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  • Interpretation
  • No.516
  • Date
  • 2000/10/26
  • Issue
    • Interpretation No. 110 states that a disposition of eminent domain should not be invalidated retroactively due to the government authority’s failure to pay the compensation, including the amount added by the committee resolution in the objection procedures, within the time limit prescribed by the Land Act. Does the said Interpretation contradict Article 15 of the Constitution, which protects the people’s property rights?
  • Holding
    •       Although the State may expropriate the people’s property according to the law when it is necessary for the purpose of public use or other public interests, fair compensation shall be given. This compensation is due to the expropriation of property. For owners of expropriated property, this is a specific sacrifice for public interests, and the State shall compensate for the loss with regard to the deprivation of property or the constraint on rights. Hence, in light of the purpose of Article 15 of the Constitution to protect the property rights of the people, compensation shall not only be fair, but also be prompt. Accordingly, Article 233 of the Land Act provides that land price and other compensation due to the expropriation of land shall be given no later than “fifteen days after expiration of the period of public disclosure.” Although this statutory period may be extended upon the land authority’s presentation of the case to the committee for resolution, due to objection on the compensation for expropriation, the authority shall notify the government agency in need of the land immediately after the amount of compensation is determined by resolution, and pay the compensation to the landowner within a period not exceeding 15 days as provided in the Land Act (See Interpretation Yuan-tze No. 2704 and Interpretation No. 110). In the event the compensation is increased by an enormous amount, requiring the expenditure of the reserve fund, or that there are other special circumstances leading to the inability to pay the compensation within fifteen days, the compensation shall still be paid within a reasonable period of time after the date of confirmation of such committee resolution. Otherwise, the approval of the eminent domain shall no longer be in effect. The Resolution of the Administrative Court Joint Convention (January 17, 1996) states the following: Interpretation No. 110, Paragraph 3, provides that after the amount of compensation for expropriation of land is determined by the Standard Land Price Review Committee, the notification and payment of the compensation to the landowner by the competent authority shall not exceed the fifteen-day period as provided by Article 233 of the Land Act; nevertheless, even if it exceeds the 15-day period, the confirmed expropriation disposition could not become invalid retroactively. The portion of the abovementioned Resolution, which is inconsistent with this Interpretation and is in violation of the purpose of constitutional protection of the people’s property rights, shall no longer be applicable.
  • Reasoning
    •       Article 15 of the Constitution provides that the people’s property rights shall be protected. Its objective is to safeguard individuals’ use, profit and disposition of the property according to its existing conditions, and against the infringement by governmental power or third persons. Although the State may expropriate the people’s property according to the law when it is necessary for the purpose of public use or other public interests, fair compensation shall be given. This compensation is due to the expropriation of property. For owners of expropriated property, this is a specific sacrifice for the public interest, and the State shall compensate for the loss with regard to the deprivation of property or the constraint on rights. Hence, in light of the purpose of the Constitution to protect the property rights of the people (See Interpretations Nos. 400 and 425), compensations shall not only be fair, but also be prompt in order to minimize the loss to the owner of the property. Accordingly, the first sentence of Article 233 of the Land Act provides that “land price and other compensation due to the expropriation of land shall be given no later than fifteen days after expiration of the period of public disclosure.” Although this statutory period may be extended upon the land authority’s presentation of the case to the committee for resolution, due to objection on the compensation for expropriation, the authority shall notify the government agency in need of the land immediately after the amount of compensation is determined by resolution, and pay the compensation to the landowner within a period not exceeding 15 days as provided in the Land Act (See Interpretation Yuan-tze No. 2704 and Interpretation No. 110). The strict requirement of the aforementioned expropriation proceedings is to enforce the constitutional principle to protect the people’s property rights when the State expropriates for public use in light of the public interest (See Interpretation No. 409). With respect to the publicly announced amount of compensation for expropriation of land as provided in Article 227 of the Land Act, the amount may be deposited according to Article 237, Paragraph 1, Subparagraph 1, when the recipient objects and refuses to accept the compensation. However, if the additional amount of compensation as determined by the committee’s resolution is not paid pursuant to the law, the expropriation disposition shall be invalidated despite the completion of the aforementioned deposit. In other words, whenever there is an expropriation, there shall be compensation. It necessarily follows that the payment of compensation and the validity of the approval disposition for eminent domain are integral and inseparable. This point can also be supported by the first sentence of Article 235 of the Land Act, which provides that: “The rights and duties of the landowner regarding the land being expropriated shall terminate at the completion of the payment of compensation.” In the event the compensation is increased by an enormous amount, requiring the expenditure of the reserve fund by the entity (the government agency) in need of the land, or that there are other special circumstances leading to the inability to pay the compensation within fifteen days, the compensation shall still be paid within a reasonable period of time after the date of confirmation of such committee resolution. (According to the Act of Eminent Domain, Article 22, Paragraph 4 (February 2, 2000), the period is 3 months.) Otherwise, the approval of eminent domain shall no longer be in effect. The Resolution of the Administrative Court Joint Convention (January 17, 1996) states the following: Interpretation No. 110, Paragraph 3, provides that after the amount of compensation for expropriation of land is determined by the Standard Land Price Review Committee, the notification and payment of the compensation to the landowner by the competent authority shall not exceed the fifteen-day period as provided by Article 233 of the Land Act; nevertheless, even if it exceeds the 15-day period, the confirmed expropriation disposition could not become invalid retroactively. The portion of the abovementioned Resolution, which is inconsistent with this Interpretation and is in violation of the purpose of constitutional protection of the people’s property rights, shall no longer be applicable. 
      
    • *Translated by Pijan Wu.
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