Dr Radosław Wiśniewski: articles by this author
The condition of possession applied only to legal successors of the prior owner of Warsaw property and became irrelevant after 1946
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.