Important ruling for owners of property occupied by linear infrastructure

Publication / 19.07.2018

In a seven-judge panel’s resolution of June 5, 2018, ref. III CZP 50/17, the Supreme Court determined that the acquisition by a state-owned enterprise, on the basis of the Act of December 20, 1990 amending the Act on state-owned enterprises ( Dz. U. of 1991, No. 2, item 6), of ownership of transmission facilities sited on real estate owned by the State Treasury, did not result in the acquisition by the enterprise, by virtue of law, an easement with a content equivalent to the transmission easement encumbering such real estate.

The resolution should be assessed as important from the point of view of the claims of owners of properties occupied by transmission infrastructure, since it rejects the possibility of the creation of an easement by operation of law – as a construction that is unknown to Polish law (except for the possibility of acquiring such an easement by way of its acquisition by way of acquisitive prescription). However, the resolution does not contradict the well-established line of jurisprudence favorable to transmission entrepreneurs, according to which it is possible for a transmission entrepreneur (its legal predecessor) to acquire an easement with a content equivalent to the transmission easement by way of acquisitive prescription before the date of introduction of the institution of the transmission easement into the Civil Code (i.e., until August 3, 2008). It is also important to note that the resolution does not apply to properties that were not owned by the State Treasury at the time of the enfranchisement of state-owned enterprises.