Allen & Overy advises extensively on the legal nature and legal regimes affecting different publicly-owned assets and the ways in which private parties may use them.
These assets usually include land, moveable property and intellectual property rights, among others.
In continental Europe, for example, we advise our clients on the differences between public domain goods and other public property, on their use, temporary assignment and, in certain cases, their transfer.
A major issue we regularly advise on is expropriation procedures, ie providing insight into the ways public authorities can forcefully purchase private land for public use or in the social interest, in particular with regard to infrastructure projects, such as new toll roads, train lines, airports.
We also advise on the assignment of land from public authorities to third parties, who receive the right to use the land or to operate a certain service on the land for a specific period of time, after which the right to use the land reverts to the public authorities.
With regard to land-planning issues, we provide expert advice on different land-planning procedures and the ways in which temporary rights may be granted to private parties for specific activities relating, in particular, to the urbanisation of land.