Acquiring the right to compensation for expropriation does not provide the rights of a party to the proceedings

Katarzyna Kuszko

Although more than three decades have passed since the change of the political system in Poland, the status of many properties still remains unregulated. As a result, the slow-moving reprivatization and compensation proceedings are adding to the body of case law with new lines of interpretation.

One of these resulted in the seventh resolution of the Supreme Administrative Court of June 30, 2022, I OPS 1/22, in which the Supreme Administrative Court addressed the question of whether the transfer of a claim to another person involves the transfer to that person of a legal interest within the meaning of the source of the right to be a party to administrative proceedings.

The subject of the controversy in the case that resulted in the case was whether the purchaser of a claim for compensation for expropriation of real estate, who acquired the claim as a result of a debt assignment agreement, has standing in the proceedings to obtain the compensation.

The SAC concluded that the acquirer is not entitled to this right, since the source of the legal interest that allows one to act as a party (including the request to initiate administrative proceedings) is to be the norm of universally applicable law, and not the effects of a civil law action.

In the process of reaching this conclusion, the NSA confronted two views.

According to the first view, a claim for compensation for the subtraction of property is civil in nature, so it can be disposed of. Since this is the case, the purchaser also acquires the rights of a party to pursue this claim administratively, becoming a party within the meaning of Art. 28 KPA.

According to the second view, the claim for compensation has a public law nature, as evidenced not only by the administrative procedure for determining the amount of compensation, but primarily by the legal nature of the source of the compensation claim. The claim for compensation in this case is accessory to the source of its origin – expropriation. Therefore, this claim cannot be transferred by a civil law contract, entailing a change in the party to the proceedings.

Thus, on the basis of the case at hand, it was crucial to determine how to qualify the transfer of claims in light of Art. 28 of the PAC – whether it is a civil act (and therefore not a norm of substantive law, since a contract does not constitute a legal act), or whether it is the implementation of a norm of substantive law enshrined in Art. 509 KC. Indeed, the SAC noted that “alegal interest exists when the claimed demand is based on a specific legal norm, and the necessity of its objective nature means that the existence of a legal interest is not determined by the belief of the interested party, but by the assessment of the legislator.” On the backdrop of the above, the SAC took the position that only the close connection of an individual interest with a norm-regulated legal standard, as the source of that interest, allows such an interest to be referred to as a legal interest. The lack of a close connection between an individual interest and a legal norm, means that such an interest is merely factual.

Thus, a factual interest will be such an interest that, while referring to substantive norms-rules, does not derive directly from them, but is built on acts or actions based on these norms, which means only an indirect connection of this interest with legal norms. The provision of Art. 28 of the PAC states that a party is only one who has a legal interest, not a factual interest. The existence of a legal interest is not evidenced by situations in which only the subsequent effects of the earlier concretization of a legal norm with respect to one subject, indirectly affect the legal situation of another subject, resulting from the application to him of an already different legal norm. The SAC pointed out that the legislator sometimes recognizes the need to link the situation of a subject under administrative law to a legal action, but then directly in the legal norm regulates this link (e.g., assigning it to tenants, lessees and takers under lending, in administrative proceedings for the return of expropriated property). Since there is no legal standard linking the circumstance of the conclusion of a debt assignment agreement with the effect of recognizing the legal interest of the buyer, the buyer of the debt does not become a party to the proceedings to determine compensation.

The firm’s lawyers have many years of experience in successfully representing clients in cases involving reprivatization claims, expropriation proceedings, as well as others aimed at regulating the title to real estate.


Katarzyna Kuszko
Advocate, Counsel+48 22 416 60

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