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Latvia / Senate of the Supreme Court Department of Administrative Law / Case No.SKA-238/2020

SIA “ Sātiņi-S” (Ltd.) vs. Lauku atbalsta dienests

Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding Body:
Senate of the Supreme Court Department of Administrative Law
Type:
Decision
Decision date:
03/06/2020
ECLI:
ECLI:LV:AT:2020:0603.A420186017.4.L]
Key facts of the case:
On 2002 the applicant (Ltd “Sātiņi-S”) acquired areal estate, which also consist of swamp land (7,7 ha). The real estate is situated in protected nature territory included in European protected nature areas Natura-2000. According to the Cabinet of Ministers Regulation No.264 ‘Regulation on general protection and use of specially protected nature territories’ there is an absolute ban on making cranberry plantations in specially protected nature areas. On 2017 the applicant applied to the Agricultural Support Service for the compensation of the loss due to the restrictions on making cranberry plantations in specially protected nature areas. The Agricultural Support Service replied that the applicant is not entitled to the compensation because normative acts do not envisage any compensation for the restriction of making cranberry plantations. Regulation No.1305/2013/EU provides that compensations for the restrictions of the use of protected nature territories is to be provided according to national support programmes. Latvian national support programme provides for the right to compensation for the restrictions of the use of forest land, however, it explicitly excludes swamps. Therefore, the swamps are not covered by the EU support programme on compensations for the restrictions of the use of territories in nature protection areas. When the applicant acquired the real estate in question respective normative regulation was already in force, thus the applicant knew that in the real estate it is neither allowed to make cranberry plantations, nor receive compensation due to such restriction.
 
Key legal question raised by the Court:
The key legal questions raised and asked to the CJEU are: 1) if the state has the competence under Regulation No.1305/2013/EU to exclude swamps from nature protection territories which are entitled to the compensation due to restrictions in such territories; 2) if the state has the competence under the EU law to define that compensation is provided only due to restrictions on particular commercial activities and not all commercial activities; 3) in the situation where an owner is neither allowed to undertake commercial activity (making cranberry plantations in the swam for commercial activity) nor is entitled to the compensation for the restriction on the use of its property for the commercial purposes is compatible with Article 17 of the CFREU taking into account the fact that the owner knew about respective situation before the acquisition of the real estate.
 
Outcome of the case:
The questions raised were referred to the CJEU for the preliminary ruling. The outcome is subject to the interpretation provided by the CJEU and further application of such interpretation in the particular case by Latvian courts. Registered by the CJEU as either case C-234/20 or C-238/20 (national court reffered questions to the CJEU in two cases regarding the applicant Ltd. “Sātiņi-S”. Presently two cases are registered according to curia.europe.eu data base without further infromation on case datails, thus it is not possible to identify if respective case is registered as C-234/20 or C-238/20.