Sytuacja prawna wspólnot gruntowych w przeddzień wejścia w życie ustawy nowelizacyjnej
Legal Situation of Common Lands on the Eve of the Common Lands Act Amendment
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Common lands (commons) are the relics of transformations that occurred in Poland during the 19th century as feudalism drew to an end, nevertheless some commons can be traced back more than 600 years. The essence of common land is the right of the residents of a given village to participate in the common land through the use of land constituting common land in accordance with its intended purpose. The only requirement of such participation is to possess a farm or a domicile, as defined in the statue. The management and administration of commons is regulated by the Common Lands Act (“Act”) dating back to 1963. The statue does not give a definition of common land, but enumerates conditions that agricultural, forest and water areas shall fulfil in order to be considered as the common land. The Act contains mechanisms intended to determine a legal or natural persons’ right to use a particular common, as well as its shares in particular common land. It also contains regulations relating to the development of commons, having to be made by the special partnerships, gathering all participants of the common land. Since the Common Lands Act was implemented, the political, social and economic situation in Poland has radically changed. Today, the Act is inadequate to properly address the current and future use of the commons. Thus, the legislator has made an attempt to change such a situation. The result of the actions taken is a bill to amend the Common Lands Act, developed on the basis of assumptions for the above-mentioned bill, adopted by the Council of Ministers on November 6, 2012. Once enacted, the proposed amendments are intended to implement a new set of rules to determine the legal status of the commons, as well as to determine legal title to such common lands. This article examines the legal situation of common lands on the eve of the Common Lands Act amendment as well as basically analyses the suggested changes in this legislation.
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