Culture Goods in the Public Domain under Polish Law – Acquiring and Disposing Difficulties

Monika Drela


In the Polish legal system there is no general and coherent legal regulation created with the purpose to set the unified rules for acquiring or disposing of culture goods by public entities. Different legal acts contain few regulations in this matter and it results in difficulties in applying the regulations that are presented in this article. The paper presents a short historical background of two major moves within Polish public culture property – nationalization and municipalisation in the scope of museum property. Then the analysis is focused on those regulations of statutory law that are being applied in cases where the issue of acquiring ownership by public entities is examined, together with case law referring to the possibility to acquire ownership in the public domain via adverse possession. Culture goods are also the element of the estate of local government units and state administration units and in this sphere there are no regulations preventing or influencing the unit from disposing of the culture good. It is only when the voivodship is the owner of a movable culture object, when the law introduces the rule that the act of disposition (e.g., sale contract) requires the consent in the form of a resolution of the voivodship management board in order to be valid. When immovable culture goods are to be sold by a public entity, the law requires the consent in the form of the administrative decision of an officer from a historical monument protection office (conservation officer), and there is no reason why the freedom of disposition of movable culture goods in public administration should not be limited in a similar way.

Słowa kluczowe

ownership, museum, estate, inalienability, culture, public administration

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