Motieka & Audzevičius has represented a client before the Supreme Court of Lithuania in the case concerning a piece of land that had been sold by the State to the client due to a mistake committed by a State institution. A few years after the deal had gone through it was found that the land which had been sold had been the exclusive property of the State. Therefore, the administrative decisions to sell the land were annulled by the administrative courts.
The State submitted a claim to the court demanding the annulment of the sale contract and restitution; and consequently a dispute regarding the amount of award attributable to the client arose. Lower courts decided to award a sum not exceeding that which the client had paid for the land in 2004. A manifest inflation in 10 years and the manifest impossibility to buy a similar piece of land today were found to be not relevant. In addition, both courts found the client to have acted in bad faith due to the annulment of the sale contract.
The Supreme Court of Lithuania has overruled the decisions and ruled in favour of the client. The Court has decided that good faith is relevant to determine the amount of restitution. In the eyes of the Supreme Court the client had not acted in bad faith. The fact of the annulment of the administrative decisions to sell the land was due to a mistake that had been made by the State. Nevertheless, this fact does not determine the bad faith of the client. The Supreme Court has pointed out the criteria relevant in setting the amount of the final award.
This case is clearly one the most favourable in terms of similar cases against the State. The Supreme Court has overruled even former decisions in similar cases of the Court itself.