Réttmætar væntingar í þjóðlendumálum: Um tengsl réttmætra væntinga við hefð, venjurétt og ómunahefð

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Valgerdur Solnes, Karl Axelsson

The Article elaborates on the status of legitimate expectations in Icelandic Property Law, emphasizing the relevance of the concept for the resolution of boundaries between private land and wasteland in the Wasteland Cases. An attempt is made to shed a light on whether possession on account of adverse possession or customary law does in fact cover the alleged role of legitimate expectations in practice. Furthermore, the article examines whether legitimate expectations are conducive for the purpose of independent emergence of property rights, i.e. sequential possession parallel to adverse possesion and customary law, or if the concept solely encompasses a corroborative purpose for other more established ways to establish possession.

Arguments pertaining to legitimate expectations in the Wasteland Cases, in support of claims for the ownership of land, have mainly been raised on account of two factual circumstances: Firstly, with regard to alleged legitimate expectations on account of a claimant´s sustained right to utilization or disposal of the disputed land. The Supreme Court has not seconded arguments of legitimate expectation in this context, neither as an independent method to initiate possession, nor in support of other, more established, ways thereto; Secondly, claimants have argued that the acts and omissions of public authorities, e.g. regarding registration of property rights or other treatment of such rights, has created legitimate expectations on the notion that a particular system of property ownership, over the disputed land, is in place. Omissions to this effect are irrelevant in case law whereas specific actions of public authorities can be of significance, see e.g. Cases of the Supreme Court of Iceland No. 345/2005 (Fell), No. 496/2005 (Breiðármörk et al) and No. 617/2012 (Hellisheiði). The Supreme Court held in all three Wasteland Cases that the claims of the State were contrary to its previous actions or its otherwise public position on ownership over the disputed land. Previous case law of the Supreme Court does, however, illustrate the time sensitivity of any such actions of public authorities and their declining relevance as time progresses. Legitimate expectations are of independent significnce in Icelandic Property Law, subject to the aforementioned limited conditions, beyond the rights and protections manifested in adverse possession or customary law.
Original languageIcelandic
JournalÚlfljótur Law Review
Volume67
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)559-603
Number of pages44
Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Research areas

  • The Faculty of Law - Property Rights, Adverse Possession, Customary Law, Legitimate Expectations, European Court of Human Rights

ID: 144496554