ECHR protocol 1 article 1 protects the right to peacefully enjoy one’s property. Does this include money? For example if one has frozen, seized or confiscated by fines, would this be Applicable as much as with forfeiture of a house?

2 Answers 2


The ECHR protocols are not meant (and not generally understood) to prohibit taxation or fines by the state in accordance with the rule of law. See e.g. this explanation by the Council of Europe. As to the specific question, this explanation enumerates shares and leases as property, and the text makes it clear that bank accounts or cash would also be covered:

[...] in the general interest or to secure the payment of taxes or penalties; [...]


ECHR Protocol 1 Article 1 is:

Article 1 – Protection of property

Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.

The preceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest or to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or penalties.

There is nothing in this article to suggest that it would only apply to certain kinds of property and not to others (e.g. real estate, money, moveable property, intellectual property). However, since taxes are mentioned, we can conclude that money is definitely part of this article's concept of property/possessions.

You mention issues such as confiscation. It is important to note that the right to property is a qualified right that can be restricted by law. For example, note that this Article 1 expects the right to property to be limited in the following ways:

  • Depriving people of their property is allowed for a public interest, subject to conditions established in law and international law.
  • States have the right to enforce laws that control the use of property in accordance with a "general interest"
  • States have a right to enforce laws to secure the payment of taxes, contributions, and penalties.

That is, the state can't just seize your money or other property – they have to do it on the basis of a law, and may have to satisfy further criteria such as a public interest.

Few fundamental rights are absolute rights, and even those can clash with other rights. For example, the right to life from ECHR Article 2 along with Protocol 13 Article 2 is pretty absolute, and forbids the death penalty – but it still allows people to be killed as the result of reasonable force.

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