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DZP wins long-term dispute over former Serbian embassy building


On 25 June 2012 the Regional Court in Warsaw issued an order dismissing an appeal filed by the Republic of Serbia in a precedential case that has aroused widespread interest for recognition of Serbia's acquisitive prescription of real estate at Aleje Ujazdowskie 23 in Warsaw on which stands a historic palace. In the case DZP represented the Gawroński family, which recovered the real estate pursuant to the provisions of the Warsaw Decree of 1945.

This order sees the final and non-revisable end to a substantial part of the litigation between the Republic of Serbia and the Gawroński family over their real estate.

The palace at Al. Ujazdowskie was unlawfully taken from the Gawroński family immediately after the war and was given to the authorities of the then Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia, which used it as its embassy. After the fall of Yugoslavia, the palace housed the embassies of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, and lastly – until October 2007 – today's Republic of Serbia.

In the years 2000-2005, although the real estate had been formally restored to the Gawroński, it continued to be in the hands of the Republic of Serbia, which refused to hand it over. This led to the Gawroński family, also represented by DZP, applying to court for payment of almost PLN 25 million for non-contractual use of the real estate.

In response, Serbia initiated a number of court and administrative cases against the Gawroński family in which it applied for recognition that it had acquired the disputed real estate through acquisitive prescription. The outcome of the Regional Court's order is that this aspect of the litigation over the real estate on Al. Ujazdowskie has come to an end.

It should be added here that in 2010, thanks to measures taken by DZP, the Gawroński family managed to physically recover the palace on Al. Ujazdowskie. DZP's actions were confirmed to be correct finally and non-revisably by all instance courts, which enabled this aspect of the dispute to be definitively closed in 2011.

The case over acquisitive prescription and all the other cases involving the real estate at Al. Ujazdowskie 23 were handled by lawyers in DZP's Real Estate Practice – Lech Żyżylewski, Partner, and Piotr Gołaszewski, Associate, who specialise, inter alia, in reprivatisation issues.

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