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Association des communes minières de France , n° 257069, Conseil d'Etat, 4 février 2005, AJDA 2005 Informations rapides p. 792

Facts: the applicant was the Association of the Cities in France producing coal (l'Association des communes minières de France). It asked the Prime Minister for a repeal of the Decree of May 29, 2000 relating to the application of articles 75-2 and 75-3 of the Coal Code. The applicant claimed that article 7 of the Decree, providing that when the State had indemnified the proprietor of a property damaged by a coal disaster, that property was transferred to the State thereafter, was illegal. The applicant relied on article 17 of the French Declaration for Human and Citizens Rights, which guaranteed the right to property.

Holding: the Conseil d'Etat rejected the claim of the applicant and ruled that article 7 of the Decree was legal.

Reasoning: article 75-3 of the Coal Code enables the proprietor of a damages property because of a coal disaster to recover financially for the loss. The indemnification is of equivalent amount of the property so the proprietor is not deprived of anything when he is indemnified and the State becomes the owner of the damaged property. A proprietor in such a situation cannot be viewed as "deprived" of his property under article 17 of the French Declaration for Human and Citizens Rights. The Decree does not violate article 1 of the European Convention which protects the right to property, either.

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