PROTOCOL NO. 1 TO THE EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS Protection of property (Article 1) This article lays down a general rule followed by two specific rules to protect the right to property. General rule: "Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions". "Possessions" includes shares, patents, licences, leases and welfare benefits (provided they are enjoyed by legal right, not by discretion). In many cases concerning property expropriated under previous regimes in Eastern Europe it has been crucial whether the applicant's right survived in national law; a mere hope of restitution is not enough. "Peaceful enjoyment" includes the right of access to the property. There can be positive obligations on the state to protect enjoyment of property rights, for example, by properly maintaining dangerous installations near homes. In cases of interference with property rights that do not obviously fall under one of the two specific rules set out below, the Court has applied the general rule and implied into it a test of "fair balance" between the individual and the general interest (see below). First specific rule: Deprivation of property Deprivation is only permitted if it is:  lawful;  in the public interest;  in accordance with the general principles of international law;  reasonably proportionate ("fair balance" test). States have a wide discretion over what is "in the public interest". Provided a legitimate aim is pursued, for example, social justice, it is acceptable that some people should get a windfall and others lose out. The "fair balance test" applied by the Court is less stringent than the test of "necessary in a democratic society" found in Convention Articles 8 to 11. It requires the State to show it has struck a fair balance between the person's right and the public interest. That will not be achieved if the individual (or company) has to bear an excessive burden, or where he or she has no or few procedural avenues to challenge the deprivation. Second specific rule: Control of property

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