14 September 2021
Lending Focus - September 2021 – 3 of 6 Insights
Planning consents for new developments, building permits, local zoning plans…these are fundamental aspects of the world of development finance. Decisions on these matters are made by local and central government bodies. In the past, approvals given by the executive have been vulnerable and difficult to rely on. It was always possible to have such decisions overturned if a person could show that they had been issued in violation of the law. Significantly, this type of challenge was not restricted to any prescribed time limit. Decisions could be overturned, for example, 60 years after they were made.
In a bid to promote certainty of law, time limits for proceedings to overturn administrative law decisions have now been introduced. This pragmatic move has generally been welcomed by real estate market participants.
On 24 June 2021, the lower house of the Polish Parliament (the Sejm) adopted some very significant amendments to the Code of Administrative Procedure (CAP). The amendments relate to proceedings commenced to invalidate decisions made by public administrators. The following changes to the law have been introduced:
The Act also discontinues all administrative proceedings conducted in violation of the above deadlines. If, for example, proceedings were commenced some 40 years after the supposedly invalid decision was made, those proceedings will now be cancelled.
The Act passed through the upper house (the Senate) in July 2021 and three further amendments have been put forward:
The Act has now been executed by the President of Poland.
The Supreme Court and the General Prosecutor expressed positive and unqualified opinions regarding the proposed bill at the parliamentary work stage.
Others have a few reservations:
Although the introduced changes have a strong political overtone, they also provide a specific solution to difficult and protracted reprivatisation proceedings. Whenever formerly expropriated people assert their alleged ownership after so many years, their claims have had a negative impact on the lives of many current residents, as well as on the judiciary. The amendment should therefore be viewed favourably, as it is in keeping with the principle of legal certainty. It also protects the current state of affairs. Furthermore, the positive impact of the Act on future cases should not be forgotten.