noted that, under this law (with subsequent amendments and supplements), the right to restore the rights of ownership was granted, inter alia, to the children (or adopted children), parents (or adoptive parents), or spouse of a deceased former owner, who are, as a rule, among the heirs specified in the legal provisions regulating the relations of inheritance, i.e., they are heirs by operation of law.

2.1. On 1 July 1997, the Seimas adopted the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property, which came into force on 9 July 1997. After of the latter law had come into force, the Law “On the Procedure and Conditions of the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property” became no longer valid.

Under Paragraph 1 of Article 2 “Citizens Entitled to Restoration of the Rights of Ownership” of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property, the right to restore the rights of ownership to the existing real property is also granted to the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania to whom the deceased owner of the property left their property by will, irrespective of the fact that there is no evidence of the fact of the bequeathal of land or other real property, whilst in the absence of a will of the deceased former owner, the right to restore the rights of ownership to the existing real property was granted to the spouse, parents (adoptive parents), children (adopted children) or the spouses and children of such persons.

2.2. On 13 May 1999, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Amending and Supplementing Articles 2, 4, 5, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, and 21 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property, which came into force on 2 June 1999. By Paragraph 1 of Article 1 of this law, Paragraph 1 of Article 2 of the Law was amended.

Paragraph 1 (wording of 13 May 1999) of Article 2 of the Law, whose compliance with the Constitution is impugned by the petitioner, prescribed:

“1. The ownership rights to the real property specified in Article 3 of this Law shall be restored to the following citizens of Lithuania:

1) the owner of the property;

2) the persons to whom the now-deceased owner of the property left his property by a will, irrespective of the fact that there is no evidence of the fact of the bequeathal of land or other real property, and upon their death—their spouses, parents (adoptive parents), children (adopted children) or the spouses and children of such persons;

3) the spouse, parents (adoptive parents), children (adopted children), if they are citizens of the Republic of Lithuania, of the owner of the property who died without making a will or emigrated abroad during the occupation period (1939–1990) and there received the citizenship of another country, upon losing the citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania;

4) the spouse, children (adopted children) of a deceased child (adopted child) of the owner of the property;

5) the citizens to whom the property has been transferred by will the form and procedure of making whereof is not in compliance with the law (domestic will) or by agreement (sale and purchase agreement, deed of gift or another written document), as well as to the citizens to whom the successor has left the property by will. Such persons (who wish to restore the rights of ownership) must apply to a court regarding the establishment of the fact possessing a juridical meaning.”

Paragraph 1 (wording of 13 May 1999) of Article 2 of the Law has been amended and/or supplemented on more than one occasion, inter alia, by the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 2, 10, 12, 15, 17, 20, and 21 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property, which was adopted by the Seimas on 14 October 2003 and came into force on 29 October 2003. It should be noted that, from the impugned aspect, the legal regulation consolidated in Paragraph 1 (in its wordings of 13 May 1999 and 14 October 2003) of Article 2 of the Law is identical, i.e., it does not establish the right to restore the rights of ownership to the existing real property for all the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania—heirs of former owners by operation of law.

According to Item 2 of Paragraph 1 (wording of 13 May 1999 and 14 October 2003) of Article 2 of the Law, the right to restore the rights of ownership was established not only for citizens of the Republic of Lithuania to whom the deceased owner of property bequeathed their property by will, irrespective of the fact that there is no evidence of the fact of the bequeathal of land or other real property, but, upon their death, also their spouses, parents (adoptive parents), children (adopted children) or the spouses and children of such persons.

Item 5 of this paragraph also consolidates the legal regulation to the effect that the right to restore the rights of ownership is granted to the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania to whom the property was transferred pursuant to a will without adhering to the form and manner established by law (domestic will) or pursuant to agreements (sale and purchase agreement, deed of gift or another written document), as well as to the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania to whom the successor has left the property by will. Thus, in establishing such legal regulation, the legislature took into consideration the will of the owners of the property that had been unlawfully nationalised or expropriated in other unlawful ways as regards the fate of the property expropriated unlawfully.

It should be noted that, according to the impugned Paragraph 1 (wording of 13 May 1999 and 14 October 2003) of Article 2 of the Law, in the absence of a will of the bequeather (the owner of the property unlawfully nationalised or expropriated in other unlawful ways) regarding the bequeathal of their property, the right to restore the rights of ownership to the existing real property was granted to their spouse, parents (adoptive parents), children (adopted children) (Item 3), and the spouse, children (adopted children) of a deceased child (adopted child) of the owner of the property (Item 4).

2.3. In summary, it should be noted that, from the very beginning of the process of the restoration of the rights of ownership, the laws regulating these relations have always established the right of the children (adopted children), parents (adoptive parents) and spouse of the deceased owner (i.e. the persons who, according to the norms regulating the relations of inheritance, are normally heirs of the first order of succession by operation of law) to restore the rights of ownership to the existing real property; such a category of subjects as heirs of the deceased owner by operation of law in the definition of the circle of persons entitled to restore the rights of ownership to the existing real property has never been provided for.

  1. It has been mentioned that the petitioner requests an investigation into the compliance of the legal regulation which is consolidated in Paragraph 1 (wordings of 13 May 1999 and 14 October 2003) of Article 2 of the Law and which establishes the subjects to whom the rights of ownership to the existing real property are restored with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 23 of the Constitution in which the principle of ownership protection is consolidated, with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution that guarantees the equality of rights of persons, and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, which, as it has been held by the Constitutional Court on more than one occasion, are binding on the legislature when it establishes the ways, conditions and procedure of the restoration of the rights of ownership (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 22 December 2010 and 30 May 2013).

3.1. The Constitutional Court has noted that the right of ownership, in the sense of Article 23 of the Constitution, is not identical to the right of a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania to restore the rights of ownership to the existing real property according to the procedure established by law (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 22 December 2010, 11 September 2013, and 9 October 2013); until respective state institutions have not adopted a decision on the restoration of the rights of ownership, in reality, the persons to whom the rights of ownership are restored do not enjoy the subjective rights to the property which earlier belonged to them (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 18 June 1998, 4 March 2003, 20 May 2008, 22 December 2010, and 19 June 2012); only after an authorised state institution has adopted a decision to restore the rights of ownership to a person, this person acquires the rights of ownership which are protected and defended under Article 23 of the Constitution (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 4 March 2003, 23 August 2005, 22 December 2010, 19 June 2012, and 10 October 2013).

3.2. The constitutional principle of the equality of rights of persons, which is consolidated in Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution, means, inter alia, that the legislature, when it regulates the legal relations of the restoration of the rights of ownership by law, is not allowed to establish any such legal regulation that would treat the persons entitled to restore their rights of ownership in a different manner if there are not any such differences between these persons so that such a different treatment could be objectively justified (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 20 November 1996).

3.3. As held by the Constitutional Court, when regulating the restoration of the denied rights of ownership, the legislature enjoys the discretion to establish the conditions and procedure for the restoration of the rights of ownership (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 4 March 2003, 22 December 2010, 19 June 2012, 30 May 2013, 11 September 2013, 9 October 2013, and 10 October 2013). This discretion is objectively determined by the fact that, during the period following the unlawful expropriation of property, the system of the relations of ownership has changed in substance (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 2 April 2001, 4 March 2003, and 11 September 2013); when the conditions and procedure of the restoration of the rights of ownership are established by law, it is necessary to take account of the changed social, economic, and other conditions (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 6 September 2007).

3.4. The Constitutional Court has held on more than one occasion that the protection of legitimate expectations, legal certainty and legal security are inseparable elements of the principle of a state under the rule of law; these constitutional principles imply the obligation of the state to ensure the certainty and stability of any legal regulation, to protect the rights of persons, and to respect legitimate interests and legitimate expectations. Under the Constitution, not all expectations arising out of any law or other legal act are protected and defended, but only those expectations that arise out of the Constitution itself or out of the laws and other legal acts that are not in conflict with the Constitution; only such expectations may be deemed to be legitimate and only such expectations are protected and defended under the Constitution (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 4 March 2003).

  1. In this context, it should be mentioned that the European Court of Human Rights has also held on more than one occasion that Article 1 of the First Protocol of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms that consolidates the right to the protection of ownership does not guarantee, as such, the right to the restitution of property; nor can it be interpreted as creating any general obligation for the Contracting States to restore property which had been expropriated before they ratified the Convention, or as imposing any restrictions on their freedom to determine the scope and conditions of any property restitution to former owners (among many judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, also its 21 July 2009 judgment in the case of Aleksa v. Lithuania, application No. 27576/05). The European Court of Human Rights has also noted on more than one occasion that, if the Contracting States use their wide discretion not to grant some categories of former owners the right to restore the rights of ownership, the claims of these persons to restore property may not be substantiated by “legitimate expectations” provided for in Article 1 of the First Protocol (among other acts of this Court, also the 10 July 2002 decision of the Grand Jury as to the admissibility in the case of Gratzinger and Gratzingerova v. The Czech Republic, application No. 39794/98, and the 30 June 2009 decision as to the admissibility in the case of Shub v. Lithuania, application No. 17064/06).
  2. In deciding whether Paragraph 1 (wording of 13 May 1999 and 14 October 2003) of Article 2 of the Law, to the extent that, after the establishment of the right of the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania—heirs of former owners by will—to restore the rights of ownership to the existing real property, such a right has not been granted to the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania—heirs of former owners by operation of law, is (was) not in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, it should be noted that the arguments set forth in the petition of the petitioner make it clear that the petition virtually identifies the right to restore the rights of ownership to the existing real property with the right to inherit property.

5.1. In this context, it needs to be mentioned that the Constitutional Court, while construing the legal regulation related to the restoration of the rights of ownership, has noted that:

– upon the adoption of the principled decision by the Supreme Council-Reconstituent Seimas on 15 November 1990 that it was necessary to restore the rights of ownership, it stated, inter alia, that citizens of Lithuania have the right to recover, in kind, within the limits and procedure defined by law, the property that belonged to them, whilst in the absence of the possibility of recovering it, to receive compensation (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 4 March 2003 and 22 December 2010);

– the State of Lithuania, seeking to restore the violated rights of ownership, has opted for limited restitution rather than restitutio in integrum (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 6 September 2007, 22 December 2010, 11 October 2012 and 11 September 2013); such a choice was determined by the big scale of the restoration of the rights of ownership and the limited material and financial capacities of the state; during the years of the occupation, other property as well as other social and economic relations of people emerged and other objective circumstances appeared, due to which it was impossible to completely restore the rights of ownership (to go back to status quo ante) (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 4 March 2003, 5 July 2007, 22 December 2010, 19 June 2012, and 9 October 2013);

– The Law “On the Procedure and Conditions of the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property” (with subsequent amendments and supplements), on the basis of which the restoration of the rights of ownership began, was applied not to all property relations, but only to those which emerged because of the restoration of the rights of ownership to the existing real property; it was applied not to all former owners and successors of their rights, but only to those that met the conditions established in that law; the rights of ownership had to be restored not according to the general norms of civil law, but only according to the procedure established in that law (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 5 July 2007 and 22 December 2010); according to that law, the rights of ownership had to be restored not to all former owners and not to all property formerly owned by them (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 27 May 1994); upon the death of a former owner, the right of ownership to the existing real property had to be restored not under the general legal norms of inheritance, but only under a special procedure; the legislature did not see any possibilities of the application of full restitution, i.e. the general restitution of the violated rights of ownership (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 20 June 1995).

5.2. The petitioner has substantiated the doubts about the compliance of the impugned legal regulation with, inter alia, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution by the fact that, after the impugned legal regulation had not established the right of a part of heirs to restore the rights of ownership to the existing real property, the rights of ownership of other heirs were unreasonably denied and their right of inheritance was limited; according to the petitioner, there are not any such differences between heirs by operation of law and heirs by will that would make it possible to deem these persons to belong to different categories of persons, therefore, in this aspect, a different treatment of these persons is unjustifiable.

5.2.1. As mentioned before, the right of ownership, in the sense of Article 23 of the Constitution, is not identical to the right of a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania to restore the rights of ownership to the existing real property according to the procedure established by law; only the persons to whom the rights of ownership have been restored acquire the rights of ownership protected and defended under Article 23 of the Constitution.

Consequently, under the Constitution, the right to inherit property is also not identical to the right of a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania to restore the rights of ownership to the existing real property according to the procedure established by law; the persons who have the right to inherit the property of a deceased former owner must not be identified with persons entitled to restore the rights of ownership to the existing real property within the procedure established by law.

5.2.2. It should be noted that, in view of the specificity of the relations of the restoration of the rights of ownership, the legislature’s discretion to establish the conditions and procedure of the restoration of the rights of ownership includes its discretion to define, inter alia, the circle of the subjects to whom the rights of ownership are restored, i.e., to define the persons who have the right to restore the rights of ownership. In implementing such discretion, the legislature may establish that the rights of ownership to the existing real property are restored not according to the legal norms governing the inheritance relations, but only under a special procedure established by law, and not to all former owners and not all heirs of former owners, but only to those who meet the conditions established in the law.

5.2.3. Thus, it should be held that the impugned legal regulation by which, in implementing the legislature’s discretion to define the circle of subjects to whom the rights of ownership are restored, the right to restore the rights of ownership to the existing real property is not granted to all heirs of former owners, is constitutionally justifiable. Such legal regulation has violated neither the principles of the inviolability of property and the protection of the rights of ownership as consolidated in Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 23 of the Constitution, nor the principle of the equality of persons as consolidated in Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution.

5.3. The petitioner has also faced doubts about the compliance of the impugned legal regulation with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law. Such doubts have been substantiated by the fact that the disproportionate limitation on the rights of heirs by operation by law in the process of the restoration of the rights of ownership to the existing real property does not ensure legal certainty and the protection of legitimate expectations, and does not protect their rights acquired in the inheritance of property.

It has been mentioned that the State of Lithuania, seeking to restore the violated rights of ownership, has opted for limited restitution rather than restitutio in integrum, that the legislature’s discretion to establish the conditions and procedure of the restoration of the rights of ownership includes the legislature’s discretion to define the circle of subjects to whom the rights of ownership are restored, and that the laws on restitution, while defining the circle of the persons entitled to restore the rights of ownership to the existing real property, have never provided for any such category of subjects as heirs of a deceased owner by operation of law, whilst the right to restore the rights of ownership has been provided for the children (or adopted children), parents (or adoptive parents), or spouse of a deceased former owner since the very beginning of the process of restitution. Consequently, there were no legal grounds for other heirs of former owners by operation of law to expect that an opportunity would be consolidated for them to restore the rights of ownership to the existing real property, i.e. they could not acquire any particular legitimate expectations. Thus, it should be held that the impugned legal regulation did not violate the imperatives of legal certainty and the protection of legitimate expectations arising out of the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

5.4. In the light of the foregoing arguments, the conclusion should be drawn that Paragraph 1 (wording of 13 May 1999 and 14 October 2003) of Article 2 of the Law, to the extent that, after the establishment of the right of the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania—heirs of former owners by will—to restore the rights of ownership to the existing real property, such a right has not been granted to the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania—heirs of former owners by operation of law, is (was) not in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 23 and Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

Conforming to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Articles 1, 53, 531, 54, 55, and 56 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania gives the following

ruling:

To recognise that Item 1 (wording of 13 May 1999, Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1999, No. 48-1522; wording of 14 October 2003, Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2003, No. 101-4542) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property, to the extent that, after the establishment of the right of the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania—heirs of former owners by will—to restore the rights of ownership to the existing real property, such a right has not been granted to the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania—heirs of former owners by operation of law, is (was) not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

 

 

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

Justices of the Constitutional Court:                         Elvyra Baltutytė

                                                                                             Vytautas Greičius

                                                                                             Danutė Jočienė

                                                                                             Vytas Milius

                                                                                             Egidijus Šileikis

                                                                                             Algirdas Taminskas

                                                                                             Dainius Žalimas