The applicants, nine Italian nationals who live in Villanova di Guidonia and Rome, were the owners of building land measuring 6,398 square metres in Rome. The authorities occupied the land with a view to expropriating it and commenced building works. Since no formal expropriation order had been made and they had received no compensation, the applicants brought an action for damages for the unlawful occupation of their land.
In their application to the Court they alleged that they had been deprived of their land in circumstances which were incompatible with Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property).
The Court considered that the loss of all ability to dispose of the land coupled with the lack of a remedy amounted to a de facto expropriation that was incompatible with their right to the peaceful enjoyment of their possessions. The question of the application of Article 41 (just satisfaction) was not ready for decision and was therefore reserved. (The judgment is available only in French.)
(estratto dal sito della Corte europea dei diritti dell’uomo)