Material New Developments in the Reprivatization of Property in Warsaw

Old tenement buildingThis post follows up on previous articles on the reprivatization of property in Warsaw and the governmental commission reviewing the legality of the process (see here and here).

At a press conference on October 11, First Deputy Minister of Justice Patryk Jaki outlined the law that is to regulate property reprivatization in Poland. It is a rather revolutionary concept.

The need to regulate the various claims concerning assets lost, nationalized, destroyed or seized either during WWII or after the war has been raised many times since 1989. To this day, it is still a matter that has never been satisfactorily solved – previously, only former owners of property located behind the new eastern border had legal claims, while other former owners, their heirs and successors were left to seek the justice individually.

Why has Poland not dealt with this matter for so long? There have previously been many arguments raised, the main one being that the state cannot afford to pay 100% of the value of the property to all former owners. That argument is, however, offset by the fear that if the state offers less than full compensation it may be sued in courts and arbitration tribunals, in Poland and elsewhere, for expropriation. Thus, the problem remained unresolved, giving rise to the “reprivatization business” previously discussed in earlier posts.

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Recent Supreme Court Decision Threatens Effective Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards

The Czech Supreme Court held that foreign arbitral awards falling within the scope of the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards can only be enforced by Czech courts (through procedures available under the Czech Civil Procedure Code) rather than by private bailiffs under the Czech Enforcement Code. The decision, available here, represents a major drawback to the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in the Czech Republic because the enforcement under the Enforcement Code is being widely considered as substantially more efficient than enforcement under the Civil Procedure Code.

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The Polish Draft of the New Personal Data Protection Act – Announced!

ONew Rulesn 14 September 2017, a draft of the new Personal Data Protection Act “implementing” EU General Data Protection Regulation (the “PDPA Draft”) was published as well as a draft amending numerous sectoral laws (“Amending Act Draft”). As announced by the Minister for Digitization, the drafts are to be subject to extensive public consultation.

Here are the key issues covered by the announced drafts.

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Criminal Record Check for Persons Applying for Employment in the Entities of the Financial Sector – the Draft Legislation (Poland)

Criminal Background CheckAt the end of August 2017, legislative work has started to set out principles of checking clean criminal records of applicants for employment in the entities of the financial sector.

A list of entities that will benefit from the law covers, inter alia, banks, international financial institutions, insurers, the Polish Export Credit Agency (KUKE), insurance agents and brokers, loan institutions, electronic money institutions, payment institutions and organizations, investment fund management companies and brokerage houses, as well as entities providing services to banks or insurers under so-called outsourcing.

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Real Property in Warsaw under Scrutiny

Warsaw LandscapeIn our blog posting back in February 2017, we wrote that the Polish Parliament had adopted a very controversial piece of legislation appointing an ad hoc Parliamentary Commission to review and deal with “reprivatization” decisions in Warsaw.

The term “reprivatization” refers to the real property that had previously been in private hands until the end of WWII, when it was nationalized by the state under the so-called “Bierut decree” (the Decree of October 26, 1945 on the Ownership and Usage of Real Property within boundaries of Warsaw, the “Decree”). After the fall of communism, the former owners, their heirs and those who purchased claims from them (very often called “real estate hunters”), sought to have such nationalization quashed and the property returned to them.

The situation has recently erupted in a large scandal, as the magnitude of the process and methods used by certain real estate hunters has come under intense scrutiny. Several persons engaged in this process have been arrested and members of the Warsaw regional government have been accused of negligence in their safeguarding of public property.

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What board members and executives should know about impact of the Proposed Amendment to the Commercial Code on Personal Liability?

Are you already a board member or executive of a Slovak company or about to become one? If so, you should know about the proposed amendment to the Slovak Commercial Code. The amendment aims to address the so-called “white horses” and “tunneling (asset stripping)” of the companies.

The amendment should come into force on 1 January 2018. As it is a draft bill only, it is still subject to changes. The amendment plans to introduce several new provisions that will also have an impact on personal liability of persons that serve or served as members of a statutory body of a Slovak company. Continue Reading

Transfer, But How? Cross-Border Flow of Personal Data Under GDPR

Binary TunnelIn a globalized world, the ability to transfer data between organizations located in different parts of the world is of the utmost importance.

The EU Data Protection Directive (GDPR), which will apply from 25 May 2018, governs the international transfer of personal data.

Data Transfer Within the EU

The free exchange of personal data between member states is a fundamental part of the EU’s basic principles. It arises from the four fundamental freedoms, i.e., the free movement of people, goods, services and capital. This principle is also reflected in the GDPR, which excludes the restriction or prohibition of the free movement of personal data within the EU or, even more broadly, within the EEA.

Data Transfer to Third Countries

Different rules apply when transferring data to a third country. GDPR does not define the term “third country”, but it should be assumed that this is a non-EEA country, such as the US and India.

Transfer of data to a third country occurs when it is made beyond EEA boundaries (e.g. data transfer via e-mail), regardless of whether the data will then be actively used (e.g. changed, deleted) or only stored (e.g. when the transfer took place for the purposes of storing them on servers located in India).

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New local tax for real estate developers in Slovakia

Money_HouseIf you are a real estate developer or are going to build a family house in Slovakia, your costs may increase due to new “development fee” introduced by the Act No. 447/2015 Coll. on Local Fee for Development and on Amendments and Supplements to Certain Acts (the “Act”). The Act gives the municipalities a right to introduce by their local regulations a new fee that applies in case of the construction or reconstruction of a ground structure in its territory. The payer of the fee will be the constructor that is constructing or reconstructing in the territory of the municipality, e.g. real estate developers but also individuals building or reconstructing their house. Continue Reading

BRIS – Interconnected Business Registers of EU Member States

As of June 2017, the business registers of all EU Member States are now interconnected. The system – called BRIS (Business Registers Interconnection System) – is a joint effort of the EU governments and the European Commission. According to the information provided in the European e-Justice portal, which provides access to the BRIS to individual users as well, you can search for information on companies registered in any EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway and the registers can share information on foreign branches and cross-border mergers of companies. Continue Reading