Barbara Wiśniewska: articles by this author
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.
In February 2017, the first notices began to appear in nationwide Polish newspapers and on the City of Warsaw website summoning legal successors of former owners of Warsaw properties to appear in reprivatisation proceedings and prove their rights—or the proceedings will be discontinued.
Under regulations in force from 15 February 2017, reopening of a civil proceeding ended in a legally final judgment can be sought within 10 years after the judgment became legally final. The previous regulations provided for a 5-year period for seeking reopening of proceedings.
The liability of public authorities for unlawful acts or omissions also extends to delay in the functioning of the courts, infringing the individual’s right to have his case heard without undue delay. A finding of excessive length of proceedings enables a party to pursue redress of the resulting loss through the courts.
In a case led by Wardyński & Partners, the firm obtained a ruling from the Supreme Court favourable to owners of buildings as well as communal tenants, establishing the rule of the liability of the City of Warsaw for non-contractual use of the property.
After reprivatisation proceedings lasting many years, the legal successors of the former owners of real estate manage to regain the property that was once lost. But often the current value is grossly low, which justifies pursuing compensatory damages.