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DZP’s Supreme Court win: limitations period for claims for damage


The Supreme Court has dismissed a State Treasury appeal against a judgment awarding our client damages for the loss of real estate unlawfully taken over under the Warsaw Decree of 1945. The Court found that a final decision within the meaning of article 160 § 6 of the Code of Administrative Procedure is the second decision of a minister or local board of appeal issued as a result of a case review application being upheld.

The Supreme Court found that the above said rule applies to all decisions – those issued prior to the amendments to the Code of Administrative Procedure of 2011 and later decisions. The limitations period for claims for damages should therefore, in the situation in question, be calculated only from the second decision of the minister or local board of appeal. This constitutes a significant about-face, useful for former real estate owners, to numerous previous judgments on this issue. It is worth adding here that this about-face was confirmed in a later resolution adopted by a panel of seven Supreme Court judges on 20 January 2015, III CZP 78/14 (OSNC 2015, no. 6, item 66) which cited the statement of reasons for the judgment obtained by DZP numerous times.

In the case at hand (I CSK 732/12) the Supreme Court also found that the State Treasury’s allegation that the claim for damages was time barred was based on legal ambiguities which were judged only by a resolution of the entire panel of the Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court of 31 March 2011, III CZP 112/10 (OSNC 2011, nos. 7-8, item 75) and constitutes abuse of a right within the meaning of article 5 of the Civil Code.

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

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