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Supreme Court: if Serbia is not a foreigner, then what is it?


DZP has again achieved a significant success in a highly-publicised case involving the reprivatisation of real estate at Al. Ujazdowskie 23 in Warsaw. On 13 March 2014 the Supreme Court issued an order that dismissed the Republic of Serbia's cassation appeal in a precedential case that has drawn a great deal of interest for it to be declared that Serbia acquired this real estate by acquisitive prescription. In the dispute DZP represented the Gawroński family which recovered the real estate pursuant to the provisions of the 1945 Warsaw Decree.

The issuing of this order saw the definitive end to a significant part of the disputes run by the Republic of Serbia with the Gawroński family over their real estate. The Supreme Court order (I CSK 47/13) also shows that holding real estate without legal title in Poland by a diplomatic mission of a foreign state (which could also concern other diplomatic missions that have occupied their real estate since before 1989) is generally of a dependent nature, while a change in the nature of this possession cannot take place without the consent of the Republic of Poland. The Supreme Court also confirmed that the acquisition by a foreign state of real estate in Poland by way of acquisitive prescription requires a permit from the MIA on the general rules set out in the Act on the Acquisition of Real Estate by Foreigners of 1920, subject of course to express provisions of international treaties.

The case was conducted by Lech Żyżylewski and Piotr Gołaszewski from DZP's Real Estate Practice which specialises in, e.g. reprivatisation cases.

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