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.