The Colombian State Council ruled that beaches may not be claimed as private property by people using them for commercial or personal reasons, El Universal reported Thursday.
The High Tribunal stated that marine beaches are state property, and therefore any building constructed there requires special permission, but does not “confer property,” of the beach.
“Beaches are inalienable… meaning that their use does not confer rights to the user, distinct from the limited rights listed expressly in the granting or respective permission [for their use]” said the tribunal.
The decision terminated a lawsuit brought against the Tolu municipal government in 1997 by a man living in the rural zone Palo Blanco. The man owned 10 rental cabins and alleged that the construction of a loading dock 2,624 feet from the buildings, as well as constant dredging of the beach to allow for docking of the ships, was bad for tourism.
The State Council ruled that the government is not responsible in this case because those who inhabit the beach “can make use of the lands, but never aspire to hold dominion over them.”