• Residents of Baranów municipality voted down the plan to build the new Central Communication Airport.
  • Despite the unanimous opposition of local residents, it is most likely that the airport will be built anyway and the residents of Baranów municipality will be forced to sell their homes, otherwise their real properties will be expropriated.
  • The Polish Constitution provides that expropriation of real property is allowed if made for public purposes and fair compensation.

Investments that involve giving away real property to the state usually lead to protests and opposition from residents who do not want to leave their homes. This is currently the case in the Baranów municipality, where the government plans to build the country’s new airport, the Central Communication Airport. With the aim of getting to know the opinion of the local community, a referendum has recently been held there. Local residents were asked if they wanted the Central Communication Airport to be built there and if they thought the provisions of the special purpose act were favourable to them. It turned out that nearly 83%of those who voted are against the investment and 94% think that the special purpose act is unfavourable to them. Nevertheless, the government is not bound by the results of the referendum.

Deprivation of the ownership right to real property for public purposes

The ownership right to real property is guaranteed by the Polish Constitution, the provisions of which say that everyone has the right of ownership, other property rights, and the right of inheritance. These rights are subject to equal protection and may be limited only by law and only to the extent that it does not violate the essence of the right of ownership. There is, however, another provision in the Polish Constitution which says that expropriation of real property is allowed if made for public purposes and fair compensation. Public purposes include the construction of public roads, airports, and railroads.

– The procedure for expropriation is regulated by the Act of 21 August 1997 on Real Property Management. However, by law this is the last resort and it is initiated only if it is impossible to reach an agreement with the owner of the property on the basis of the civil-law contract, i.e. when for example the owner does not agree on selling the real property. The procedure of expropriation is always preceded by negotiations aimed at setting adequate time over which the owner can still sign a real property sales agreement. If this does not happen, it is necessary to conduct a public inquiry, during which opinions of both parties, as well as witnesses and experts, are being presented – says Jacek Kosiński of the law firm Jacek Kosiński Advocates and Legal Advisers.

The other condition that must be met in order for the procedure for the expropriation to be carried out is to determine fair compensation. Its amount must be adequate to the market value of the expropriated property in order to recreate it elsewhere.