Justifications for encroachments

6.28       The most general justification for laws that interfere with vested property interests is that the interference is necessary and in the public interest.

6.29       Protocol 1, Article 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights provides:

Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.

The preceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest or to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or penalties.

6.30       Bills of rights and international law commonly provide exceptions to the right not to be deprived of property, usually provided the exception is reasonable, in accordance with the law, and/or subject to just compensation.[44] For example, the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, part of the Bill of Rights ratified in 1791, provides:

No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.[45]

6.31       There are many laws and regulations that interfere with property rights. Laws limit land use to protect the environment,[46] to balance competing private interests or for the public interest. Other laws might regulate the content and advertising of products, such as food, drinks, drugs and other substances, to protect the health and safety of Australians. Many such laws will of course be justified. The ALRC invites submissions identifying those Commonwealth laws that interfere with property rights and that are not justified, explaining why these laws are not justified.