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On the restoration of ownership rights to the urban land necessary for the exploitation of the structures owned by other persons

Case No. 7/2012

 THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

IN THE NAME OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 RULING

ON THE COMPLIANCE OF THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 2 (WORDING OF 16 NOVEMBER 2006) OF ARTICLE 5 AND PARAGRAPH 1 (WORDING OF 16 NOVEMBER 2006) OF ARTICLE 12 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

 30 October 2014, No. KT46-N14/2014

Vilnius

 

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

The court reporter—Daiva Pitrėnaitė

Saulius Pečeliūnas, a former member of the Seimas, acting as the representative of a group of members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the petitioner

Gintarė Dešukaitė, an adviser at the Office of the Committee on Rural Affairs of the Office of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, acting as the representative of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the party concerned

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, pursuant to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Article 1 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, at the Court’s public hearing, on 21 October 2014, heard constitutional justice case No. 7/2012 subsequent to the petition (No. 1B-12/2012) of a group of members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether Item 1 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Paragraph 2 of Article 5 and Item 3 (wording of 2 April 2002) of Paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property, insofar as, according to the petitioner, they establish that, in the absence of any concrete need of society, urban land used or leased by natural and legal persons where necessary for the purpose of the exploitation of the buildings and structures (either under construction or built) owned by these persons by right of ownership, including buildings and structures (either under construction or built) on recreational sites, is purchased by the state rather than restituted in kind, are not in conflict with Articles 23 and 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 group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner, is substantiated by the following arguments.

Under the legal regulation laid down in Paragraph 2 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Article 5 and Item 3 (wording of 2 April 2002) of Paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property (hereinafter referred to as the Law), urban land is not restituted in kind to former owners where it is used or leased by other natural and legal persons for the purpose of the exploitation of the buildings and structures (either under construction or built) owned by these persons by right of ownership, including buildings and structures (either under construction or built) on recreational sites, although, under Paragraph 11 (wording of 10 December 2009) of Article 4 and Article 12 (wording of 19 June 2010) of the Law, the same land is restituted in kind where it is in a rural area.

The Constitutional Court has held in its acts on more than one occasion that the fact that the state has resolved that the denied rights of ownership must be restored, also the fact that the law regulating the relations of restitution has been adopted and the restoration of the rights of ownership has started to be implemented, means that the state has created a legitimate expectation for persons who have the right to have their rights of ownership restored that they will be able to implement the said right by the means, under the conditions and procedure, and within the time limits provided for by law. In regulating the said relations, the legislature is bound by the constitutional principles of the inviolability of property and the protection of the rights of ownership, as well as the principle of justice, which may not be implemented through the satisfaction of the interests of exclusively one group or one person, or the satisfaction of exclusively the interests of the majority or a minority, and the simultaneous denial of the interests of others. In the acts of the Constitutional Court, it has also been held on more than one occasion that the legislature, having established the procedure and conditions for the restoration of the rights of ownership, emphasized that priority is given to the restitution of land in kind to former owners; the restitution of the existing real property in kind may be refused where the existing real property is necessary for the needs of society, or where land may not be restituted due to the established actual relations of land use.

In substance, the same land, i.e. land used or leased by natural and legal persons where necessary for the purpose of the exploitation of the buildings and structures (either under construction or built) owned by these persons by right of ownership, including buildings and structures (either under construction or built) on recreational sites (which may be restituted in kind where it is in a rural area), solely due to the fact that it is not in a rural but urban area, can neither become necessary for the needs of society nor become such that may not be restituted in kind due to the established actual relations of land use; thus, it cannot become unrecoverable in kind. The fact that land is in a rural or urban area cannot be the essential circumstance determining the aforementioned differentiated legal regulation.

The petitioner doubts as to whether the impugned legal regulation has, to a fair, maximum, and proportionate extent, reconciled the rights and interests of the persons whose rights of ownership are to be restored to urban land and those of the persons who are actually using or leasing this land where necessary for the purpose of the exploitation of the buildings and structures (either under construction or built) owned by these persons by right of ownership, including buildings and structures (either under construction or built) on recreational sites, also whether the legal regulation in question has not given an unfounded priority to land users and lessees, while, at the same time, denying, in an unproportioned manner, the interests of the persons whose rights of ownership to the same land are to be restored, as well as their legitimate expectation, defended under the Constitution, to have their rights of ownership restored to urban land in kind, and limiting, in an unfounded manner, the right of these persons to property. The impugned legal regulation has created preconditions for an unfounded different treatment of the persons who seek to have their rights of ownership restored to land in a rural area and the persons who seek to have their rights of ownership restored to the same land in an urban area.

Therefore, the petitioner has doubts as to whether the legal regulation in question does not deny the constitutional principles of the inviolability of property and the protection of the rights of ownership, the equality of rights of persons, and a state under the rule of law.

II

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court’s hearing, written explanations were received from Edmundas Pupinis, the then Chair of the Committee on Rural Affairs of the Seimas, acting as the representative of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the party concerned, where it is maintained that the legal regulation consolidated in Item 1 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Paragraph 2 of Article 5 and Item 3 (wording of 2 April 2002) of Paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the Law does not deny the rights and legitimate expectations of persons to have their rights of ownership restored to urban land in kind, as well as that this legal regulation does not violate the constitutional principles of the inviolability of property, the protection of the rights of ownership, the equality of rights of persons, and a state under the rule of law; therefore, the norms in question are not in conflict with Articles 23 and 29 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law. The position of the aforementioned representative of the party concerned is substantiated by the following arguments.

Article 5 of the Law lays down the conditions and general procedure for the restoration of the rights of ownership to urban land, whereas Article 12 specifies the exceptional cases where, due to objective reasons, land is not restituted to citizens, but is purchased by the state and compensated for by other means provided for by law. The legal regulation impugned by the petitioner was established in order to implement the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 2 April 2001, where the previously valid legal regulation had been ruled to be in conflict with the Constitution.

Since the very beginning of the implementation of restitution, the Law and the legal acts implementing this law have treated the conditions and procedure for this process in rural and urban areas as completely different. Since 1991, the processes of the restoration of the rights of ownership to the existing real property have been regulated by the legislature by means of separate provisions. Article 4 of the Law has laid down the conditions and procedure for the restoration of the rights of ownership to rural land, whereas Article 5—to urban land. When establishing, in Article 12, the exceptional cases where land is categorised as land to be purchased by the state, the Law separately sets out the cases where land is to be purchased by the state in a rural area (Item 2 of Paragraph 1) and where—in an urban area (Item 3 of Paragraph 1); the cases where land is categorised as land to be purchased by the state completely differ in rural and urban areas. It should be emphasised that such a different legal regulation was determined by objective circumstances, both those that had existed before the nationalisation of private property and those that developed after the restoration of independence of the Republic of Lithuania. Therefore, the persons who seek to have their rights of ownership restored to rural land and the persons who seek to have their rights of ownership restored to urban land fall under completely different categories; such different treatment of the said groups of persons should not be regarded as a violation of the constitutional principle of the equality of rights of persons. It should also be noted that the necessity to guarantee the constitutional protection of the rights of ownership and the constitutional imperative of an open, just, and harmonious civil society imply the duty of the state, when establishing, by means of laws, the conditions and procedure for the restoration of the rights of ownership, to take account of the changed social, economic, and legal situation, as well as of other actual facts, and to ensure that, in the course of restoring the rights of ownership of some persons—owners, the rights and legitimate interests of other persons are not violated.

The legislature, while paying heed to the Constitution, has opted for limited restitution as the means of the restoration of the rights of ownership to the existing real property. The constitutional guarantee of the protection of the rights of ownership is a status quo guarantee, since it, first of all, protects the rights of ownership that are held by the person. Invoking the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 27 May 1994 and 18 June 1998, the representative of the party concerned maintains that, until the property concerned is not restituted, or respective compensation is not paid to former owners, their subjective rights to concrete property are not restored; a decision of an institution authorised by the state to restitute property in kind or to compensate for it has the juridical meaning to the effect that only from that moment the former owner acquires the rights of the owner to the property concerned; until the authorised state institutions have not adopted a decision on the restoration of the rights of ownership, in reality, the persons whose rights of ownership are to be restored do not have any subjective rights of ownership to the formerly held property.

It should be noted that, when establishing, by law, the conditions and procedure for the restoration of the rights of ownership to the existing real property, the legislature is obliged not only to take account of the constitutional principles in relation to property protection, but it is also bound by the duty to protect other values consolidated in the Constitution, inter alia, the striving for an open, just, and harmonious civil society. It should be emphasised that, where there is no possibility of restituting the existing real property in kind, fair compensation ensures the restoration of the rights of ownership to an equal extent (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 27 May 1994, 22 December 1995, and 18 June 1998).

The principle of the protection of legitimate expectations implies the duty of the state, as well as of the institutions implementing state power and other state institutions, to observe the obligations assumed by the state. The said principle also means the protection of acquired rights, i.e. the persons have the right to reasonably expect that they will retain their rights, acquired under valid laws or other legal acts that are not in conflict with the Constitution, for the established period of time and will be able to implement these rights in reality. By means of the legal regulation impugned by the petitioner, the legislature has ensured the continuity of jurisprudence; the impugned legal regulation has not worsened the legal situation of the persons seeking to restore their rights of ownership to the existing real property in urban areas and has not denied their rights, legitimate interests, or legitimate expectations.

III

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court’s hearing, a written opinion was received from Vaidas Pakalka, the Deputy Director performing the functions of the Director of the National Land Service under the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Lithuania. In the opinion, among other things, it was noted that the plots of land adjacent to the existing buildings and structures, depending on whether they are formed in a rural or urban area, have certain significant differences, which may be reflected by certain qualitative and quantitative indicators, as, for instance: as a rule, on urban plots of land, there are some structures, or there is, at least, one (e.g., a multi-storey polyfunctional) structure that belongs to a large number of different owners; in an urban area, the purpose of the buildings located on one plot of land is, as a rule, varied and is more often than not subject to change (the residential purpose may be changed into the economic-commercial one and vice versa); in urban areas, the building density of territories is much higher, the built-up plots of land adjoin one another, the plots of land are connected by common communications and engineering networks; the exploitation of structures located in urban areas is not related to the use of land of a large area, since the plots of land are, as a rule, formed for the purpose of the exploitation of structures only by taking account of the parameters of the exploitation of structures according to their purpose.

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court’s hearing, a written opinion was also received from Kęstutis Trečiokas, the Minister of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania, as well as written explanations from Daiva Matonienė, a Vice-Minister of Environment.

IV

  1. At the Constitutional Court’s hearing, Saulius Pečeliūnas, a former member of the Seimas, acting as the representative of the group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner, virtually reiterated the arguments set forth in the petition and answered the questions.
  2. At the Constitutional Court’s hearing, Gintarė Dešukaitė, an adviser at the Office of the Committee on Rural Affairs of the Office of the Seimas, acting as the representative of the Seimas, the party concerned, virtually reiterated the arguments set forth in the written explanations of Edmundas Pupinis, a former Chair of the Committee on Rural Affairs of the Seimas, and answered the questions.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

  1. As mentioned before, in the constitutional justice case at issue, the group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requests an investigation into the compliance of Item 1 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Paragraph 2 of Article 5 and Item 3 (wording of 2 April 2002) of Paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the Law, insofar as, according to the petitioner, they establish that, in the absence of any concrete need of society, urban land used or leased by natural and legal persons where necessary for the purpose of the exploitation of the buildings and structures (either under construction or built) owned by these persons by right of ownership, including buildings and structures (either under construction or built) on recreational sites, is purchased by the state rather than restituted in kind, with Articles 23 and 29 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  2. 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 (with a certain exception) on 9 July 1997.

The legal regulation impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue is consolidated in Article 5 of the Law, which regulates the conditions and procedure for the restoration of the rights of ownership to urban land, as well as in Article 12, which, inter alia, provides for the cases where land is purchased by the state.

  1. Paragraph 2 of Article 5 and Article 12 of the Law (wording of 1 July 1997) have been amended and/or supplemented on more than one occasion, inter alia, by the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Amending and Supplementing Articles 5, 12, 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 2 April 2002, as well as by the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Amending and Supplementing Articles 4, 5, 12, and 13 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property, which was adopted on 16 November 2006.
  2. Paragraph 2 (wording of 2 April 2002) of Article 5 of the Law prescribed:

“2. The rights of ownership to the land situated prior to 1 June 1995 in the territories categorised, in the prescribed manner, as urban land shall be restored according to the following procedure:

1) by restituting in kind vacant (non-built-up) land in a former locality to a citizen or citizens by right of common ownership, also by restituting a plot of land of the boundaries set in the territorial planning documents to a citizen using that plot of land and holding buildings there by right of ownership, with the exception of land categorised, under Article 12 of this Law, as land to be purchased by the state and land that a citizen does not wish to have restituted in a former locality. The area of the vacant (non-built-up) land to be restituted in kind shall be reduced to the size of a plot of land of 1 hectare where the said area has, according to the respective projects, been subdivided into the plots of land to be transferred for no consideration to citizens for the purpose of individual construction (construction of private houses) under Item 3 of Paragraph 2 of this Article and where such plots of land cannot be planned in any other urban territories concerned due to the lack of vacant (non-built-up) land in these urban territories. The plans of vacant (non-built-up) plots of land that are intended to be restituted in kind in a former locality shall be approved by the municipal councils in the manner prescribed by the Government; <...>”

Item 3 (wording of 2 April 2002) of Article 12 of the Law, whose compliance with the Constitution, to the extent indicated by the petitioner, is impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue, prescribed:

“Land shall be purchased by the state from the citizens referred to in Article 2 of this Law, and it shall be compensated for according to Article 16 of this Law, where: <...>

3) it, prior to 1 June 1995, was situated in the territories categorised, in the prescribed manner, as urban land and, according to the detailed plans approved under the procedure established by law, is occupied by: the plots of land necessary for the exploitation of buildings, structures, or facilities (either under construction or built); territories with networks of other (either in use or new) infrastructural objects of various fields of activities (energy, transport, communications, construction, education, healthcare, recreation and tourism, the protection of valuable objects of nature and culture, as well as waste management, national security, civil safety, fire safety), which render services to the economy and population, ensure the security of the state and its residents, and secure the protection of objects of nature and culture; the plots of land intended to be used for ports and their facilities, for building national railways, main pipelines, or high-tension power lines, for important construction of national significance, for common needs of the population, or for public construction and recreation; for establishing stations of state geodesic, gravimetric, and astronomical networks; for purposes in connection with the protection of complexes and objects of nature, archaeology, and history; for the exploitation and common (public) use of municipal economy, social, educational, health resort treatment, recreation, rehabilitation, and leisure facilities, which are necessary for the fulfilment of municipal functions and the importance of which for the local community is recognised by the respective municipal council by its decision; for the implementation of economic projects significant for the state, the national importance of which is recognised by the Seimas or the Government by their decisions; the plots of land intended to be transferred for no consideration into the ownership of persons for the purpose of individual construction (construction of private houses) under Paragraph 2 of Article 5 of this Law, where such plots of land have already been planned under the respective projects on the land to be restituted to a citizen”.

The explanatory note to the Draft Law Amending and Supplementing Articles 5, 12, and 21 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property makes it clear that Item 1 (wording of 2 April 2002) of Paragraph 2 of Article 5 of the Law, among other things, was aimed at establishing that the rights of ownership to urban land were to be restored by restituting in kind vacant (non-built-up) land in a former locality to a citizen or citizens by right of common ownership, as well as by restituting a plot of land of the boundaries set in the territorial planning documents to a citizen using that plot of land and holding buildings there by right of ownership, with the exception of land categorised, under Article 12 of that law, as land to be purchased by the state. As it is clear from the aforementioned explanatory note to the Draft Law, Item 3 (wording of 2 April 2002) of Article 12 of the Law was aimed at specifying concrete public needs where the state was to purchase the land that had been situated prior to the specified date in the territories categorised, in the prescribed manner, as urban land; these needs, among other things, included the land occupied, in accordance with the relevant laws, by the plots of land necessary for the exploitation of certain buildings, structures, or facilities (either under construction or built).

The explanatory note to the Draft Law Amending and Supplementing Articles 5, 12, and 21 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property also makes it clear that it was prepared in order to implement the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 2 April 2001, where the Constitutional Court, inter alia, ruled that Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 May 1999) of Article 5 of the Law, insofar as it established that vacant (non-built-up) land was not restituted in kind where the citizen did not hold a residential house or another building adjoining the land formerly held by right of ownership, even though there was not any particular need of society for that vacant (non-built-up) land, as well as Item 3 (wording of 1 July 1997) of Article 12 of the Law, insofar as it established that, after a plot of land in use by a citizen and located on the land formerly held by that citizen by right of ownership, provided it adjoined the residential house or another building of the citizen, was transferred for no consideration into the ownership of the citizen, the remaining portion of the land was to be purchased by the state, even though there was not any particular need of society for that vacant (non-built-up) land, was in conflict with Paragraph 3 of Article 23 of the Constitution. In the aforementioned Constitutional Court’s ruling, it was held that “Paragraph 2 of Article 5 and Item 3 of Article 12 of the Law are worded in such a manner that in cases where a citizen does not possess a residential house or another building adjoining the land plot formerly held by him by right of ownership, this vacant (non-built-up) land is not returned to him, but is purchased. Where a citizen possesses a residential house or another building adjoining the land plot formerly held by him by right of ownership, he is returned the plot of land of the size established by the Law, while the portion of the land plot exceeding the size established by the Law is also purchased. In both cases the vacant (non-built-up) land is purchased regardless of the fact whether there is a need of society for this land or there is not such a need. Such legal regulation may not be regarded as constitutionally grounded as the returning or non-returning of the land in kind must be determined not by the presence or absence of respective buildings but by a real and reasonable need of society for the particular land.”

In this context, it should be noted that the aforementioned statements in the indicated Constitutional Court’s ruling were formulated while deciding on the constitutionality of the provisions of the Law that regulated the restoration of the rights of ownership of a person to vacant (non-built-up) urban land. Thus, in its ruling of 2 April 2001, the Constitutional Court did not consider the question of the restoration of the rights of ownership to built-up urban land, i.e. land occupied by the plots of land necessary for the exploitation of buildings and structures.

It should be mentioned that, in its ruling of 2 April 2001, the Constitutional Court also recognised that Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 May 1999) of Article 5 and Item 3 (wording of 1 July 1997) of Article 12 of the Law were not in conflict with Article 29 of the Constitution. The Constitutional Court held that the conditions for the restoration of the rights of ownership to land established in Paragraphs 2, 3, 4, and 5 of Article 5 and in Item 3 of Article 12 of the Law differed on the basis of the features of the objects of the rights of ownership rather than the features of the subjects of the rights of ownership; therefore, the said regulation did not violate the constitutional principle of the equality of persons.

  1. Item 1 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Paragraph 2 of Article 5 of the Law, whose compliance with the Constitution, to the extent indicated by the petitioner, is impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue, prescribes:

“1) by restituting in kind vacant (non-built-up) land in a former locality to a citizen or citizens by right of common ownership, also by restituting a plot of land of the boundaries set in the territorial planning documents to a citizen using that plot of land and holding buildings there by right of ownership, with the exception of land categorised, under Article 12 of this Law, as land to be purchased by the state and land that a citizen does not wish to have restituted in a former locality. The area of the vacant (non-built-up) land to be restituted in kind shall be reduced to the size of a plot of land of 1 hectare where the said area has, according to the respective projects, been subdivided into the plots of land to be transferred for no consideration to citizens for the purpose of individual construction (construction of private houses) under Item 3 of Paragraph 2 of this Article and where such plots of land cannot be planned in any other urban territories concerned due to the lack of vacant (non-built-up) land in these urban territories. The subdivision of vacant (non-built-up) areas of land to form the plots of land to be restituted in kind in a former locality, as well as the preparation of the plans of these plots of land, shall be organised under the procedure and conditions prescribed by the Government, and the said plans shall be approved by the director of the respective municipal administration. The rights of ownership of the citizens with regard to whom the missed time limits referred to in Paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 10 of this Law have been renewed by the court decision shall be restored by restituting in kind the land in the territories where the strip field system was preserved, provided these citizens have submitted the applications for the restoration of the rights of ownership, as well as the documents confirming the rights of ownership and the relation by blood to the owner, prior to the adoption of the decision by the director of the respective municipal administration on the approval of the plans of the plots of land to be restituted in kind”.

  1. It has been mentioned that, in the constitutional justice case at issue, the petitioner requests an investigation into whether Item 1 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Paragraph 2 of Article 5 and Item 3 (wording of 2 April 2002) of Paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the Law, insofar as, according to the petitioner, they establish that, in the absence of any concrete need of society, urban land used or leased by natural and legal persons where necessary for the purpose of the exploitation of the buildings and structures (either under construction or built) owned by these persons by right of ownership, including buildings and structures (either under construction or built) on recreational sites, is purchased by the state rather than restituted in kind, are not in conflict with Articles 23 and 29 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

It should be noted that, although the petitioner requests an investigation, to the indicated extent, into the compliance of Item 3 (wording of 2 April 2002) of Paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the Law with the Constitution, until the adoption of the 16 November 2006 Law Amending and Supplementing Articles 4, 5, 12, and 13 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property, by means of which Article 12 (wording of 1 July 1997 with the subsequent amendments and/or supplements) of the Law was amended and supplemented, inter alia, by supplementing it with Paragraph 2, this article contained not paragraphs but only items. Consequently, the petitioner requests an investigation into the constitutionality of Item 3 of Paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the Law not as it was set forth in its wording of 2 April 2002, but as it is set forth in its wording of 16 November 2006. At the same time, it should be mentioned that, by the aforesaid law of 16 November 2006, Item 3 (wording of 2 April 2002) of Article 12 of the Law was not amended. Thus, it contained the legal regulation identical to that subsequently established in Item 3 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the Law.

The scope of the impugned legal regulation to the extent indicated by the petitioner and the arguments in the petition make it clear that the petitioner impugns the compliance of the provision “[t]he rights of ownership to the land situated prior to 1 June 1995 in the territories categorised, in the prescribed manner, as urban land shall be restored according to the following procedure: by restituting in kind vacant (non-built-up) land <...>, with the exception of land categorised, under Article 12 of this Law, as land to be purchased by the state” of Paragraph 2 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Article 5 and the provision “[l]and shall be purchased by the state <...> where: <...> it, prior to 1 June 1995, was situated in the territories categorised, in the prescribed manner, as urban land and, according to the detailed plans approved under the procedure established by law, is occupied by: the plots of land necessary for the exploitation of buildings, structures, <...> (either under construction or built) <...>” of Paragraph 1 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Article 12 of the Law with the aforementioned provisions of the Constitution.

  1. Thus, in the constitutional justice case at issue, the Constitutional Court will investigate whether the provision “[t]he rights of ownership to the land situated prior to 1 June 1995 in the territories categorised, in the prescribed manner, as urban land shall be restored according to the following procedure: by restituting in kind vacant (non-built-up) land <...>, with the exception of land categorised, under Article 12 of this Law, as land to be purchased by the state” of Paragraph 2 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Article 5 and the provision “[l]and shall be purchased by the state <...> where: <...> it, prior to 1 June 1995, was situated in the territories categorised, in the prescribed manner, as urban land and, according to the detailed plans approved under the procedure established by law, is occupied by: the plots of land necessary for the exploitation of buildings, structures, <...> (either under construction or built) <...>” of Paragraph 1 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Article 12 of the Law are not in conflict with Articles 23 and 29 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  2. It should be noted that, the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Amending Article 5 and 12 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 27 June 2013 and came into force (with a certain exception) on 1 January 2014, amended Paragraph 2 (wording of 2 April 2002 with the subsequent amendments) of Article 5 of the Law, however, the legal regulation established in Item 1 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Paragraph 2 of Article 5 of the Law, to the extent impugned by the petitioner, remained unchanged; whereas Item 3 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the Law was not amended or supplemented.
  3. The provision “according to the detailed plans approved under the procedure established by law, is occupied by: the plots of land necessary for the exploitation of buildings, structures, <...> (either under construction or built)” of Item 3 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the Law should be construed in view of the provisions of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Territorial Planning.

9.1. The aforementioned provision of Item 3 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the Law is related to the following provisions of the Law on Territorial Planning (wording of 12 December 1995 with the subsequent amendments and supplements, which was in force until 1 January 2014):

– “A detailed plan is a territorial planning document, which sets the boundaries of the plots of land and the regime for the management and use of a territory (compulsory conditions for construction and other activity)” (Paragraph 3 (wording of 8 June 2006) of Article 2);

– “Detailed territorial planning is the planning of parts of a municipal territory in order to set the boundaries of a plot of land and to establish, amend, or cancel the conditions for using it and developing activity on it” (Paragraph 4 (wording of 8 June 2006) of Article 2);

– “Detailed territorial planning has the following tasks: 1) by specifying in detail the requirements set concerning the management and use of the territories in the general and special territorial planning documents, to determine the qualitative and quantitative parameters guiding the use and building development of a territory being planned; 2) to form the plots of land for the construction of structures while creating conditions for the development of investment and economic activity; 3) to set or change the regime for the management and use of a territory in order that projects for the construction of structures could be prepared and the plots of land could be used; 4) to form the strips of land for the construction of communication corridors and communications and for the development of the engineering and urban infrastructure; 5) to set or change the principles guiding building development, the arrangement of spaces and the social infrastructure, as well as the types of the use of territories” (Paragraph 3 of Article 19 (wording of 22 December 2009);

– “Detailed territorial planning documents shall comprise the following: 1) detailed plans for parts of urban territories, groups of plots of land, and plots of land” (Item 1 of Paragraph 1 of Article 21 (wording of 22 December 2009);

– “The plans of plots of land prepared in urban territories in the manner prescribed by the Government and approved by the director of the respective municipal administration shall be equated to detailed territorial planning documents: 1) the plans of the plots of land formed for the purpose of the exploitation of the existing structures according to their direct purpose specified in the Real Property Cadastre” (Item 1 of Paragraph 3 of Article 21 (wording of 22 December 2009)).

While summarising the aforementioned legal regulation, as laid down in the Law on Territorial Planning (wording of 12 December 1995 with the subsequent amendments and supplements, which was in force until 1 January 2014), it should be held that the implementation of the tasks established for detailed territorial planning (among them, the tasks to form the plots of land for the construction of structures, to set or change the regime for the management and use of a territory in order that projects for the construction of structures could be prepared and the plots of land could be used) entailed the preparation of detailed plans for parts of urban territories, groups of plots of land, and plots of land, which had to set the boundaries of the plots of land and the regime for the management and use of a territory. The plans of the plots of land formed in urban territories for the purpose of the exploitation of the existing structures according to their direct purpose specified in the Real Property Cadastre were equated to detailed territorial planning documents.

9.2. On 27 June 2013, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Amending the Law on Territorial Planning (which came into force with a certain exception on 1 January 2014), by Article 1 whereof, the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Territorial Planning was amended and set forth in a new wording (wording of 12 December 1995 with the subsequent amendments and supplements).

The aforementioned provision of Item 3 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the Law is related to the following provisions of the Law on Territorial Planning (wording of 27 June 2013):

– “A detailed plan shall mean a locality-level integrated territorial planning document, which is prepared for an urbanised territory or a territory to be urbanised and sets the regulations concerning the use of that territory” (Paragraph 2 of Article 2);

– “The regulations concerning the use of a territory shall mean the aggregate of the provisions on the use and protection of the territory and the requirements for and limitations on the development of activity on the territory, as set in the solutions of the respective locality-level integrated territorial planning documents” (Paragraph 22 of Article 2);

– “Territories to be urbanised shall mean territories intended according to municipality-level and locality-level general plans to be compactly occupied by buildings and to include engineering communication corridors and non-built-up planted vegetation areas, public spaces, and state-owned urban forests suitable for common use” (Paragraph 36 of Article 2);

– “Urbanised territories shall mean territories occupied by buildings in cities and towns, as well as compactly built-up territories in villages, with engineering communication corridors and non-built-up planted vegetation areas, public spaces, and state-owned urban forests suitable for common use” (Paragraph 37 of Article 2);

– “Detailed plans shall have the following tasks: 1) to specify in detail the compulsory requirements set concerning the use of the territories in the respective municipality-level general plan or locality-level general plan, where the latter is available; 2) to set the regulations concerning the use of the built-up territories and territories intended to be developed into built-up ones; 3) to plan an optimal network of engineering communication corridors on a territory being planned; 4) to provide for territories for the social infrastructure; 5) to specify special conditions for the use of the land concerned; 6) to provide for measures for preserving and using natural and immovable cultural heritage; 7) to provide for territories for the development of planted vegetation areas, as well as for measures for their restoration and the protection and use of the existing ones; 8) to form an optimal urbanistic framework” (Paragraph 6 of Article 17);

– “By specifying, in detail and in accordance with the Rules on the Preparation of Integrated Territorial Planning Documents, the respective municipality-level general plan and/or locality-level general plan, where the latter is available, detailed plans shall set the regulations concerning the use of a territory, which shall be binding on natural persons and legal persons or other organisations: 1) the type of the use of the territory, which must be in conformity with the locality-level general plan, where the latter is available, or the concrete main purpose and concrete ways of using the land; 2) the permissible height of buildings; 3) the permissible building density on the plots of land; 4) the permissible building development intensity or building volume density (in territories with industrial and warehousing objects and/or the engineering infrastructure) on the plots of land; 5) the possible types of building development, which must be in conformity with the locality-level general plan, where it is available, also the zone, boundary, and line of the construction of structures; 6) the boundaries of the territories and/or engineering communication corridors necessary for the engineering and social infrastructure; 7) the possible boundaries of the plots of land and/or the principles guiding the formation and restructuring of the plots of land (the smallest and/or largest possible sizes of the plots of land); 8) the percentages for separate planted vegetation areas and for parts of dependant territories of planted vegetation and plantings” (Paragraph 1 of Article 18);

– “In order to implement the solutions of detailed plans: 1) in the cases where detailed plans specify only the principles guiding the formation and/or restructuring of the plots of land, the projects of landholdings shall be prepared, and these projects shall, in accordance with the regulations set concerning the use of the territory in the detailed plan, provide for the formation of new plots of land or the restructuring of the boundaries of the existing plots of land on the basis of the principles specified in the detailed plan and shall set or change the main purpose and ways of using the land. <...>” (Paragraph 2 of Article 19);

– “The projects of landholdings approved by the director of the respective municipal administration in the territories of cities and towns: <...> 2) shall provide for the formation of the plots of land for the purpose of the exploitation of the existing structures according to their direct purpose specified in the Real Property Cadastre <...>” (Paragraph 6 of Article 20).

While summarising the aforementioned legal regulation, as laid down in the Law on Territorial Planning (wording of 27 June 2013), it should be held that:

– in order to implement the tasks established for detailed plans (inter alia, to set the regulations concerning the use of built-up territories and territories intended to be developed into built-up ones, to form an optimal urbanistic framework), the compulsory regulations concerning the use of a territory must, among other things, provide for the type of the use of the territory, which must be in conformity with the locality-level general plan, where it is available, or for the concrete main purpose and concrete ways of using the land, the permissible height of buildings, the permissible building density on the plots of land, the permissible building development intensity or building volume density (in territories with industrial and warehousing objects and/or the engineering infrastructure), the possible boundaries of the plots of land, and/or the principles guiding the formation and restructuring of the plots of land (the smallest and/or largest possible sizes of the plots of land);

– in the cases where detailed plans specify only the principles guiding the formation and/or restructuring of the plots of land, the projects of landholdings are prepared, and these projects provide for the formation of new plots of land or the restructuring of the boundaries of the existing plots of land in accordance with the regulations set concerning the use of the territory in the respective detailed plan;

– the projects of landholdings approved in urban territories realise the solutions of the respective integrated territorial planning documents and provide for the formation of the plots of land for the purpose of the exploitation of the existing structures according to their direct purpose specified in the Real Property Cadastre.

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it should be noted that, under Paragraph 1 of Article 3 of the aforementioned Law Amending the Law on Territorial Planning, the territorial planning documents the preparation of which had begun before the entry into force of this law, and in relation to the preparation of which applications to issue planning conditions had been submitted, may continue to be finally prepared, coordinated, reviewed, and approved in accordance with the territorial planning regulation valid before the entry into force of the said law; and, according to Paragraph 2, the plans of plots of land (equated to detailed territorial planning documents) that had been prepared and approved before the entry into force of the aforesaid law are equated to the projects of landholdings (Item 4).

9.3. Having compared the legal regulation established in the Law on Territorial Planning (wording of 12 December 1995 with the subsequent amendments and supplements, valid until 1 January 2014) with the legal regulation established in the Law on Territorial Planning (wording of 27 June 2013), it should be held that, among other things, the purpose and tasks of detailed planning have partly changed; in order that the solutions set in detailed plans be implemented, the projects of landholdings are prepared in the cases established by law; the use of plots of land for the purpose of the exploitation of the existing structures according to their direct purpose specified in the Real Property Cadastre is realised through the projects of landholdings rather than through the plans of the plots of land formed for the purpose of the exploitation of the existing structures according to their direct purpose specified in the Real Property Cadastre (these plans were equated to territorial planning documents); however, as mentioned before, after the plans of plots of land (which were equated to detailed plans) have been equated to the projects of landholdings, the territorial planning regulation relevant to the constitutional justice case at issue has, in substance, not changed. The Law on Territorial Planning did not and does not provide for any other special requirements in relation to territorial planning in the cases where the plots of land are formed for the purpose of the exploitation of the existing structures according to their direct purpose specified in the Real Property Cadastre.

  1. The provision “according to the detailed plans approved under the procedure established by law, is occupied by: the plots of land necessary for the exploitation of buildings, structures, <...> (either under construction or built)” of Item 3 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the Law should be construed in view of the provisions of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Land.

10.1. The aforementioned provision of Item 3 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the Law is related to the following provisions of the Law on Land (wording of 26 April 1994 with the subsequent amendments and supplements):

– “Projects for the formation and restructuring of plots of land shall be prepared in the following cases: <...> 3) where the plots of land are formed for the purpose of the exploitation of the existing structures and facilities according to their direct purpose specified in the Real Property Cadastre” (Item 3 of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 (wording of 27 June 2013));

– “The formation and restructuring of plots of land shall be subject to the following requirements: 1) it shall be permitted to form only one plot of land adjoining a structure or facility where such a plot of land is necessary for the purpose of the exploitation of the structure or facility according to its direct purpose specified in the Real Property Register. The plots of land formed for the purpose of the exploitation of structures or facilities shall not be divided in kind, with the exception of the cases where the division of a plot of land, or the separation of part of common property, is carried out along with the division of a structure or facility, or with the separation of part of common property, which results in the creation of a separate structure or facility, and the plot of land necessary for the purpose of the exploitation of that structure or facility can function as a separate unit” (Item 1 of Paragraph 6 of Article 40 (wording of 27 June 2013));

– “State-owned land shall be leased without an auction where: 1) it is occupied by the structures or facilities owned by right of ownership or leased by natural and legal persons (except for temporary structures, engineering networks, and structures without any clear functional purpose or of an unspecified use or structures pertaining to economic activity, which serve the main structure or facility or its appurtenance). <...> The plots of land to be leased shall be of the size that is fixed in the territorial planning documents or the projects of landholdings and is required for the exploitation of the structures or facilities according to their direct purpose specified in the Real Property Cadastre” (Item 1 (wording of 27 June 2013) of Paragraph 6 of Article 9);

– “Plots of state-owned land shall be sold without an auction in the following cases: 1) where they are occupied by the structures or facilities owned by right of ownership by natural and legal persons, except for the plots of land with temporary structures, or only with engineering networks or/and only structures without any clear functional purpose or of an unspecified use or only structures pertaining to economic activity, which serve the main structure or facility or its appurtenance. The plots of state-owned land to be sold shall be of the size that is required for the exploitation of the structures or facilities according to their direct purpose specified in the Real Property Cadastre” (Item 1 of Paragraph 5 of Article 10 (wording of 18 June 2010)).

10.2. While summarising the aforementioned regulation laid down in the Law on Land, it should be held that, according to it:

– projects for the formation and restructuring of plots of land are prepared where the plots of land are formed for the purpose of the exploitation of the existing structures or facilities according to their direct purpose specified in the Real Property Cadastre;

– it is permitted to form only one plot of land adjoining a structure or facility where such a plot of land is necessary for the purpose of the exploitation of the structure or facility according to its direct purpose specified in the Real Property Register;

– the plots of land formed for the purpose of the exploitation of certain structures or facilities, except in the cases provided for by law, are not divided in kind;

– plots of state-owned land are leased without an auction in the size that is fixed in the territorial planning documents or the projects of landholdings and is required for the exploitation of certain structures or facilities according to their direct purpose specified in the Real Property Cadastre;

– plots of state-owned land are sold without an auction in the size that is required for the exploitation of certain structures or facilities according to their direct purpose specified in the Real Property Cadastre.

Thus, under the aforementioned provisions of the Law on Land, for the purpose of the exploitation of an existing structure, the law provides for the formation of one plot of land, which is, as a rule, not divided in kind and the size of which depends on the direct purpose of the existing structure, which is specified in the Real Property Cadastre; the said plot of land is of the size that is necessary to ensure the exploitation of the structure according to its purpose. This means that, in each concrete case, the question of the required size of a plot of land necessary for the exploitation of the existing buildings or structures is decided individually.

10.3. In the context of the aforementioned provisions of the Law on Land and the provision “is occupied by: the plots of land necessary for the exploitation of buildings, structures, <...> (either under construction or built)” of Item 3 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the Law, it should be mentioned that, under the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Construction, a “structure” means a building or an engineering structure, which has load-bearing constructions, all of which (or part of which) are assembled on the construction site during construction work, and which is an immovable unit (Paragraph 2 (wording of 2 July 2010) of Article 2), whereas a “building” means a roofed structure consisting mostly of rooms (Paragraph 7 (wording of 2 July 2010) of Article 2). Under Paragraph 77 (wording of 16 October 2003) of Article 2 of the Law on Construction, the “purpose of a structure” means the purpose of the use of a structure (the residential or economic-commercial purpose, the purpose of carrying out other activities), as specified in the public register, provided the structure meets the mandatory requirements for safety and the intended (carried out) activity (technological process), which are set in the normative documents concerning the safety and purpose of the structure.

Thus, under the established legal regulation, the notion “structure” is broader than the notion “building”. Therefore, the purpose of a structure, which means the purpose of the use of a structure (the residential or economic-commercial purpose, the purpose of carrying out other activities), as specified in the public register, is equally suitable to define the purpose of a building.

  1. While construing the provision “[t]he rights of ownership to the land situated prior to 1 June 1995 in the territories categorised, in the prescribed manner, as urban land shall be restored according to the following procedure: by restituting in kind vacant (non-built-up) land <...>, with the exception of land categorised, under Article 12 of this Law, as land to be purchased by the state” of Paragraph 2 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Article 5 and the provision “[l]and shall be purchased by the state <...> where: <...> it, prior to 1 June 1995, was situated in the territories categorised, in the prescribed manner, as urban land and, according to the detailed plans approved under the procedure established by law, is occupied by: the plots of land necessary for the exploitation of buildings, structures, <...> (either under construction or built) <...>” of Paragraph 1 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Article 12 of the Law in conjunction with the aforementioned legal regulation established in the Law on Territorial Planning, the Law on Land, and the Law on Construction, it should be held that, under the latter legal regulation, when restituting the rights of ownership to the land that was situated prior to 1 June 1995 in the territories categorised, in the prescribed manner, as urban land, the state is to purchase, rather than restitute in kind, only such plots of land (as formed under the respective detailed plans or other documents equated to these plans) that are necessary for the exploitation of certain structures and buildings according to their direct purpose specified in the Real Property Cadastre.
  2. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it should be mentioned that more detailed requirements applicable to the cases where the plots of state-owned land intended for the exploitation of certain structures and buildings are formed for the purposes of selling or leasing these plots of land are set out in the Rules on the Selling and Leasing of Plots of State-Owned Land Categorised as Land To Be Used for Other Purposes, Where Such Plots of Land Are in Use (hereinafter referred to as the Rules), approved by the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 260) “On the Selling and Leasing of Plots of State-Owned Land Categorised as Land To Be Used for Other Purposes, Where Such Plots of Land Are in Use” of 9 March 1999 (hereinafter referred to as the government resolution (No. 260) of 9 March 1999) (wording of 27 April 2011).

At the same time, it should be noted that the legal regulation established in the aforementioned provisions of the Law on Land and in the Rules, which sets the requirements governing the cases where the plots of land necessary for the exploitation of certain structures are formed in order to sell or lease these plots of land, is not impugned by the petitioner; and the compliance of these provisions with the Constitution is not a matter for an investigation in the constitutional justice case at issue.

  1. As mentioned before, in the constitutional justice case at issue, the Constitutional Court is investigating the compliance of the provisions of the Law that regulate the restoration of the rights of ownership in the cases where the state is to purchase, rather than to restitute in kind, the formerly owned urban land that is occupied by the plots of land necessary for the exploitation of certain buildings and structures with Articles 23 and 29 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

13.1. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, the following provisions of the official constitutional doctrine of restitution—the restoration of the rights of ownership—should be noted first of all:

– the State of Lithuania, seeking, at least in part, to restore justice—to restore the violated rights of ownership, has opted for limited restitution rather than restitutio in integrum; in regulating, by law, the restoration of the denied rights of ownership, it was necessary to take account of the fact that, 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); while 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 22 December 2010, 19 June 2012, and 9 October 2013);

– in regulating the restoration of the rights of ownership to the existing real property, the legislature must take account of the constitutional principles of the protection of property, as well as of the fact that, in the course of restoring the rights of ownership to the existing real property, it is equally necessary to protect other values consolidated in the Constitution, inter alia, the striving for an open, just, and harmonious civil society, and to ensure that, in the course of restoring the rights of ownership of certain persons, i.e. owners, the rights and legitimate interests of other persons, as well as those of the entire society, would not be violated (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 23 August 2005, 22 December 2010, 30 May 2013, and 9 October 2013); in the course of restoring the rights of ownership to land, the interests of the owners of land and the interests of the actual users of that land must be reconciled (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 27 October 1998 and 9 October 2013); in the course of restoring the rights of ownership, the interests of former owners and the interests of society must be reconciled (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 27 May 1994, 8 March 1995, 4 March 2003, and 30 May 2013);

– when establishing, by law, the ways, conditions, and procedure for the restoration of the rights of ownership to the existing real property, the legislature is bound by the norms and principles of the Constitution, inter alia, by Article 23 of the Constitution, which consolidates the protection of the rights of ownership, also by Article 29 thereof, which guarantees the equality of rights of persons, as well as by the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, which encompasses legal clarity, legal certainty, legal security, the protection of legitimate expectations, and other requirements; in addition, the legislature is bound by other norms and principles of the Constitution (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 23 August 2005, 22 December 2010, and 30 May 2013);

– the Constitution does not prohibit the situation where the relations of the restoration of the rights of ownership to the existing real property are regulated by law in a differentiated manner, to the extent that the conditions and procedure for the restoration of the rights of ownership may vary, inter alia, depending on the kind of the property (land, forest, etc.), to which the rights of ownership are to be restored, or depending on the territory where the property, to which the rights of ownership are to be restored, is located; however, heed must be paid to the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, which includes, inter alia, the protection of legitimate expectations, legal certainty, and legal security (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 5 July 2007 and 6 September 2007).

13.2. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, consideration should also be given to the following provisions of the official constitutional doctrine, which have been formulated by the Constitutional Court while construing Article 23 of the Constitution:

– 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, 9 October 2013, and 8 October 2014); until the 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 being restored do not enjoy any subjective rights of ownership to the property formerly held by them (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 18 June 1998, 4 March 2003, 20 May 2008, 22 December 2010, 19 June 2012, and 8 October 2014); only after an authorised state institution adopts a decision to restore the rights of ownership to a person, the 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, 10 October 2013, and 8 October 2014);

– the laws regulating the restoration of the rights of ownership to the existing real property may provide that certain objects of property are not restituted in kind to the persons who have the right to have their rights of ownership to these objects restored and that these objects are purchased by the state; the provision of the law that compensation must be provided in the cases where property may not be restituted in kind is not in conflict with the principles of the inviolability of property and the protection of the rights of ownership, since fair compensation ensures the restoration of the rights of ownership in an equal manner; the legal regulation providing for alternatives to the restoration of the rights of ownership in kind is not in conflict with the objectives of restitution and the constitutional principle of the protection of the rights of ownership (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 20 May 2008, 9 March 2010, and 11 October 2012);

– land that is not to be restituted in kind to owners due to its indispensability for the needs of society is to be purchased by the state, and the owners concerned must be compensated for it in the forms and manner established by law; when establishing, by law, the forms of and procedure for compensating owners for the land to be purchased by the state, the legislature must pay heed to a balance between the legitimate interests of a person and those of society (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 10 May 2002 and 11 September 2013); in deciding whether the impugned legal regulation is in compliance with the Constitution, a fact of crucial importance is not what forms of compensation are established, but whether those forms can secure actual and fair compensation for land to be purchased by the state (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 2 April 2001 and 11 September 2013).

The Constitutional Court has held on more than one occasion that the needs of society due to which the existing real property is not to be restituted in kind to former owners may be varied. The Constitutional Court has held that the concept of the needs of society due to which certain property is not to be returned in kind in the course of restitution but is to be purchased by the state is much broader than the content of the notion “the needs of society”, as used in Paragraph 3 of Article 23 of the Constitution (Constitutional Court’s rulings of 5 July 2007 and 2 September 2011).

13.3. Article 29 of the Constitution stipulates that all persons are equal before the law, the court, and other state institutions and officials (Paragraph 1), as well as that the rights of the human being may not be restricted and that no human being may be granted any privileges on the grounds of gender, race, nationality, language, origin, social status, belief, convictions, or views (Paragraph 2). The Constitutional Court has held on more than one occasion that Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution consolidates the formal equality of all persons, as well as that Paragraph 2 of this article lays down the principle prohibiting the discrimination of persons and the granting of privileges.

The Constitutional Court, while construing the provisions of Article 29 of the Constitution, has held on more than one occasion that the constitutional principle of the equality of all persons before the law, as consolidated in the aforesaid article, requires that fundamental rights and duties be established in law equally to all; this principle means the innate right of a human being to be treated equally with others; it imposes the obligation to assess homogenous facts in the same manner and the prohibition against arbitrarily assessing, in a different manner, facts that are, in substance, the same, but it does not deny a differentiated legal regulation, established by law, with respect to certain categories of persons who are in different situations. The constitutional principle of the equality of persons before the law would be violated if certain persons or groups of such persons were treated in a different manner, even though there are not any differences of such a character and to such an extent between the said persons or groups of such persons so that their uneven treatment could be objectively justified (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 29 June 2012, 15 February 2013, and 30 May 2013).

13.4. In the acts of the Constitutional Court, it has been held on more than one occasion that the protection of legitimate expectations, legal certainty, and legal security are inseparable elements of the constitutional 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, to respect legitimate interests and legitimate expectations, as well as to fulfil the obligations undertaken to a person; if the protection of legitimate expectations, legal certainty, and legal security were not ensured, the trust of a person in the state and law would not be secured (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 4 March 2003, 15 February 2013, 10 October 2013, and 8 May 2014).

The fact that the state has resolved that the denied rights of ownership must be restored, also the fact that the law regulating the relations of restitution has been adopted and the restoration of the rights of ownership has started to be implemented, means that the state has created a legitimate expectation for persons who have the right to have their rights of ownership restored that they will be able to implement this right by the means, under the conditions and procedure, and within the time limits provided for by law; the said legitimate expectation is protected and defended by the Constitution; at the same time, the state has acquired the duty to regulate, by law, the restoration of the rights of ownership to the existing real property in such a manner that the aforementioned legitimate expectation would be implemented in reality (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 23 August 2005 and 20 May 2008, its decision of 4 July 2008, and its ruling of 19 June 2012). The legitimate expectation of an owner to have his/her rights of ownership restored to the existing real property does not mean that the rights of ownership to the existing real property must in all cases be restored by restituting that property in kind; there may also be the legal situations where former owners are not restituted in kind such existing real property that is necessary for the needs of society (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 20 May 2008, 2 September 2011, and 11 October 2012); a justified and lawful purchase of certain objects of property in the course of restoring the rights of ownership is in line with the constitutional requirement of the protection of legitimate expectations (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 20 May 2008 and 11 October 2012).

The Constitutional Court has also noted that the content of the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law should be disclosed by taking account of the content of various other constitutional principles, including the principle of justice (which comprises, inter alia, natural justice). Disregard for the principle of justice, which is consolidated in the Constitution, would also mean disregard for the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 3 November 2005 and 22 December 2010). Justice may not be achieved through the satisfaction of the interests of exclusively one group and the simultaneous denial of the interests of others (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, which consolidates the right to the protection of property, 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 that had been expropriated before they ratified the Convention, or as imposing any restrictions on their freedom to determine the scope and conditions of the restitution of property to former owners (among many other judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, its 21 July 2009 judgment in the case 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”, the protection of which is provided for in Article 1 of the First Protocol (among other acts of this Court, the 10 July 2002 decision of the Grand Chamber as to the admissibility in the case Gratzinger and Gratzingerova v. the Czech Republic, application No. 39794/98, and the 30 June 2009 decision as to the admissibility in the case Shub v. Lithuania, application No. 17064/06).

In its case law, the European Court of Human Rights has also emphasised that the notion of the public interest is an extensive one; the states that have, of their own will, assumed the obligation to restore the rights of ownership enjoy a broad margin of appreciation in regulating the restoration of the rights of ownership and the conditions of the restoration process; in addition to the restitution of land in kind, other means of compensating for the formerly owned property are possible, including monetary compensation, which, in substance, must be reasonably related to the market value of the expropriated object, and, in certain cases, the right to obtain less than full compensation is also regarded as fair compensation in terms of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, provided this is done in view of the protection of public interests while seeking to achieve greater social justice (the 25 March 1999 judgment of the Grand Chamber in the case Papachelas v. Greece, application No. 31423/96; the 5 November 2002 judgment in the case Pincová and Pinc v. the Czech Republic, application No. 36548/97; the 22 June 2004 judgment of the Grand Chamber in the case Broniowski v. Poland, application No. 31443/96).

  1. As mentioned before, in the constitutional justice case at issue the Constitutional Court is investigating whether the provision “[t]he rights of ownership to the land situated prior to 1 June 1995 in the territories categorised, in the prescribed manner, as urban land shall be restored according to the following procedure: by restituting in kind vacant (non-built-up) land <...>, with the exception of land categorised, under Article 12 of this Law, as land to be purchased by the state” of Paragraph 2 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Article 5 and the provision “[l]and shall be purchased by the state <...> where: <...> it, prior to 1 June 1995, was situated in the territories categorised, in the prescribed manner, as urban land and, according to the detailed plans approved under the procedure established by law, is occupied by: the plots of land necessary for the exploitation of buildings, structures, <...> (either under construction or built) <...>” of Paragraph 1 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Article 12 of the Law are not in conflict with Articles 23 and 29 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  2. As mentioned before, the petitioner doubts as to whether the impugned legal regulation has, to a fair, maximum, and proportionate extent, reconciled the rights and interests of the persons whose rights of ownership are to be restored to urban land and the rights and interests of the persons who are actually using or leasing this land for the purpose of the exploitation of the buildings and structures (either under construction or built) owned by these persons by right of ownership, including buildings and structures (either under construction or built) on recreational sites, also whether the legal regulation in question has not given an unfounded priority to land users and lessees, while, at the same time, denying, in an unproportioned manner, the interests of the persons whose rights of ownership to land are to be restored and their legitimate expectation, defended under the Constitution, to have their rights of ownership restored to urban land in kind, as well as limiting, in an unfounded manner, the right of these persons to property. According to the petitioner, the mere fact that the land necessary for the exploitation of certain buildings and structures is in an urban rather than rural area cannot lead to the situation in which the said land, differently than the same land in a rural area, is not restituted in kind to former owners because, purportedly, there is the need of society for it to be purchased by the state.
  3. While deciding whether Paragraph 2 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Article 5 and Paragraph 1 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Article 12 of the Law, to the extent indicated by the petitioner, are not in conflict with Article 23 of the Constitution, it should be noted that, as mentioned before, under the Constitution:

– while regulating the restoration of the rights of ownership to the existing real property, the legislature must take account of the constitutional principles of the protection of property, as well as of the fact that, in the course of restoring the rights of ownership to the existing real property, it is equally necessary to protect other values consolidated in the Constitution, inter alia, the striving for an open, just, and harmonious civil society, and to ensure that, in the course of restoring the rights of ownership of certain persons, i.e. owners, the rights and legitimate interests of other persons, as well as the interests of the entire society, would not be violated; in the process of the restoration of the rights of ownership to land, the interests of both the owners of land and the actual users of that land must be reconciled;

– the Constitution also does not prohibit the situation where the relations of the restoration of the rights of ownership to the existing real property are regulated by law in a differentiated manner, to the extent that the conditions and procedure for the restoration of the rights of ownership may vary, inter alia, depending on the territory on which the property, to which the rights of ownership are to be restored, is located;

– land that is not to be restituted in kind to owners due to its indispensability for the needs of society is purchased by the state, and the owners concerned are compensated for it in the forms and manner established by law;

– the provision of the law that compensation must be provided in the cases where property may not be restituted in kind is not in conflict with the principles of the inviolability of property and the protection of the rights of ownership, since fair compensation ensures the restoration of the rights of ownership to an equal extent; the legal regulation providing for certain alternatives to the restoration of the rights of ownership in kind is not in conflict with the objectives of restitution and the constitutional principle of the protection of the rights of ownership.

  1. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it should be noted that the necessity to guarantee the constitutional protection of the rights of ownership and the constitutional imperative of an open, just, and harmonious civil society imply the duty of the state, when establishing, by means of laws, the conditions and procedure for the restoration of the rights of ownership, to take account of the changed social, economic, and legal situation, as well as of other actual facts, and to ensure that, in the course of restoring the rights of ownership of some persons—owners, the rights and legitimate interests of other persons, i.e. those who are using the land of the former owners, because it is necessary for the exploitation of the structures owned by these persons by right of ownership, are not violated. The fact that the Constitution does not prohibit the situation where the relations of the restoration of the rights of ownership to the existing real property are regulated by law in a differentiated manner, to the extent that the conditions and procedure for the restoration of the rights of ownership may vary, inter alia, depending on the territory where the property, to which the rights of ownership are to be restored, is located, means that the legislature has the discretion to establish differentiated conditions and procedure for the restoration of the rights of ownership to land located in urban areas, rural areas, as well as to land located in different urban areas, inter alia, land necessary for the exploitation of certain structures (buildings), however, in doing so, the legislature must pay heed to the Constitution, inter alia, the requirements stemming from the Constitution that, in the course of restoring the rights of ownership of former owners, the non-violation of the rights and legitimate expectations of other persons must be ensured; in addition, the aforementioned fact also means that land may be not restituted in kind to persons who have the right to have their rights of ownership restored and that it may be purchased by the state only where there is the need of society for doing this.
  2. As mentioned before, the explanatory note to the Draft Law Amending and Supplementing Articles 5, 12, and 21 of the Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property makes it clear that Item 3 (wording of 2 April 2002) of Article 12 of the Law, which subsequently became Item 3 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the Law and which is, to the particular extent, impugned by the petitioner, was aimed at specifying the concrete needs of society where the state was to purchase the land that had been situated prior to 1 June 1995 in the territories categorised, in the prescribed manner, as urban land; under the impugned legal regulation, those needs, among other things, included the land occupied, in accordance with the relevant laws, by the plots of land necessary for the exploitation of certain buildings, structures, or facilities (either under construction or built).
  3. When assessing whether, in the course of restoring the rights of ownership, there is any need of society that the state would purchase the urban land necessary for the exploitation of structures owned by other persons by right of ownership, account should be taken of the fact that, due to the specificity of the building development of structures on that land, the common engineering networks, communications, and other factors, the amount of such urban land is particularly limited.

In this context, it should be noted that, as mentioned before, under the legal regulation established in the Law on Territorial Planning, the Law on Land, and the Law on Construction, as well as under the provisions of Paragraph 2 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Article 5 and Paragraph 1 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Article 12 of the Law, to the extent that the compliance of these provisions with the Constitution is impugned by the petitioner, when restoring the rights of ownership to the land that was situated prior to 1 June 1995 in the territories categorised, in the prescribed manner, as urban land, the state is to purchase, rather than to restitute in kind, only those plots of land formed under the respective detailed plans (other documents equated to them) that are necessary for the exploitation of certain structures and buildings according to their direct purpose specified in the Real Property Cadastre.

  1. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it should be noted that urban areas are predominantly occupied by the structures of the residential purpose, as well as the structures designed for public use (structures related to trade, services, production, culture, science, medical treatment, etc. and intended for the needs of society), while the use of the plots of land required for the exploitation of the said structures is linked with the interests of a large number of persons and the interests of the entire society. Thus, the restoration of the rights of ownership to such urban land that is necessary for the exploitation of structures owned by other persons entails interference not only with the interests of individual persons, who have the right to have their rights of ownership restored, or the interests of the actual land users or lessees, but also with the interests of other persons or the interests of the entire society.

The satisfaction of the interest of exclusively those persons who have the right to have their rights of ownership restored to the aforementioned land in kind and the simultaneous disregard for the interests of the persons who need that land for the exploitation of certain structures owned by them, as well as for the interests of other persons or society in connection with the same land, would not be in compliance with the constitutional requirement that the said interests must be reconciled and would not lead to the protection of any other values consolidated in the Constitution, inter alia, the striving for an open, just, and harmonious society.

  1. It should be noted that, in the course of restoring the rights of ownership to the land situated in the territory that was prior to 1 June 1995 categorised, in the prescribed manner, as urban land and that is intended for the exploitation of certain structures, the persons whose rights of ownership are to be restored, in reality, do not immediately acquire any subjective rights of ownership to the formerly held property; the latter persons acquire the rights of ownership, which are protected and defended under Article 23 of the Constitution, only after an authorised state institution adopts a decision to restore their rights of ownership. Under the impugned provisions of the Law, after the aforementioned land is purchased, the persons who have the right to have their rights of ownership restored are compensated for it in accordance with Article 16 of the Law, i.e. by the means and under the procedure provided for by law. As mentioned before, under the Constitution, the legal regulation providing for alternatives to the restoration of the rights of ownership in kind is not in conflict with the objectives of restitution or the constitutional principle of the protection of the rights of ownership.
  2. Thus, it should be held that, by means of the legal regulation laid down in Paragraph 2 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Article 5 and Paragraph 1 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Article 12 of the Law, to the extent that its compliance with the Constitution is impugned by the petitioner, the legislature has implemented its right, stemming from the Constitution, to regulate, by law, the conditions and procedure for the restoration of the rights of ownership in a differentiated manner depending on whether the property, to which the rights of ownership are to be restored, is located in an urban or rural area. The impugned legal regulation limits the right of a person to have his/her rights of ownership restored to urban land in kind where it is occupied by the plots of land necessary for the exploitation of the buildings and structures owned by other persons and provides that such land is to be purchased by the state by reconciling the interests of the said persons and those of society in the light of the constitutionally justified need of society, while the persons who have the right to have their rights of ownership restored are compensated for the said land by the means and under the procedure provided for by law. Such legal regulation does not violate Article 23 of the Constitution, which consolidates the protection of the rights of ownership.
  3. In view of the foregoing arguments, it should be held that the provision “[t]he rights of ownership to the land situated prior to 1 June 1995 in the territories categorised, in the prescribed manner, as urban land shall be restored according to the following procedure: by restituting in kind vacant (non-built-up) land <...>, with the exception of land categorised, under Article 12 of this Law, as land to be purchased by the state” of Paragraph 2 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Article 5 and the provision “[l]and shall be purchased by the state <...> where: <...> it, prior to 1 June 1995, was situated in the territories categorised, in the prescribed manner, as urban land and, according to the detailed plans approved under the procedure established by law, is occupied by: the plots of land necessary for the exploitation of buildings, structures, <...> (either under construction or built) <...>” of Paragraph 1 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Article 12 of the Law are not in conflict with Article 23 of the Constitution.
  4. While deciding whether Paragraph 2 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Article 5 and Paragraph 1 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Article 12 of the Law, to the extent indicated by the petitioner, are not in conflict with Article 29 of the Constitution, it should be noted that, as mentioned before, the petitioner doubts as to whether the constitutional principle of the equality of rights of persons is not violated due to the fact that the impugned legal regulation has created preconditions for an unfounded different treatment of the persons who seek to have their rights of ownership restored to land in a rural area and those who seek to have their rights of ownership restored to the same land in an urban area.

From the petitioner’s petition, it is clear that, while impugning the compliance of the indicated legal regulation with Article 29 of the Constitution, the petitioner compares the regulation in question with the provisions of Paragraph 11 (wording of 10 December 2009) of Article 4 and Item 2 (wording of 13 May 1999) of Paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the Law, which regulate the relations of the restitution of rural land in kind to former owners where it is used or leased by other persons, as well as the relations of the purchase of such land where it is unrecoverable in kind. It should be noted that Paragraph 11 (wording of 10 December 2009) of Article 4 and Item 2 (wording of 13 May 1999) of Paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the Law, if compared to Item 1 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Paragraph 2 of Article 5 and Item 3 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the Law, lay down different conditions for the restoration of the rights of ownership to land, and these conditions differ on the basis of the features of the objects of the rights of ownership rather than the features of the subjects of the rights of ownership; therefore, the legal regulation in question cannot be in violation with the constitutional principle of the equality of rights of persons.

In the light of the foregoing arguments, it should be held that the provision “[t]he rights of ownership to the land situated prior to 1 June 1995 in the territories categorised, in the prescribed manner, as urban land shall be restored according to the following procedure: by restituting in kind vacant (non-built-up) land <...>, with the exception of land categorised, under Article 12 of this Law, as land to be purchased by the state” of Paragraph 2 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Article 5 and the provision “[l]and shall be purchased by the state <...> where: <...> it, prior to 1 June 1995, was situated in the territories categorised, in the prescribed manner, as urban land and, according to the detailed plans approved under the procedure established by law, is occupied by: the plots of land necessary for the exploitation of buildings, structures, <...> (either under construction or built) <...>” of Paragraph 1 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Article 12 of the Law are not in conflict with Article 29 of the Constitution.

  1. While deciding whether Item 1 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Paragraph 2 of Article 5 and Item 3 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the Law, to the extent indicated by the petitioner, are not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, it should be noted that, as mentioned before, under the Constitution:

– the state has created the legitimate expectation for persons who have the right to have their rights of ownership restored that they will be able to implement the said right by the means, under the conditions and procedure, and within the time limits provided for by law;

– the legitimate expectation of an owner to have his/her rights of ownership restored to the existing real property does not mean that the rights of ownership to the existing real property must in all cases be restored by means of the restitution of that property in kind; there may also be the legal situations where the existing real property is not restituted in kind to its former owners if that property is necessary for the needs of society;

– in the process of the restoration of the rights of ownership, a well-founded and lawful purchase of certain objects of ownership is in line with the constitutional requirement of the protection of legitimate expectations.

Thus, differently than it is maintained by the petitioner, the Constitution does not give rise to the legitimate expectation of persons to have their rights of ownership restored to the formerly owned land exclusively by means of restitution in kind. Consequently, there is no ground for stating that the provision “[t]he rights of ownership to the land situated prior to 1 June 1995 in the territories categorised, in the prescribed manner, as urban land shall be restored according to the following procedure: by restituting in kind vacant (non-built-up) land <...>, with the exception of land categorised, under Article 12 of this Law, as land to be purchased by the state” of Paragraph 2 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Article 5 and the provision “[l]and shall be purchased by the state <...> where: <...> it, prior to 1 June 1995, was situated in the territories categorised, in the prescribed manner, as urban land and, according to the detailed plans approved under the procedure established by law, is occupied by: the plots of land necessary for the exploitation of buildings, structures, <...> (either under construction or built) <...>” of Paragraph 1 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Article 12 of the Law are in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, which includes, as its inseparable element, the protection of legitimate expectations.

  1. In the light of the foregoing arguments, the conclusion should be drawn that the provision “[t]he rights of ownership to the land situated prior to 1 June 1995 in the territories categorised, in the prescribed manner, as urban land shall be restored according to the following procedure: by restituting in kind vacant (non-built-up) land <...>, with the exception of land categorised, under Article 12 of this Law, as land to be purchased by the state” of Paragraph 2 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Article 5 and the provision “[l]and shall be purchased by the state <...> where: <...> it, prior to 1 June 1995, was situated in the territories categorised, in the prescribed manner, as urban land and, according to the detailed plans approved under the procedure established by law, is occupied by: the plots of land necessary for the exploitation of buildings, structures, <...> (either under construction or built) <...>” of Paragraph 1 (wording of 16 November 2006) of Article 12 of the Law are not in conflict with Articles 23 and 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, 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 the provision “[t]he rights of ownership to the land situated prior to 1 June 1995 in the territories categorised, in the prescribed manner, as urban land shall be restored according to the following procedure: by restituting in kind vacant (non-built-up) land <...>, with the exception of land categorised, under Article 12 of this Law, as land to be purchased by the state” of Paragraph 2 (wording of 16 November 2006; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2006, No. 125-4750) of Article 5 and the provision “[l]and shall be purchased by the state <...> where: <...> it, prior to 1 June 1995, was situated in the territories categorised, in the prescribed manner, as urban land and, according to the detailed plans approved under the procedure established by law, is occupied by: the plots of land necessary for the exploitation of buildings, structures, <...> (either under construction or built) <...>” of Paragraph 1 (wording of 16 November 2006; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2006, No. 125-4750) of Article 12 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Ownership of Citizens to the Existing Real Property are 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

                                                                                                           Pranas Kuconis

                                                                                                           Gediminas Mesonis

                                                                                                           Vytas Milius

                                                                                                           Egidijus Šileikis

                                                                                                           Algirdas Taminskas

                                                                                                           Dainius Žalimas