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I am fighting for my rights to keep the ownership of my land falling to the local municipal government in Finland. The act of the local town zoning and construction committee has resulted in a decision by the municipal government against our right to keep our private property. We have made a complaint about this decision to the local administrative and highest courts of Finland.

Both of these courts rejected our complaint (the highest court rejected our right to even file a complaint!) without even looking into the details of the matter at hand. I have evidence in my possession that the original plans made by the zoning and construction committee were based on false information about the ownership of my land. The evidence consists from official documents proving the ownership of my land and statements from the members of the local town zoning and construction committee that they were given false information at the time decisions were made. In other words, the local municipal government is illegally trying to take my land.

The law concerning land use and construction in Finland states:

Zoning must not cause any significant declining in the quality of living environment which is not justified taking into account the purpose of the zoning. Zoning must not also cause excessive limitations or harm to the landowner which can be avoided without discarding the goals of the zoning.

In the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, 2010/C 83/02, Article 17 it is stated:

Right to property

  1. Everyone has the right to own, use, dispose of and bequeath his or her lawfully acquired possessions. No one may be deprived of his or her possessions, except in the public interest and in the cases and under the conditions provided for by law, subject to fair compensation being paid in good time for their loss. The use of property may be regulated by law in so far as is necessary for the general interest.

Under the decisions of the town zoning and construction committee my land consisting from 700m2 will be subject to a compulsory purchasing for the planned 20000m2 recreational area. Of course the compulsory purchase will not be paid with a fair market price but with a much lower price, which is technically a legalized robbery as it has many times occurred in similar cases in Finland.

My next step is to file a complaint to the European Union Fundamental Rights commission in hopes that they can help me.

My question is: what can I do in my situation? The highest court in Finland did not even allow me to complain even though I have made thorough and detailed documents of all the facts concerning this matter proving that the decision was made on false grounds.

All help and suggestions are deeply appreciated!

UPDATE:

I am posting my reply here to answer user @ohwilleke.

First of all, let me thank you once again for your reply, even though it does not comfort me :) In Finland you won't even get answers or justifications from government officials, you're simply told how things are from now on regarding your property (in practice I mean).

I want to comment some of the points you made and perhaps see your further thoughts about them.

About the lawyer, no we have not hired a lawyer. We have consulted though many acquaintances who are lawyers.

You have no recourse but to accept the action of the local government as lawful even though you believe that your case was wrongfully decided.

There is one question this comment makes me want to ask:

Is it considered as illegal or legal action to justify a decision based on falsely provided facts? As a hypothetical toy example, if the municipal government (in my case this is < 10 people) decides to increase e.g. taxes based on a made up study in order to get economical advantage, then is this considered a legal action if the procedure is implemented legally? In other words, is it legal to use fake evidence to support decisions in government?

This is what has happened in my case, and I have proof to back this up. The point is, the courts have not even considered this. They simply rejected it, without any kind of justifications. You might see why I am a little concerned about this. The local municipal government is abusing its power for its own interest, which is the story as usual.

Certainly, nothing you have described would violate the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, 2010/C 83/02, Article 17.

I do not understand this, could you perhaps elaborate this a little bit more? :) I'm keen on understanding who makes this decision in practice and is it required for them to justify their decision with facts or not? Or is it simply a matter of opinion like it seems to be.

Call it robbery if you will from a moral perspective, but as you note, it is legalized robbery in much the same way that taxes are "legalized theft."

What the decision of the local government will lead to eventually (because of the zoning) will result in the decrease of the value of my property, after which they will do a compulsory purchase of the land. In other words, they are using the law to firstly, decrease the value of my land and secondly, to buy it off with a lower value.

The definition of this might not be robbery, but practically this is exactly what it is.

  • If the municipal government decides to raise taxes, it is a political decission and a judge will not have standing (separation of powers), even if the assumptions behind the raise are wrong (if that were possible, I guess most of the laws and executive decissions would be invalid). A judge could only act if the raise violates some other law (for example, are unjustifiedly discriminatory against you). – SJuan76 Dec 23 '16 at 18:36
  • If the municipal government uses a bad assessment/document/whatever to calculate how many taxes you own, then you could challenge the validity of that amount by challenging its source by administrative means. But that would be a completely different matter, because that would be an administrative issue and not a political one. – SJuan76 Dec 23 '16 at 18:40
  • Anyway, I would say that the level the detail that you require (up to the fact that you want to find a way to challenge the decission of several courts) makes me think that you are asking for legal counsel. This is not the proper way to do it; the proper way is to hire a lawyer and give him all the documentation. Legal counsel are off-topic in this site. – SJuan76 Dec 23 '16 at 18:43
  • Hello @SJuan76 and thank you for your help. So in other words what you're saying is: It does not matter a bit whether or not political decisions are based on facts or not. Wow...how can this be? I do not require detailed instructions, I can find those myself if it is possible. I'm just asking IS it possible for me to do something or not. In short: a procedural error has happened in this case. The government officials have given false information when decisions have been made. Much appreciate your time! :) – jjepsuomi Dec 25 '16 at 19:35
  • Just to add: the false information was given ON PURPOSE, because the government officials in this case have a close connection with the construction companies involved. I have detailed information regarding my case but it is too long to share in this post. I'm just trying to find out how can I defend myself against the corruption of the municipal government officials. – jjepsuomi Dec 25 '16 at 19:42
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We have made a complaint about this decision to the local administrative and highest courts of Finland.

Both of these courts rejected our complaint (the highest court rejected our right to even file a complaint!) without even looking into the details of the matter at hand.

Did you hire a lawyer?

If the court rejected your complaint without even considering it, it may have been procedurally improper.

Generally speaking, once your complaint is rejected by a court with proper jurisdiction, the matter is resolved and you lost. End of story, too bad. You have no recourse but to accept the action of the local government as lawful even though you believe that your case was wrongfully decided.

In any case, I doubt that the local government's action in your context is illegal. This is an issue of "condemnation" and not zoning. Generally speaking, the government has a power of eminent domain to seize property for a public use so long as a process is in place for the owner to obtain compensation for the seizure. A government owned recreation center would generally be considered a public use.

Certainly, nothing you have described would violate the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, 2010/C 83/02, Article 17. As you note:

No one may be deprived of his or her possessions, except in the public interest and in the cases and under the conditions provided for by law, subject to fair compensation being paid in good time for their loss.

This is a case where the deprivation is in the public interest, in which the Finnish courts have decided that the conditions provided by law for doing so have been met, and in which you acknowledge that you have a right to compensation. Since it appears that the compensation has not yet been determined, it is premature to say that the compensation you receive will not be fair or paid in good time, and you need to participate actively and vigorously in the compensation process to make sure that you do make the best case you can for fair compensation.

Also, as you note, this has happened many times in Finland. This strongly support the conclusion that this action is legal under Finnish law, even if you would prefer to interpret its laws in another manner.

Of course the compulsory purchase will not be paid with a fair market price but with a much lower price, which is technically a legalized robbery as it has many times occurred in similar cases in Finland.

My next step is to file a complaint to the European Union Fundamental Rights commission in hopes that they can help me.

An appeal to the European Union sounds futile to me, as everything you have said suggests that your rights under the E.U. Charter have not been violated. Call it robbery if you will from a moral perspective, but as you note, it is legalized robbery in much the same way that taxes are "legalized theft."

Your efforts would be better sent hiring a lawyer to help you negotiate with the local government over the price. If you make a strong evidentiary case that the land is worth more than you have been offered, you have a decent chance of getting more than you have been offered, even if it is less than what you believe it is worth. You also have a better case of winning on appeal on the issue of an unfair price in a second instance court in Finland, than you would on the issue of whether the condemnation was legal, on which the settled law in Finland and under international law is that it generally is legal in your circumstances.

  • Thank you very much for your help! :) I will read your answer carefully and reply to your questions. – jjepsuomi Dec 22 '16 at 19:05
  • Dear @ohwilleke, I have replied to your answer with an answer of my own. Could you perhaps comment on that? :) Thank you!! :) – jjepsuomi Dec 22 '16 at 20:08

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