Case XXXIX/2006. Expropriation. Concept of Public Benefit.

May 24, 2006
Case XXXIX/2006. Expropriation. Concept of Public Benefit.

The Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, in regards to the public benefitconcept, has sustained diverse criteria in which it initially signaled that the causes that justify it could not be based on granting a private partythe ownership of the expropriated property, but that it should be the State, in any of its three levels, that should be substitute as the owner of theproperty for the purpose of obtaining a collective benefit through the provision of services or the realization of public works. Later, it broadenedthe concept to include the cases in which private parties, based on the State’s authorization, would be ones in charge of achieving the objectivesfor the collective public benefit. Accordingly,, this Supreme Court reiterates the criteria that the concept of public benefit is broader, byincluding not only the cases in which the State (Federation, States, Federal District or Municipalities) is substituted to the use of the expropriatedproperty for the purpose of benefiting the public, but also those cases in which it authorizes a private party to achieve such end. Given such, thenotion of public benefit is no longer only limited to the State having to construct a public work or render a public service, but it also includesthose economic, social, sanitary, as well as esthetic necessities, that may be required in a certain community, such as collective welfare entities,hospitals, schools, housing developments, parks, ecological zones, among others, given that the right to private property is delineated in theFederal Constitution given its social function. Due to this, attending to that function and to the social economic necessities that arise, it is evidentthat the State itself will not always be able to satisfy them , but that it will have to turn to other means, such as authorizing private parties torender a public service or carry out a task for the immediate benefit of a social sector and society at large. Accordingly, the concept of publicbenefit must not be restrictive, but broad, so that the State can satisfy the social and economic necessities and, for this reason, it is reiterated that,in a generic manner, it covers three causes: a) The public cause itself, or rather when the expropriated property is destined directly to a publicservice or work; b) The social cause, which satisfies in an immediate and direct manner a specific social class, and the public at large; and c)The national cause, which satisfies the necessity of a country to adopt measures to confront political or international situations that might affectit. Unconstitutional action 18/2004. Deputies composing the Fifty Fourth Legislature of the Congress of the State of Colima. November 24,2005. Majority of nine votes. Dissidents: José Ramón Cossío Díaz and José de Jesús Gudiño Pelayo. Issued by: Juan N. Silva Meza. Secretary:Laura Garcia Velasco. Full Court, on February Sixteen of the year in question, approved, with number 39/2006, the jurisprudential thesis thatantecedes. Mexico, Federal District, on February Sixteen of Two Thousand and Six.In this case, the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice reiterates the broad public benefit concept as an essential element forproceeding with a governmental expropriation. Accordingly, an expropriation occurs not only when the state substitutes itself as owner of theexpropriated property, but also in cases when the state authorizes transfer of the property to a private party, so long as, in both cases, theexpropriated property is used for the public's benefit, whether for the provision of a service or to satisfy needs, including aesthetic needs, of apopulace or select social group, or the nation as a whole.

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