by Leokadia Wanda TROJNAR and Others
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 23 September 2008 as a Chamber composed of:
David Thór Björgvinsson,
Päivi Hirvelä, judges,
and Lawrence Early, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 14 June 2003,
Having regard to the decision to apply the pilot-judgment procedure and to adjourn its consideration of applications deriving from the same systemic problem identified in the case of Broniowski v. Poland (no. 31443/96),
Having regard to the decisions to strike the applications Wolkenberg and Others v. Poland (no. 50003/99) and Witkowska-Toboła v. Poland (no. 11208/02) out of the Court's list of cases,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicants, Ms Leokadia Wanda Trojnar (“the first applicant”) born in 1925, Ms Janina Orluk (“the second applicant”) born in 1923, Ms Joanna Stachniczek (“the third applicant”) born in 1923, Ms Lucyna Cieślicka (“the fourth applicant”) born in 1952, Ms Wiesława Brózda (“the fifth applicant”) born in 1949, Ms Lidia Zakrzewska (“the sixth applicant”) born in 1947, Ms Grażyna Urbańska (“the seventh applicant”) born in 1956, Ms Zofia Stachniczek (“the eighth applicant”) born in 1934, Mr Krzysztof Stachniczek (“the ninth applicant”) born in 1960, Mr Henryk Stachniczek (“the tenth applicant”) born in 1931, Ms Barbara Stachniczek (“the eleventh applicant”) born in 1926, Ms Ewa Olechnowicz (“the twelfth applicant”) born in 1965 and Mr Zygmunt Stachniczek (“the thirteenth applicant”) born in 1929 are Polish nationals. The first and second applicants live in Łańcut. The third and fourth applicants live in Szczecin. The fifth applicant lives in Koszalin. The sixth applicant lives in Głogów. The seventh, eighth and ninth applicants live in Słupsk. The tenth applicant lives in Bydgoszcz. The eleventh and twelfth applicants live in Łódź. The thirteenth applicant lived in Łódź. He died on 4 January 2004.
A. Historical background to Bug River cases before the Court
(See E.G. v. Poland, no. 50425/99, §§ 2-5).
B. Particular circumstances of case no. 19846/03
The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicants, may be summarised as follows.
On 8 May 1991 the Łańcut District Court (Sąd Rejonowy) gave a decision declaring that the first, second, tenth and thirteenth applicants and their siblings had acquired their late father's estate and that they were entitled to receive one seventh each.
On 18 July 1991 the Rzeszów Regional Court (Sąd Wojewódzki) gave a declaratory judgment stating that the first applicant and her siblings had owned real property in the territories beyond the Bug River
On an unspecified date the first applicant lodged a complaint with the Supreme Administrative Court (Naczelny Sąd Administracyjny), alleging the State's failure to satisfy her claim for compensation. On 18 September 2002 the court rejected the claim because the applicant had failed to submit the required documents.
On 27 September 2002 the Łańcut District Court gave a decision declaring that the first, second, fourth, fifth, sixth, tenth and thirteenth applicants had acquired the estate left by their late relative, a certain K.W.
On 10 April 2003 the Mayor of the Łańcut District (Starosta) issued a decision confirming that the applicants had the right to compensation for the property abandoned by their family, valued at 186,373 Polish zlotys (PLN).
The applicants' subsequent attempts to acquire State property were unsuccessful. The only possibility of enforcing the claim was to participate in competitive bids for the sale of State property. However, the State authorities throughout Poland officially acknowledged the acute shortage of State-owned land designated for the realisation of the Bug River claims.
This fact and the fact that at the material time it was the authorities' common practice to desist from organising auctions for Bug River claimants or to openly deny them the opportunity to enforce their entitlement through the statutory bidding procedure was established by the Court in the Broniowski judgment (see Broniowski, cited above, §§ 48-61, 69-87 and 168-176).
On 18 November 2006 the applicants informed the Court that they had initiated proceedings under the Law on the realisation of the right to compensation for property left beyond the present borders of the Polish State (Ustawa o realizacji prawa do rekompensaty z tytułu pozostawienia nieruchomości poza obecnymi granicami państwa polskiego) (“the July 2005 Act”) in order to obtain compensation for the Bug River property.
C. Relevant domestic law and practice in respect of Bug River claims
(See E.G. v. Poland, no. 50425/99, §§ 16-17).
(See E.G. v. Poland, no. 50425/99, § 18).
(See E.G. v. Poland, no. 50425/99, §§ 19-29).
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Early Nicolas Bratza