- T.A.R. Piemonte
DAMAGE CLAIM BROUGH BY A COMPANY OF STATE X AGAINST AN ITALIAN MUNICIPALITY - REFERENCE TO UNIDROIT PRINCIPLES TO INTERPRET AND SUPPLEMENT APPLICABLE DOMESTIC LAW (ITALIAN LAW)
PLOT OF LAND ORIGINALLY DESIGNATED FOR USE AS NATURAL PARK - VARIATION ORDER ISSUED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY CONCERNING THE POSSIBILITY TO BUILD ON THAT PLOT OF LAND - SUBSEQUENTLY REVOKED BY MUNICIPALITY - REFERENCE BY THE COURT TO THE PROHIBITION OF VENIRE CONTRA FACTUM PROPRIUM AND TO ARTICLE 1.8 UNIDROIT PRINCIPLES
Claimant A, a company from country X, advanced a claim for damages against the Defendant B, a municipality. Claimant A claimed to be the owner of several plots of land that had originally been designated for use as a natural park. One of the plots of land became available for construction, after the adoption of a partial variation issued by the administration. The variation was subsequently revoked by the municipality, and the first instance court confirmed the legitimacy of the revocation.
Claimant A sought compensation for the damages suffered due to the ban on building on the land. Claimant A affirmed that the behaviour of the municipality, in the period between the adoption of the partial variation and its revocation, created a legitimate expectation that was to be protected. Defendant B replied affirming that the land was purchased before the adoption of the partial variation and that the latter did not affect claimant A’s ability to build on its property.
The court recognised the principle of protection of the legitimate expectation between an administration and a citizen in an administrative procedure and, in doing so, recalled the UNIDROIT Principles, and in particular Article 1.8, according to which ‘[a] party cannot act inconsistently with an understanding it has caused the other party to have and upon which that other party reasonably has acted in reliance to its detriment.’
The court, on the merits, rejected the claimant’s action since claimant had bought the land before the adoption of the administrative measures.
(cf. G. Nunziante in "Perspectives in Practice of the UNIDROIT Principles 2016", IBA Publication 2019, p. 171)