The Warsaw office of Hogan Lovells has provided pro bono legal representation to Piotr Wawrzecki in a dispute over the seizure of his decedent father’s assets by the Polish State Treasury. The case was brought before the Warsaw Court of Appeals.
According to Hogan Lovells, Piotr Wawrzecki's father, Stanislaw Wawrzecki, “was sentenced to death in 1965, in one of the most controversial trials of the communist regime in Poland.” According to the firm, Stanislaw Wawrzecki, who was the director of the Municipal Meat Trading Company in Warsaw at that time, was accused of fraud and was sentenced to death. The death penalty, the firm reports, “was carried out before the deadline for challenging the sentence had expired, and his and his family’s property was confiscated.”
According to Hogan Lovells, “the case is an aftermath of the historic Polish ‘Meat scandal’ of the 1960s, when a special committee of the Polish Communist Party allegedly uncovered fraud relating to meat trade, involving alleged theft, falsified invoices, and bribery,” but which in fact was a “communist propaganda campaign, in which the government tried to justify the failings of the central administration … [as] at the time, the lack of regular food supply (specifically, meat supply) was causing serious disruption and significantly weakened the position of the Communist Party.”
Hogan Lovells reported that, “after restitution of the democracy in Poland and under the new Constitution, the Supreme Court annulled the 1965 judgment due to a gross violation of procedural rules … [although] the State Treasury did not return the property confiscated from the family of Stanislaw Wawrzecki.”
In 2014, Piotr Wawrzecki initiated proceedings to have the property returned, and in 2015 he launched a formal claim in the Warsaw Regional Court for the confiscated property or damages in an amount equivalent to its market value. According to Hogan Lovells, the Court dismissed Wawrzecki’s claim in February, 2020, but in March, 2021, the Court of Appeal re-examined Wawrzecki’s appeal, and on April 9, 2021, the court annulled the previous ruling and ordered the Regional Court to hear the case again.
Hogan Lovells' team was led by Counsel Wojciech Marchwicki.