Irwin Mitchell, Monckton in fight against land-grab law

Irwin Mitchell and three Monckton Chambers barristers are launching a challenge in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) against a controversial Spanish property law.

Irwin Mitchell partner Hugh Robertson is instructing a team of three Monckton juniors – Piers Gardner, Ian Rogers and Ben Rayment – on the challenge to Strasbourg against the Valencian Ley Reguladora de la Actividad Urbanística (LRAU).

The team is bringing the case under a specially constructed conditional fee arrangement (CFA), which will limit the cost to claimants even if the case is ultimately unsuccessful.

There is no UK provision for legal aid in ECHR cases, and Strasbourg has only modest legal aid funding, which prompted the need for the CFA.

Commonly known as the ‘land-grab’ law, the LRAU allows private developers to act as the agents for public authorities and to acquire private property for development – instead of for the social benefit use the law was designed for. Owners whose land has been seized say they have received inadequate compensation and protection.

Irwin Mitchell and Monckton will argue that the law is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees a right to property. They will also argue that the state can only intervene in an individual’s property ownership in a legal and justified way.