Ministry of Finance – The pre-emption case of Kemiönsaari

Pre-emption case

Lieke assisted the Ministry of Finance in a pre-emption case concerning a property located in the municipality of Kemiönsaari before the Administrative Court of Turku and the Supreme Administrative Court. The case resulted in a positive outcome for the Ministry as its decision remained unchanged.

In spring 2022, the Ministry of Finance decided to exercise the State’s right of pre-emption for real estate transactions under Section 5 of the Act on the State’s right of pre-emption in certain areas (469/2019, the “Pre-emption Act”), because the property belonged to a protection zone under the Pre-emption Act and the exercise of the right of pre-emption was necessary for ensuring protection of national defence and monitoring and safeguarding territorial integrity. The Pre-emption Act allows the State to have a right of pre-emption in cases where the acquisition of real estate is necessary to ensure national defence, border control or border security, or to monitor and safeguard territorial integrity. The property located in the municipality of Kemiönsaari is partly adjacent to an area used by the Defence Forces.

The party who purchased the property appealed the decision to the Administrative Court of Turku, which rejected the appeal on 29 March 2023. This was the first time that a decision under the Pre-emption Act was assessed by an administrative court. In its decision, the Administrative Court found that there were legal grounds for the Ministry of Finance’s decision to exercise the right of pre-emption. The Ministry of Finance had not exercised its powers contrary to the purpose of the Pre-emption Act and the decision did not violate the principle of proportionality.

The assignment required a good knowledge of the legislation on openness of government activities and a strong understanding of the administrative process, as the case involved a considerable amount of confidential material and some of the material was also restricted as confidential from the appellant.

Lieke’s core team included partner Ville Vyyryläinen and senior associate Hanna Tuominen. The core team was assisted by partner Marja Norrena and senior associate Mira Rantamoijanen.

Read more in the Ministry of Finance’s press release here.

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