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€60,000 compensation for woman who was deprived of her property

A woman has been awarded €60,000 after the Constitutional Court ruled she should be adequately compensated for being deprived of her property. 

Angela Balzan had filed a constitutional application against the Prime Minister, the Minister for the Interior and Justice, the Attorney General and against Brian and Cecilia Bajada.

She told the court that in 1972 she had acquired a flat in a block of flats in St Julians, which was subject to a temporary emphyteusis cens

A Mr and Mrs Bajada purchased the temporary sub-groundrent of the flat in November 1984 but when the emphyteutical grant expired in June 2002 they did not vacate the property.

They claimed they were protected tenants in terms of the Housing Decontrol Ordinance which permitted them to convert their temporary emphyteutical grant to a title of lease kera.

Ms Balzan claimed that this was in violation of her fundamental human right to enjoyment of her property as she was not allowed to resume possession of the flat when the emphyteutical grant lapsed.

She further claimed that she was being deprived of adequate compensation as the rent payable by the Bajadas was of Lm270 per annum when she could expect to receive €7,000 per annum on the open market.

The First Hall of the Civil Court had found in favour of Ms Balzan and the government authorities but the Bajadas appealed.

The Constitutional Court, presided over by Chief Justice Silvio Camilleri, Mr Justice Tonio Mallia and Mr Justice Noel Cuschieri, ruled that while Mr and Mrs Bajada were not to blame for Ms Balzan's being deprived of her property, the remedy that had to be given to Ms Balzan was adequate compensation so as to give her just satisfaction and to create a fair balance.

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