AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF


Application No. 11766/85
by LÖPARÖ FISKEVATTENÄGAREFÖRENING
against Sweden


        The European Commission of Human Rights sitting in private on
9 March 1989, the following members being present:

                MM.  C.A. NØRGAARD, President
                     J.A. FROWEIN
                     F. ERMACORA
                     G. SPERDUTI
                     E. BUSUTTIL
                     G. JÖRUNDSSON
                     A.S. GÖZÜBÜYÜK
                     A. WEITZEL
                     J.C. SOYER
                     H.G. SCHERMERS
                     H. DANELIUS
                     G. BATLINER
                     H. VANDENBERGHE
                M.   F. MARTINEZ
                Mrs.  J. LIDDY
                Mr.  L. LOUCAIDES

                Mr.  H.C. KRÜGER, Secretary to the Commission


        Having regard to Article 25 of the Convention for the
Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;

        Having regard to the application introduced on 18 September
1985 by Löparö fiskevattenägareförening against Sweden and registered
on 26 September 1985 under file No. 11766/85;

        Having regard to the report provided for in Rule 40 of the
Rules of Procedure of the Commission;

        Having regard to the observations submitted by the Government
on 14 October 1987 and 28 March 1988 and the applicants' observations
of 4 December 1987 as well as the submissions of the parties at the
hearing held on 9 March 1989;

        Having deliberated;

        Decides as follows:


THE FACTS

        The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be
summarised as follows.

        The application is brought by the Löparö association of fishing
water owners (Löparö fiskevattenägareförening).  The association
administers the fishing of "Löparö skifteslag" which owns fishing
waters in the Baltic Sea in the County of Stockholm.  The water area is
832 hectares.  The fishing in the area is common for the following
properties and owners:


        Löparö 1:4      Löparö Tomtägareförening        13,125 %

          "    1:9      Kerstin Sandberg                14,453 %

                        (Claes-Göran Jöngren      )
                        (Bengt Jöngren            )
          "    1:10     (Ann-Marie Stoimenov      )      2,344 %
                        (G-B J.                   )

          "    1:11     Tore Södergren                   1,953 %

          "    1:122    Gösta Halvarsson                18,125 %

          "    2:2      (Åke Nilsson              )
          "    2:4      (Ragnhild Bäcker          )     32,813 %
                        (Rolf Nilsson             )

                        (Ulf Rosén                )
          "    2:3      (Claes Herdenstam         )      9,375 %
                        (Olof Stark               )

          "    2:18     Harry Berndtsson                 0,244 %

          "    2:19     (Lena Larsson             )      7,373 %
                        (Kerstin Margareta Wacha  )

          "    2:20     Ragnar Andersson                 0,195 %
                                                    ______________

                                                       100,000 %


        All the property owners, except G-B J., have submitted
powers of attorney for Mr.  Bo Nilsson, Chief Legal Adviser of the
Federation of Swedish Farmers (Lantbrukarnas Riksförbund) to represent
them before the Commission.

        Of the total water area two areas of altogether 298 hectares
are leased out through the sale of fishing cards for fishing with
hand-held tackle.  The income for 1984 was 7,560 Swedish Crowns.
The remaining water area is used by the property owners themselves.

        On 1 May 1985 new legislation entered into force which made
fishing with hand-held tackle (handredskapsfiske) licence-free for
everybody.  Thereby the applicants' exclusive right to such fishing in
their waters has been transformed so that everybody is now entitled to
fish with hand-held tackle in these waters.

        The 1985 legislation involved in essence an amendment of the
Fishing Rights Act (lagen om rätt till fiske) and a new Act on
Compensation for Interferences with Private Fishing Rights (lagen om
ersättning för intrång i enskild fiskerätt; hereinafter referred to as
"the Compensation Act").

        The amendment of the Fishing Rights Act consisted essentially
of the introduction of a Section 20 a which reads as follows :

        (Swedish)

        "Vid kusten av Östhammars kommun i Uppsala län, Stockholms
        län, Södermanlands län, Östergötlands län, Kalmar län,
        Gotlands län och Blekinge län samt i Vänern, Vättern,
        Mälaren, Hjälmaren och Storsjön i Jämtland får svenska
        medborgare, utöver vad som följer av 7-11 och 14-20 §§, fiska
        i enskilt vatten med metspö, kastspö, pilk och liknande
        handredskap som är utrustat med lina och krok.  Redskapet får
        dock inte ha mer än tio krokar.  Ej heller får fiskemetoden
        som sådan kräva användning av båt.

        (English translation)

        "Along the coast of the municipality of Östhammar of the
        county of Uppsala, the county of Stockholm, the county of
        Östergötland, the county of Kalmar, the county of Gotland,
        the county of Blekinge and in the lakes of Vänern, Vättern,
        Mälaren, Hjälmaren and Storsjön of Jämtland, Swedish citizens
        may, subject to the provisions of Sections 7-11 and 14-20,
        fish in private waters with rod, casting rod, jig and similar
        hand-held tackle equipped with line and hook.  The tackle may
        however not include more than ten hooks.  The fishing method
        may also not require the use of a boat."

        Section 1 para. 1 of the Compensation Act provides as follows:

        (Swedish)

        "Medför bestämmelserna om handredskapsfiske enligt 20 a §
        lagen (1950:596) om rätt till fiske ett inkomstbortfall för
        den som är innehavare av enskild fiskerätt, har han enligt
        denna lag rätt till ersättning av staten för
        inkomstbortfallet."

        (English translation)

        "If the provisions on fishing with hand-held tackle under
        Section 20 a of the Fishing Rights Act involve a loss of
        income for the proprietor of a private fishing right he is
        entitled under this Act to compensation from the State for
        the loss of income."

        A transitional provision to the Compensation Act provides
that income received as a result of measures taken after 1 March 1984
shall not be the basis for the calculation of compensation under the
Act.

        In the Government Bill 1984/85:107 (pp. 42-43), the Minister of
Agriculture made inter alia the following statements:

        The purpose of making fishing with hand-held tackle free was to
meet the public's interest in leisure activities.  In most cases no
damage would be done to the fishing rights owner if fishing with
hand-held tackle was made free.  However, in some special cases there
ought to be a possibility for the fishing rights owner to receive
compensation.  For a right to compensation it ought to be required that
the interference was somewhat substantial.  Everyone must be prepared
to accept a certain interference in the public interest without
compensation.  Since free fishing with hand-held tackle would not
affect the use of the water for other purposes than fishing the
compensation rule could be restricted to cover interferences which
resulted in ongoing use of fishing in private waters being rendered
considerably more difficult.  Compensation should not be paid for other
interferences than in ongoing use of water for fishing.  If the waters
had not previously been used for fishing there could be no
compensation.  Expectation values should thus not be compensated.  The
compensation should be assessed on the basis of actual loss of income
suffered by the individual fishing rights owner as a result of the
free fishing with hand-held tackle.  For a right to compensation it
ought to be required that the damage did not appear to be
insignificant seen in absolute figures.

        Before the Government's proposal was submitted to Parliament,
it was examined by the Law Council (lagrådet), composed of two judges
of the Supreme Court (högsta domstolen) and one judge of the Supreme
Administrative Court (regeringsrätten).  The Law Council found,
although proposing a certain increase in the right to compensation,
that the proposed legislation did not violate the Swedish
Constitution.

        When the proposed legislation was examined in Parliament the
Standing Committee on Agriculture (jordbruksutskottet) made the
following statement (JoU 1984/85:20, page 15):

"The Committee supports the statement made by the Minister of
Agriculture that this is not a question of such transfer of
property which is covered by the provision in Chapter 2
Section 18 of the Instrument of Government on expropriation.
However, the Committee also shares the view of the Minister of
Agriculture that it is important that the question of
compensation is given a satisfactory solution with regard to
the protection of the individual at which the said
constitutional provision is aiming.  For that reason those
private fishing rights owners who suffer financial losses
as a result of the free fishing with hand-held tackle, should
be entitled to compensation for such losses in accordance with
grounds laid down in the law.  It is reasonable that this right
to compensation covers every personal financial loss which the
fishing rights owners may suffer."

        Claims for compensation should be submitted to the National
Board of Fisheries (fiskeristyrelsen) before the end of 1989.  The
National Board of Fisheries decides on issues of compensation.  No
appeal lies against this decision.  However, a property owner who is
not satisfied with a decision of the National Board of Fisheries can
institute proceedings before the Real Estate Court
(fastighetsdomstolen).
        The background and reasons for the 1985 legislation are
described as follows by the Government (with reference to the
Government Bill 1984/85:107):

        The reform constitutes a part of the public recreation policy.
From the social aspect it is important for people to have
opportunities for relaxation and activities in their leisure time.
This need increases as leisure time increases and daily work requires
less physical effort.  There are numerous obstacles limiting
opportunities for utilising leisure time.  Many leisure activities
require expensive equipment.  One's own holiday cottage, a craft or
caravan and access to a car are often required to get to recreation
areas.  People living in large towns often live far from unexploited
countryside and the recreation facilities offered thereby.
Furthermore, many people who have moved to the towns previously had a
natural and spontaneous contact with unspoiled nature which is now
lost.  Recreational fishing means a great deal to these people.  All
three of the big-city areas in Sweden are located close to the sea
coast.  Two of them also offer suitable lakes in the immediate vicinity
of residential areas.  Distance therefore does not have to be a problem
for those who wish to go fishing in their leisure time.  However,
recreational fishing requires access to suitable fishing waters in the
big-city areas.  In the Gothenburg and Malmö areas it was possible for
everyone to fish on the coast, but in the Stockholm area this was
prevented by the fishery legislation which meant that fishing near the
beaches and in most of the archipelago area was an exclusive right of
the owner of the fishing rights.

        Furthermore, an important task for society is to make a wide
range of leisure activities available to all.  This is particularly
important since the opportunity of leisure activities and exercise is
of great significance to health, adjustment and well-being in society.
Recreational fishing offers unique opportunities for contact with
nature, exercise and relaxation and it is open to anyone.  It activates
people from all groups of society.  The social bias often evident in
other leisure activities does not exist in recreational fishing.  It is
also an important supplement to other leisure activities such as
boating, hiking, holiday trips and camping.  Recreational fishing can
also provide an added source of livelihood, enabling settling in
sparsely populated areas where other sources of livelihood are
limited.  An important task for society is to contribute to offering
the public a rich and varied range of leisure opportunities.
Experience shows that active recreational fishing plays an important
part in the social recreation policy.

        In the Bill submitted to Parliament, in which the reform was
proposed, the Minister of Agriculture stated the following:

"It is unusually difficult to obtain any clear picture of the
current legislation on fishing rights.  This is evident from
the summary of the system of regulations given in the
memorandum.  Regulations which at the time they were issued may
have seemed reasonable and fair, now appear difficult to
understand, complicated and sometimes illogical.  One of the
most striking examples of this is that on certain stretches of
the coast the public may fish freely with nets but may not use
hand-held tackle.  The provisions of the Fishing Act are
supplemented by provisions concerning conservation and
operation of fishing issued by the Government in the Ordinance
on Fishery and other provisions notified by the National Board
of Fisheries or by the County Administrative Boards.  This

accumulation of regulations is extremely extensive and
contains such a multitude of detail that it is difficult for
an individual to acquire adequate information as to where,
when and how he may fish.  The fact that the regulations are
often considered complicated or are misunderstood entails an
apparent risk of even regulations which are well-motivated
from the conservation aspect being disregarded.

Even today the owners of fishing rights do not make full claim
to their rights, but allow the public to fish with hand-held
tackle and even with nets along large parts of the coastal
stretches now under discussion.

In the light of this I look upon the proposal to increase the
public's opportunities to fish freely with hand-held tackle
as a natural and essential step towards simplification.  If it
is implemented, this will allow fishing with hand-held tackle
in both public and private waters along all coasts and in the
large lakes.  The only limitation remaining will be the
exclusion of salmon fishing along the coast of Norrland (from
Östhammar municipality to the Finnish border).  As long as only
hand-held tackle are used, the reform will relieve both the
public and the authorities of keeping track of where the
boundary lies between public and private waters.  Besides the
other reasons favouring the reform, I also consider this
simplification to have a considerable intrinsic value.

As appears from what I have already submitted, Parliament on
two previous occasions, by requesting a proposal from the
Government, has already reached a decision in principle to
allow fishing with hand-held tackle to be free.  The task of
the Government now, therefore, is to draw up the legislative
proposals required to implement the reform.  Replacing this
reform by forming fishery conservation areas within all
private waters in the areas under discussion is, for several
reasons, not a realistic alternative.  Fishery conservation
areas cannot simply replace free fishing with hand-held
tackle.  The formation of such conservation areas aims
primarily at improving fishery conservation and not at giving
the public free access to fishing.  Furthermore, in my opinion,
fishery conservation areas formed compulsorily, as they often
would be, would constitute a far greater interference with the
individual's rights than the free fishing with hand-held
tackle.  Voluntary formation of fishery conservation areas
which can give the public access to fishing-grounds to the
same extent as free fishing with hand-held tackle cannot be
expected within a reasonable time.

However, the reform should not entail any new obstacles to the
formation of fishery conservation areas."

        The Standing Committee on Agriculture made the following
statement (JoU 1984/85:26 p. 10):

        "The Government's proposal... means that Parliament's
        wish, expressed two years ago, is now satisfied.  An important
        recreational political reform is implemented since fishing
        with hand-held tackle, in the future, will be free along all
        coasts of Sweden and in the large lakes...  It is a strong
        public interest to make possible, in this way, an increased
        offer of leisure activities to the population in for instance
        the metropolitan areas...  The Committee also finds it
        valuable that the fishing legislation is considerably
        simplified by the proposal."

        The applicants have submitted an estimate of the value loss
they have suffered as a result of the 1985 reform.  In this estimate it
is stated that the Compensation Act could entitle the applicants to
compensation in the amount of approximately 61,000 SEK for the water
area in which fishing was leased before the 1985 reform.  However, the
value loss suffered by the applicants can be estimated at 575,000 SEK.
The 1985 reform has therefore involved a loss of approximately
514,000 SEK.

        Chapter 2 Section 18 of the Instrument of Government
(regeringsformen) reads:

        (Swedish)

        "Varje medborgare vilkens egendom tages i anspråk genom
        expropriation eller annat sådant förfogande skall vara
        tillförsäkrad ersättning för förlusten enligt grunder som
        bestämmes i lag."

        (English translation)

        "Every citizen whose property is taken through expropriation
        or other similar use shall be entitled to compensation for the
        loss according to rules laid down by law."

        Chapter 11 Section 14 of the Instrument of Government reads:

        (Swedish)

        "Finner domstol eller annat offentligt organ att en föreskrift
        står i strid med bestämmelse i grundlag eller annan överordnad
        författning eller att stadgad ordning i något väsentligt
        hänseende har åsidosatts vid dess tillkomst, får föreskriften
        icke tillämpas.  Har riksdagen eller regeringen beslutat
        föreskriften, skall tillämpning dock underlåtas endast om
        felet är uppenbart."

        (English translation)

        "If a court or other public authority finds that a regulation
        is in conflict with a provision in the Constitution or other
        superior legislation or that the prescribed procedure in some
        significant respect has not been observed when it was adopted,
        the regulation may not be applied.  However, if Parliament or
        the Government have issued the regulation, it shall be
        applied unless the irregularity is manifest."

COMPLAINTS

1.      The applicants complain that the deprivation of their
exclusive right to fishing violates Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the
Convention.  The decision of Parliament implies that the applicants
cannot in future lease out the right to fish with hand-held tackle.
The applicants submit that the interference with their property right
does not comply with the condition in Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 of
being "provided for by law".  The rules on compensation are arbitrary,
discriminatory and unfair, and not in conformity with Chapter 2
Section 18 of the Instrument of Government, which guarantees
compensation for "expropriation or other similar use".  In addition,
the interference does not serve any legitimate public interest.

2.      The applicants complain that there has been a violation of
Article 14 of the Convention in conjunction with Article 1 of Protocol
No. 1 as a result of the difference in the right to compensation.

3.      The applicants further complain that there has been a breach
of Article 6 para. 1 of the Convention.  As a result of the decision
of Parliament the applicants have been deprived of a civil right,
contrary to Chapter 2 Section 18 of the Instrument of Government and,
yet, they do not have access to a tribunal for the determination of
their objections to this deprivation of property.

4.      Finally, the applicants allege a breach of Article 13 of the
Convention in that there exists no effective remedy in respect of the
alleged breaches of the Convention.

PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COMMISSION

        The application was introduced on 18 September 1985 and
registered on 26 September 1985.

        On 4 May 1987 the Commission decided to communicate the
application to the respondent Government and to invite them to
submit written observations on the admissibility and merits of the
application.

        The Government's observations were received by letter dated
14 October 1987 and the applicants' observations were dated 4 December
1987.  The Government submitted supplementary observations by letter
dated 28 March 1988.

        On 10 October 1988 the Commission decided to invite the
parties to a hearing on the admissibility and merits of the
application.

        The hearing was held on 9 March 1989.  It was a joint hearing
involving also Applications Nos. 11763/85, 11764/85, 11765/85, 11767/85,
11830/85 and 12091/86.  At the hearing the parties were
represented as follows:

The Government

Mr.  Hans CORELL              Ambassador, Under-Secretary for
                             Legal and Consular Affairs, Ministry
                             for Foreign Affairs, Agent
Mr.  Ulf ANDERSSON            Assistant Under-Secretary, Ministry
                             for the Environment and Energy, Adviser
Mr.  Carl Henrik EHRENKRONA   Legal Adviser, Ministry for Foreign
                             Affairs, Adviser
Mr.  Pär BOQVIST              Legal Adviser, Ministry for Foreign
                             Affairs, Adviser

The Applicants

Mr.  Michaël HERNMARCK (Applications Nos. 11763 and 11764/85), Lawyer
Mr.  Bo NILSSON (Applications Nos. 11765 - 11767/85), Chief Legal Adviser
Mr.  Lars-Åke LINDBERG (assisting Mr.  Bo Nilsson), Legal Adviser
Mr.  Bertil GRENNBERG (Application No. 11830/85), Patent Attorney
Mr.  Jan AXELSSON (Application No. 12091/86), Lawyer
THE LAW

1.      The application is brought by the Löparö association of fishing
water owners.  The association administers the fishing of the "Löparö
skifteslag".  This means that the fishing rights is undivided between
the properties belonging to the "skifteslag".  Consequently, the
ownership of the fishing right in the water area at issue is a joint
ownership between the owners of the individual properties belonging to
the "skifteslag".

        In the Commission's opinion only the owners of the fishing
rights can claim to be the "victim" of violations of the Convention within the
meaning of Article 25 (Art. 25) of the Convention resulting from the 1985
reform (cf.  No. 9939/82, Dec. 4.7.83, D.R. 34 p. 213).  As all the owners of
the individual properties, except for G-B J., have submitted powers of attorney
the Commission has examined the application as lodged by the individual
property owners, except G-B J.

2.      The applicants complain that the new legislation which was introduced
on 1 May 1985 and gave everybody a right to licence-free fishing with hand-held
tackle in the applicants' fishing waters involved a violation of Article 1 of
Protocol No. 1 (P1-1) to the Convention.

        Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (P1-1) reads as follows:

        "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."

        The Government submit that the application should be rejected for
failure to exhaust domestic remedies or, alternatively, as being manifestly
ill-founded.

3.      As to the condition of exhaustion of domestic remedies in Article 26
(P1-1) of the Convention, the Government submit that the applicants have failed
to apply to the National Board of Fisheries for compensation under the
Compensation Act.  If such an application were unsuccessful the applicants
could bring an action against the State before the Real Estate Court.  In such
proceedings they could argue that the 1985 legislation is contrary to Chapter 2
Section 18 of the Instrument of Government and, if such an argument were
accepted, the Court could refuse to apply the legislation in application of
Chapter 11 Section 14 of the Instrument of Government.

        The applicants reply that, under the Compensation Act, the right to
compensation is so restricted that it does not cover the applicants' claims
concerning loss of value and the courts can only refuse to apply the
legislation if it is proven that the law is "manifestly" contrary to the
Instrument of Government, which cannot be proved since the Act has been
examined by the Law Council and not been declared unconstitutional.

        Article 26 (Art. 26) of the Convention provides that the Commission may
only deal with a matter "after all domestic remedies have been exhausted,
according to the generally recognised rules of international law, and within a
period of six months from the date on which the final decision was taken".  It
is established case-law that "the final decision" refers only to domestic
remedies which can be considered to be "effective and sufficient" for the
purpose of rectifying the subject-matter of the complaint (see, inter alia, No.
9599/81, Dec. 11.3.85, D.R. 42 p. 33).  In a recent case against Sweden (No.
12810/87, Dec. 18.1.89, not yet published) the Commission found that a
compensation claim based on Chapter 2 Section 18 of the Instrument of
Government was not an "effective remedy" in the circumstances of that case.

        The issue of non-exhaustion in the present case is twofold; on the one
hand, whether the applicants could secure compensation under the Compensation
Act and, on the other hand, whether they could secure compensation under
Chapter 2 Section 18 of the Instrument of Government.

        The applicants' complaints are that they have suffered a value loss of
their properties as a result of the 1985 reform in the amount of 575,000 SEK
and the Compensation Act could only entitle them to compensation for loss of
income concerning one part of the fishing waters.  The possible compensation
under the said Act is estimated at approximately 61,000 SEK. This part of the
application, in respect of which the applicants have not yet exhausted domestic
remedies, does not form part of the complaints before the Commission.  The
applicants do not allege that they have lost any other income possible to
compensate under the Compensation Act.  Consequently, the applicants' complaint
under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (P1-1) is limited to the alleged deprivation
of property and the value loss it allegedly involves.  The applicants estimate
the loss at 514,000 SEK.

        There is no case-law showing that the applicants could secure
compensation on this basis under the Compensation Act.  Furthermore, having
regard to the text of the Compensation Act including its transitional provision
and the preparatory works, the Commission finds that the Government have failed
to show that the Compensation Act could possibly secure the applicants any
compensation for these alleged financial losses.

        As regards compensation on the basis of the constitutional provision in
the Instrument of Government, the Commission notes that a court could only
grant compensation under that provision if it found that the Compensation Act
was "manifestly" contrary to the Constitution.  In view of the fact that the
Compensation Act was examined by the Law Council, composed of two judges of the
Supreme Court and one judge of the Supreme Administrative Court, which found
that its provisions did not violate the Constitution, it cannot be held that a
compensation claim based on Chapter 2 Section 18 is an "effective" remedy in
the circumstances.

        Consequently, the application cannot be rejected, under Article 27
para. 3 (Art. 27-3) in conjunction with Article 26 (Art. 26) of the Convention,
for failure to exhaust domestic remedies.

4.      The Commission has next examined whether the application is manifestly
ill-founded, as claimed by the Government.  It here notes that, prior to the
introduction of the new legislation in 1985, the applicants had an exclusive
right to use their own waters for fishing. The new provision in Section 20 a of
the Fishing Rights Act implies that the applicants no longer have an exclusive
right to fishing with hand-held tackle.  In this respect, everybody has
henceforth the right to fish in their waters.

        The Commission considers that the introduction of the new legislation
in 1985 and its effects constitute an interference with the applicants' right
to the peaceful enjoyment of their possessions as guaranteed by Article 1 of
Protocol No. 1 (P1-1).  It must therefore be examined whether this interference
was justified under the terms of Article 1 (Art. 1).

        Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (P1-1) guarantees the right of property.
It comprises three rules.  The first rule which is set out in the
first sentence of the first paragraph is of a general nature and
enunciates the principle of the peaceful enjoyment of property.  The
second rule, which is set out in the second sentence of the first
paragraph, covers deprivation of possessions and subjects it to
certain conditions.  The third rule, which is set out in the second
paragraph, recognises that the Contracting States are entitled,
amongst other things, to control the use of property in accordance
with the general interest.  The three rules are connected.  The second
and third rules are concerned with particular instances of
interference with the right to peaceful enjoyment of property and are
therefore to be construed in the light of the general principle
enunciated in the first rule.

        A preliminary issue under Article 1 (Art.1) is whether in the present
case the interference with the right to peaceful enjoyment of
possessions is to be regarded as a deprivation of possessions (the
second rule), control of the use of property (the third rule) or a
third form of interference to be considered under the first rule.

5.      In order to determine this issue, it is appropriate to recall
the general legal situation concerning fishing rights and the
particular situation of the applicants as well as the public's rights
before and after the 1985 law reform.

        Before the 1985 reform the regulations concerning fishing
rights were very complicated and differed according to the
geographical area concerned.  For instance, the three big-city areas of
Sweden (Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö) are situated close to water
areas.  In the Gothenburg and Malmö areas fishing with hand-held tackle
on the coast was open to everybody also before the 1985 reform.
However, in the Stockholm area such fishing near the shores, in the
archipelago area and in the lake of Mälaren, was the exclusive right
of the fishing rights owner.  On some stretches of the coast outside
Gotland and Blekinge fishing with nets was free but not with hand-held
tackle.  The result of the 1985 reform was that fishing with hand-held
tackle was free along all coasts and in the large lakes in both public
and private waters, apart from salmon fishing along the northeast
coast.

        The public's right of access to private land (allemansrätten)
implies that any land owner in Sweden must accept that everybody uses
his land in certain manners.  As regards water areas everybody is

entitled to travel by boat or swim across and temporarily stay in
private waters, and, in the winter time, to walk or otherwise move
around on the ice provided that serious inconveniences are not caused
to the owner.  As regards the use of land everybody may pass over
private land by foot.  It is permitted to camp for a short while, to
swim and to make picnics.

        The 1985 reform gave the public a right to fish in private
waters.  This fishing right was however limited to fishing with
hand-held tackle.  The property owner retained the exclusive right to
other manners of fishing, for instance with net.  The result of the
reform was, consequently, that the land owner was deprived of his
previous exclusive right to fish with hand-held tackle.  The essential
economical significance of this was that the land owner could no
longer make any profit from this sort of fishing by selling fishing
cards or otherwise.

        The 1985 reform was not limited to a restricted number of
properties, but covered all properties on the Swedish east coast from
the municipality of Östhammar in the County of Uppsala to Blekinge
County and all the properties in or around the five largest lakes,
including the lake of Mälaren.

6.      As regards the question whether the applicants have been
deprived of property, the Commission recalls that, according to the
established case-law, deprivation of property within the meaning of
Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (P1-1) is not limited to cases where property is
formally expropriated, i.e. where there is a transfer of the title to
the property. "Deprivation" may also exist where the measure
complained of affects the substance of the property to such a degree
that there has been a de facto expropriation or where the measure
complained of "can be assimilated to a deprivation of possessions"
(cf.  Eur.  Court H.R., Sporrong and Lönnroth judgment of 23 September
1982, Series A no. 52, p. 24, para. 63).

        It is clear that the applicants have not been formally
deprived of their property.  They still retain the title to it.  The
applicants have also not been deprived of their right to fish,
including the right to fish with hand-held tackle.  What they have lost
is their right to exclude others from fishing with hand-held tackle.

        Legislation of a general character affecting and redefining
the rights of property owners cannot normally be assimilated to
expropriation even if some aspect of the property right is thereby
interfered with or even taken away.  There are many examples in the
Contracting States that the right to property is redefined as a result
of legislative acts.  Indeed, the wording of Article 1 para. 2 (Art. 1-2) shows
that general rules regulating the use of property are not to be
considered as expropriation.  The Commission finds support for this
view in the national laws of many countries which make a clear
distinction between, on the one hand, general legislation redefining
the content of the property right and expropriation, on the other.

        The Commission has for the same reasons in cases concerning
rent regulations, which have seriously affected the right to property,
nevertheless held that such regulations fall to be considered under
the "control of use" rule (cf.  Mellacher and others v.  Austria, Comm.
Rep. 11.7.88, at present pending before the European Court of Human
Rights).

        The Commission observes in the present case that the aim of
the 1985 reform was to extend the public's right to fish with
hand-held tackle.  This right had existed in large areas of
Sweden already before 1985.  In those areas the property owners could
not exclude fishing with hand-held tackle.  This shows that the
restrictions at issue were not alien to the property of fishing waters
in Sweden even before 1985.  The restrictions which this reform
entailed on the applicants' right to their property cannot be
assimilated to expropriation or be said to have had such severe
consequences that they affected the substance of the right to
property.

        Consequently, the Commission finds that the applicants were
not deprived of their possessions and the second sentence of the first
paragraph of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (P1-1) does not apply.

7.      The Commission considers that the restrictions on the
applicants' property must be examined under the "control of use"
rule in the second paragraph of Article 1 (Art. 1).

        The applicants argue that the second paragraph cannot
apply since the 1985 reform does not involve any true "control" of any
"use" which they have made of their property.  However, the French text
speaks of "réglementer l'usage des biens", which more accurately
describes what, in the Commission's view, must be the purpose of the
second paragraph.  This provision must be understood to permit the
enforcement of laws which are deemed necessary to regulate the use
of property.

        The Commission considers that the 1985 reform was a law which
was enforced to regulate the use of property.  The question of the
justification of the interference created by the 1985 reform must
therefore be examined under the second paragraph of Article 1 of
Protocol No. 1 (P1-1), to establish whether the interference was "lawful",
whether it pursued a "general interest", and whether it was
proportionate and therefore could be "deemed necessary".

        The Commission here notes that interference with the
applicants' fishing rights was provided for by the set of provisions
contained in the 1985 legislative reform, notably Section 20 a of the
Fishing Rights Act and the Compensation Act.  It is true that,
according to the applicants, the interference with their rights was
unlawful under the Swedish Constitution.  The Commission, however,
having regard to the background of the 1985 legislation and the
finding of the Law Council, concerning the compatibility of the new
legislation with the Constitution, cannot find that the 1985
legislation failed to meet the requirement in Article 1 (Art. 1) of being
"lawful".

        The condition of "general interest" leaves a wide margin of
appreciation to the national legislation.  The Convention organs will
respect the legislator's judgment as to what is a "general interest"
unless that judgment be "manifestly without reasonable foundation"
(cf.  Mellacher Report, loc. cit., para. 206).

        The applicants contest that the interference was in the
"general interest".

        The Commission notes that the aim of the 1985 Act was to make
recreational fishing with hand-held tackle available to everybody.  The
Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture stated as its opinion
that the legislation was an important recreational political reform.
It considered that it was a strong public interest to provide, in this
way, for an increased opportunity of leisure activities for the public
inter alia in the metropolitan areas.  It was also valuable that the
provisions concerning fishing rights were considerably simplified by
the reform.

        The Swedish Parliament's opinion that such a reform was in
"the general interest" cannot in the Commission's view be considered
to transgress the margin of appreciation left to the democratic
institutions when regulating the rights of property owners and finding
the right balance between the individual and the public interests.  The
Commission again notes in this context that the right of the public to
fish with hand-tackle existed in large areas of Swedish waters already
before the reform of 1985.

        As regards proportionality, the Commission recalls that, under
paragraph 2 of Article 1 (Art. 1-2), the State may enforce such laws as it
"deems necessary".  In the application of this test of necessity regard must be
had to the principle of respect for peaceful enjoyment of possessions which is
enunciated in the opening sentence of Article 1 (Art. 1). For this reason the
Commission must also examine "whether a reasonable relationship of
proportionality existed between the means employed and the aim sought to be
realised", or in other words, "whether a fair balance was struck between the
demands of the general interest in this respect and the interest of the
individual or individuals concerned" (Eur.  Court H.R., Agosi judgment of 24
October 1986, Series A no. 108, p. 18, para. 52 and Sporrong and Lönnroth
judgment, loc. cit., p. 26, para. 69).

        The applicants stress that since they did not receive any compensation
for the loss in value of their properties the requirement of proportionality
was not met.

        It follows from the case-law of the Convention organs that as regards
deprivation of possessions there is normally an inherent right to compensation
(Eur.  Court H.R., James and Others judgment of 21 February 1986, Series A no.
98, p. 36, para. 54 and Lithgow and Others judgment of 8 July 1986, Series A
no. 102, p. 51, para. 122).  However, in the Commission's view such a right to
compensation is not inherent in the second paragraph.  The legislation
regulating the use of property sets the framework in which the property may be
used and does not, as a rule, contain any right to compensation.  This general
distinction between expropriation and regulation of use is known in many, if
not all, Convention countries.

        This does not exclude that the law may provide for compensation in
cases where a regulation of use may have severe economic consequences to the
detriment of the property owner.  The Commission is not required to establish
in the abstract under which circumstances Article 1 (Art. 1) may require that
compensation be paid in such cases.  When assessing the proportionality of the
regulation in question it will be of relevance whether compensation is
available and to what extent a concrete economic loss was caused by the
legislation.

        The 1985 legislation comprises a special Compensation Act which
provided a right for the fishing rights owner to claim compensation for loss of
income resulting from the free fishing with hand-held tackle.  Except for the
loss of income relating to the area in which fishing permits were sold before
1985, there is a dispute between the parties as to the interpretation of the
right to compensation under the Compensation Act and as to whether the
applicants would have any further right to compensation thereunder.

        The Commission accepts the opinion of the Swedish Parliament that the
interference created by the introduction of free fishing with hand-held tackle
may in general be regarded as a comparatively minor interference.  It also
accepts that it may be regarded as an important "general interest" to make
fishing waters available for everybody.

        The Commission further recalls that the interference with the
applicants' property right was limited to one form of fishing in their waters,
namely fishing with hand-held tackle.  Except for parts of the water area the
applicants had not before the reform derived any income from such fishing.
They cannot, therefore, claim any direct loss of income from the reform in the
other water areas.  As to the allegation that the value of their properties was
reduced, the Commission notes that the legislation affected many fishing
properties all over Sweden and it is not easy to see how a specific and
concrete reduction in value could result from this general legislation.  Even
assuming that some theoretical loss in value could be established, the
Commission cannot find that such a loss caused by general legislation must
necessarily be compensated on the basis of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (P1-1).

        Given the State's wide margin of appreciation in this domain the
Commission considers that the interference with the applicants' property right
cannot be held to be disproportionate.  Consequently, the Swedish State was
entitled under the second paragraph of Article 1 (Art. 1) to "deem necessary"
the enforcement of the 1985 legislation with the effects it had on the
applicants' property right.

        Accordingly, the interference with the applicants' property right was
justified under the terms of the second paragraph of Article 1 of Protocol No.
1 (P1-1).

        It follows that this part of the application is manifestly ill-founded
within the meaning of Article 27 para. 2 (Art. 27-2) of the Convention.

8.      The applicants claim that they have been victims of discrimination in
the enjoyment of their possessions under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (P1-1).
They allege a breach of Article 14 (Art. 14) of the Convention which provides:

"The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in
this Convention shall be secured without discrimination
on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language,
religion, political or other opinion, national or social
origin, association with a national minority, property,
birth or other status."

        According to the applicants persons in an equal position are
treated unequally as regards compensation under the 1985 Compensation
Act.  The Government argue that the fishing rights owners belonged to
two different categories according to whether or not they had
previously had an income from their waters.  Furthermore, they were
not subject to differential treatment as the same compensation rules
applied to all of them.

        The Commission does not find that differential treatment is
excluded because the legislation applies to all fishing rights owners.
The criterion is whether the legislation effectively entailed
differences of treatment in regard to the fishing rights owners.  The
Commission finds that there was a difference of treatment as one group
of owners received no compensation at all, namely those who had
previously not had any income from their fishing waters.

        However, for the purpose of Article 14 (Art. 14) a difference of
treatment is only discriminatory if it does not pursue a legitimate
aim and there is no reasonable relationship of proportionality between
the means employed and the aim sought to be realised (see, inter alia,
Eur.  Court H.R., Belgian Linguistic judgment of 23rd July 1968,
Series A no. 6, pp. 33-34, paras. 9-10).

        An examination of the complaint under Article 14 (Art. 14) thus amounts
in substance to an examination similar to the one carried out above under
Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (P1-1), and the Commission sees no reason to
diverge from its previous conclusion.  The aim pursued by the legislation was a
legitimate one in the general interest and having regard to the State's margin
of appreciation the principle of proportionality was not infringed.  The
provisions in the Compensation Act restricted the right to compensation to
"loss of income", thereby excluding the fishing rights owners who had not
previously had an income from leasing or selling.  This distinction has a
reasonable and objective justification and is consequently not discriminatory.

        The Commission therefore finds that the facts of the case do not
disclose a violation of Article 14 (Art. 14) of the Convention taken in
conjunction with Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (P1-1) to the Convention.

        It follows that this aspect of the application is also manifestly
ill-founded within the meaning of Article 27 para. 2 (Art. 27-2) of the
Convention.

9.      The applicants further allege a violation of Article 6 para. 1 (Art.
6-1) , first sentence of the Convention which provides:

        "In the determination of his civil rights and obligations
        or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled
        to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an
        independent and impartial tribunal established by law."

        The applicants complain that the 1985 Act, without further
implementing measures, interfered with their private property right and
hence their "civil rights".  The interference, in the applicants'
opinion, amounts to a violation of the Swedish Constitution.  However,
they cannot bring this claim before any court in Sweden since
Parliament is the supreme body as regards the interpretation of the
Constitution and a court may only set aside the law if the law is
considered to be "manifestly" in conflict with the Constitution.

        The Government argue that Article 6 para. 1 (Art. 6-1) does not grant a
right of access to court in order to challenge a law.

        The Commission recalls that in the James and Others judgment
(loc. cit., p. 46, para. 81) the Court stated:

        "Confirmation of this analysis is to be found in the fact
        that Article 6 § 1 (Art. 6-1) does not require that there be a national
        court with competence to invalidate or override national law.
        In the present case, the immediate consequence of the British
        legislation in issue is that the landlord cannot challenge
        the tenant's entitlement to acquire the property compulsorily
        in so far as the acquisition is in conformity with the
        legislation."

        The Commission considers that the "right" to exclusive fishing
with hand-held tackle, which the applicants had prior to the law, was
taken away from them by the new law adopted by Parliament without any
further implementing measures.  A Swedish court could only examine a
claim of a breach of the Constitution if it had competence to
invalidate or set aside a law adopted by Parliament.  However, it follows from
what has been said above that Article 6 para. 1 (Art. 6-1) does not guarantee
access to court for such a claim.

        Accordingly, the application is, in this respect, manifestly
ill-founded within the meaning of Article 27 para. 2 (Art. 27-2) of the
Convention.

10.     The applicants also allege a violation of Article 13 (Art. 13) of the
Convention which provides:

"Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in
this Convention are violated shall have an effective
remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that
the violation has been committed by persons acting in an
official capacity."

        Article 13 (Art. 13) does not guarantee a remedy whereby a Contracting
State's laws as such can be challenged before a national authority on
the ground of being contrary to the Convention or to corresponding
domestic legal norms (James and Others judgment, loc. cit., p. 47,
para. 85).

        The applicants' allegations of violations of the rights of the
Convention are directed at the effects of the Fishing Rights Act and
the Compensation Act.

        It follows from what has been said above that Article 13
(Art. 13) does not entitle the applicants to any remedy for such allegations.

        Accordingly, there is no appearance of a violation of
Article 13 (Art. 13) of the Convention.

        It follows that the application is also in this respect manifestly
ill-founded within the meaning of Article 27 para. 2 (Art. 27-2) of the
Convention.


        For these reasons, the Commission

        DECLARES THE APPLICATION INADMISSIBLE


Secretary to the Commission               President of the Commission



      (H.C. KRÜGER)                            (C.A. NØRGAARD)