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dr Radosław Wiśniewski
News from Poland
Many investors and their lawyers consider property restitution, or as we call it in Poland, reprivatisation, to be a purely historical phenomenon. The aim of this article is to analyse if it is true and whether restitution claims are completely irrelevant to real estate investments in Poland.
News from Poland—Business & Law, Episode 10: property restitution (reprivatisation)
News from Poland
Dr Radosław Wiśniewski explains the problem of claims by pre-war property owners (and most often their heirs), which must be taken into account when purchasing real estate and pose a risk for transactions.
The amendment to the Administrative Procedure Code of 11 August 2021: What does it actually mean, and does it live up to the declarations of the authorities?
new provisions, reprivatisation, government claims
The provisions of the Administrative Procedure Code amended on 11 August 2021 regarding the time limits for invalidating administrative decisions or finding that they were issued unlawfully will come into force on 16 September 2021. What are the real consequences of this amendment? They seem inconsistent with the pronouncements of Poland’s highest state authorities.
Forced share also valid for statutory succession
It is often assumed that a forced share of an inheritance is only valid if the succession is based on a will. But the Polish Civil Code does not preclude heirs from seeking a forced share when succeeding under the code. This applies primarily to situations where the testator gave away significant portions of his property or made a specific bequest of them.
Next phase in limitation and extinguishment of reprivatisation claims to Warsaw properties
already in force, reprivatisation, government claims
Amended regulations governing claims by former owners under the Warsaw Decree entered into force on 20 October 2020. Consequently, the only form of reprivatisation in Warsaw admissible in practice will be damages pursued through complicated, time-consuming and costly judicial proceedings, while a large portion of claims will be extinguished without compensation.
The condition of possession applied only to legal successors of the prior owner of Warsaw property and became irrelevant after 1946
reprivatisation, Province Administrative Court
In judgments dated 22 May 2019, the Province Administrative Court in Warsaw issued its first extensive ruling on the condition of possession under the Warsaw Decree. The court held that this condition applied only to the legal successors of the prior owner of the real estate and was a condition for effective filing of a decree application, not granting of the application. And after 1946, this condition became irrelevant.
A building covered by the Warsaw Decree – attempt to revise the post-war legal status of buildings in Warsaw
real estate, reprivatisation
When assessing the post-war legal status of buildings erected on land subject to the Warsaw Decree, there is currently greater focus on the circumstances surrounding wartime destruction of buildings and the fact that decree-related proceedings are ongoing. This is intended to take away or restrict ownership title to “budynki piątkowe” – buildings fulfilling requirements under Art. 5 of the Warsaw (Bierut) Decree. Meanwhile, the structure of a “decree building” is a refined legal concept that needs to be viewed in the context of laws and case law in effect at the time.
The Terezin Declaration and the JUST Act: What is right and what is imaginary
Recent media reports have claimed that a bill being considered by the US Congress would allow Jewish organisations to seek compensation for so-called heirless property and make other claims under the 2009 Terezin Declaration. While such fears are entirely imaginary, they represent a good opportunity to examine the Terezin Declaration and the state of its implementation in Poland.
The issue of Jewish heirless property demands extraordinary measures
The issue of Jewish heirless property is the most controversial aspect of the debate over finding a comprehensive regulatory solution for reprivatisation in Poland. The general legal principle calling for reversion of property to the state (escheat) if the owner dies without heirs is of little practical assistance in these matters.
Reprivatisation without myths
The issue of reprivatisation is currently being presented through the prism of numerous controversial aspects of restitution processes. This distorts the picture of reprivatisation, which in any event is a limited phenomenon in Poland.
Applicable law under the EU’s Succession Regulation with respect to Polish reprivatisation cases
The EU’s Succession Regulation (650/2012), which went in force on 17 August 2015, permits a choice of the law that will govern inheritance from a decedent. In the context of Polish reprivatisation cases, the best choice is Polish law.
French inheritance documents in Polish reprivatisation proceedings
Reprivatisation cases require identification of all the former owners of the property as well as their legal successors. Thorny problems can arise when inheritance documents from France are involved.