In the late 1950 s René Savatier foretold that the qualification of economic value itself as property (bien) would have been the ultimate evolution of the theory of property rights. This prediction has come true with regard to the case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the European Court of Justice (CJEU). This paper investigates the implications of the understanding of property developed by the two European Courts on the concept of expropriation itself as well as for the principles governing expropriation law. Hence, the paper illustrates the role played by both the ECtHR and the CJEU in laying down the parameters of legitimacy for national law, including property law. Within this context, the focus falls on cases in which the Courts characterize the facts as deprivation of property requiring for compensation, even though the relevant property could not be the object of expropriation under the domestic law of the defendant State. My contribution brings new insights into the current transformation of the traditional property categories and suggests the reinterpretation of some key concepts of expropriation law.
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