Reconstruction of the Saski Palace


Michał Tomczak’s comment for the Rzeczpospolita daily.

Laws like this can be assessed from two independent perspectives. One of them is a purely legal perspective related to the purpose set by the statute. Acts are there to achieve the agreed social goal as effectively as possible. Sometimes, however, it is impossible to ignore the perspective that was earlier in the order, namely the perspective of the social meaning of the act and all its consequences.

Looking at it from the first perspective – the palace special act repeats most of the solutions contained in other special acts, of which there are already quite a few. The special laws in themselves constitute a strict assessment of the entire legal system in which we live, because if the system of state and local government administration were to be made, then special laws would not be needed. This is because they revoke a significant part of the guarantees that the system equips the owners of the real estate on which the investments are carried out, as well as the owners of neighboring properties and other interested entities.

The Palace Act goes further in these simplifications and limitations – to put it bluntly, it violates the essential civil guarantees of owners, tenants and persons claiming rights to real estate. What is even greater – the act takes away all rights from the landlord, i.e. the capital city of Warsaw. It can be assumed that the planned act repeals essential solutions to the system of separation of powers between the State and local self-government. Constitutionally, there is a presumption of the competence of local government with regard to public tasks. The detailed division of powers between the authorities is regulated by statutes. However, ordinary laws in this respect are quasi-constitutional, and the palace law violates this order. In no country can the constitution regulate in detail the scope of ordinary statutes, but it gives a fundamental sense to this division.

Let us finally return to the second, albeit earlier, perspective. In general, special laws obtained social approval because they obviously pursued a right or even necessary social goal. Euro 2012, highways, transmission lines, airports. In recent years, there have been special acts that it would be more difficult to say. In this case, we are dealing with an extremely expensive project, which raises widespread doubts, including many residents of Warsaw. Nobody agreed on the function and purpose of the Saski Palace and the Bruhl Palace. The building has been non-existent for over 75 years and the place where it stood creates a kind of new reality that is not necessarily less important than the one 75 years ago. It looks as if it is a kind of monument to the power and glory of the current government and its leaders. In this case, the legal tools should therefore be assessed through the prism of an unclear, socially non-agreed purpose of the project. The project concerns a historic building but must be assessed in the context of the contemporary dispute over the shape of democracy in Poland.


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I am a lawyer with thirty years of experience, in my first professional life I was a journalist. But in my every life I am most attracted to curiosity, discovering new lands, and secondly - convincing people to do what is wise, good or beautiful. I will also let myself be convinced of these three things.

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