In Norway, owners can claim compensation for the development potential of their property following expropriation. However, compensation is dependent on the owner showing that the development in question would have been foreseeable if the expropriation had not taken place. The interpretation of this requirement has long been a contentious issue and is associated with a complex body of case law. The present article investigates the interpretation of the foreseeability requirement relied on by the Court of Appeal in the so-called Smibelg case, pertaining to expropriation for hydropower development. The article argues that the Court of Appeal relied on an interpretation of the foreseeability condition that requires owners to show that their development plans would have been preferable to the expropriation project. In response to an article by Broch Hauge, I argue that the Court of Appeal had no secure basis in case law for this interpretation, which would severely limit owners’ right to compensation if generally adopted by the courts.

Key words: expropriation, compensation, the foreseeability condition, waterfalls, hydropower development