Georgia Giannakourou, E. Balla

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Greek planning law is as yet unfamiliar with the regulatory takings issue. Landowners whose property suffered a decline in value because of planning decisions usually do not have the right to receive compensation. Several factors have contributed to this insufficiency in this area of the law: the lack of specific constitutional rules directly pertaining to regulatory takings in urban planning and zoning (despite a general protection of property rights in the Greek constitution); increasing acceptance by the courts of the need to protect natural areas and cultural heritage; and a grossly unresponsive land use policy. While planning restrictions on the use of private land have become more intensive and onerous in recent decades, few statutory regimes for takings assessment and compensation have been established to date. Consequently, few individuals have brought takings lawsuits before the courts and even fewer still have been able to meet the constitutional threshold for compensation. We open with an analysis of how the Greek Constitutions relates to the takings issue and discuss the extent to which the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) may be affecting the domestic law. We then describe the types of potential regulatory takings in Greece according to the types of injurious planning decisions. The chapter then examines the few situations in which statotory regimes do provide compensation instruments. We conclude with some critical remarks on the current state of Greek planning law, contemporary practices, and the prospect of change. Findings show that the takings issue has not been a priority for the Greek legislature. Existing planning law gives the government considerable latitude to regulate without causing a taking. Planning practice is part of the problem. Excessive regulation and the absence of financial and temporal constraints contribute to the rise of in injurious decisions. Although neither the legislature nor the government is currently in favor of a more responsive takings policy in the field of planning regulation, public awareness seems to be somewhat on the rise. The 2006 proposal of the government for a modest revision of Article 17 of the Constitution on the protection of property, even though defeated, shows that the takings issue has been introduced in the Greek political agenda. In view of these developments, the Greek courts and, moreover, the ECHR, become key players in the Greek takings debate. Their decisions may provide guidelines on how Greek public services may avoid actions that infringe on property rights and how to balance potentially disproportionate harms. This could lead to a more principled approach to the takings issue in the Greek planning system and perhaps to a more just level of protection for private property rights.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTakings International
Subtitle of host publicationA Comparative Perspective on Land Use Regulations and Compensation Rights
EditorsRachelle Alterman
PublisherAmerican Bar Association
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)978-1-60442-550-5
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Eminent Domain, Compensation (Law), Takings, Property Rights
  • ITC-CV

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