The New Polish Administrative Procedure Law – Justice Magazine

The following is an excerpt from an article published in No 67 of JUSTICE Legal Magazine of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists in which Sylwia Myśliwska thoroughly describes the changes in Polish Code of Administrative Procedure that affect one of very few legal paths used by Polish lawyers in reprivatization cases and their effects on those cases as well as national and international discussions regarding the issue, especially possible violation of constitutional principles.

On August 11, 2021, the Sejm (the lower house of the Polish parliament) adopted by an overwhelming majority an amendment to Article 156 of the Code of Administrative Procedure regarding the annulment of administrative decisions. Andrzej Duda, the President of Poland, signed the act, which entered into force on September 16, 2021. This law changed the entire legal landscape regarding the ability to recover restitution or compensation for real property expropriated during the Communist regime. This seemingly innocuous amendment will lead to the closing
of many reprivatization cases that have been pending for many years. In addition, it does not allow the filing of new cases. It is no longer possible to initiate proceedings with the intention to declare an administrative decision invalid if 30 years have passed since the date it was delivered or published. Note that the nationalization decisions by the Communist-regime’s administrative bodies were issued well over 30 years ago. The amendment thus legalizes wrongful decisions with respect to recovering property taken by the state treasury. Furthermore, it will also no longer be possible to apply for any compensation from the state. Moreover, the amendment terminates (cancels by operation of law) pending administrative proceedings for the annulment of a decision initiated 30 years after the date of delivery, or publication of the decision, which was not completed by the issuing of a final decision or order before the date of entry in force of the amendment. This is the case even though a time limit such as this did not apply at the time when these proceedings were initiated, often many years ago. Consequently, this amendment leads to the termination of pending cases, even those that have been ongoing for many years.
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