Actual issues of property rights reform in Georgia
Keywords:property, ownership, agricultural land, entrepreneurship, court, judiciary, shares, reform, Georgia, France, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, constitution, legislation, convention, declaration
Creating legal framework and institutional guarantees compatible to modern standards of protection of human rights is among the main issues for Georgia. Georgia’s transition from soviet state to modern democracy is determined by the state of free entrepreneurship, free market economy and protection of property rights. Institutional reforms and conducted privatization underlined the importance of property rights, effective mechanisms of protection this rights and states limitation to interfere in and regulate these rights. Developing its state and democracy, Georgia had different approach concerning the ownership of agricultural land and creating mechanisms for protection of property rights of owners of real estate. At the initial state of reforms and privatization, the property right on agricultural land was granted only to Georgian citizens, while foreign citizens were permitted just lease, rent and possession. Later, companies registered in Georgia were added to the subjects of the property right on agricultural land. Next and important stage of developing property right on agricultural land was determined by the decision of Constitutional Court of Georgia declaring contradictory to the constitutional standards of property rights. Constitutional court declared that legal restriction and differentiation of foreign citizens’ rights on agricultural land contradicts to the property right granted by the Constitution of Georgia, because constitution does not consider such possibility for differentiation. Parliament with last constitutional changes in 2017, changed constitutional standard on agricultural land ownership and added provision granting the power of government to limit property rights on agricultural land of foreign citizens and foreign companies. This article analyses the practice of development of Georgian legislation and practice and compares to the German, French, Slovenia’s and Slovakia’s experience. Another actual issue discussed in this article concerns the importance of developing effective mechanisms additional to the judicial, for protecting owners’ rights. For a decade in Georgia existed non-judiciary administrative mechanism for protection of owners of real estate. While judiciary reform, weakly developed judiciary and time consuming proceedings was not effective and enough for protection and it was added by administrative execution, so called police extraction. Declaring priority of possessors’ rights protection over the owners’ rights, the Parliament of Georgia revoked this mechanism. Actual issues, problems and possible solutions for property right protection are analyzed in this article. Articulating the problems, analyzing legal basis and suggesting possible solutions, author supports the scientific discussion and research. This can assist to improve a practice of protection of property right, strengthening investing climate and free market economy, where ownership rights are duly guaranteed.
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