Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


Since 1988, Poland has made considerable progress in privatizing its state-owned enterprises. Among many problems involved in the privatization efforts are the issues of liability for environmental damages. Initially, environmental issues were not a central concern to government officials charged with privatization. But as privatization progressed and Western investors raised legitimate questions regarding allocation of environmental liabilities, the Polish government set out a mechanism for considering environmental issues. For example, the Ministry of Privatization and the Ministry of Environmental Protection created the Inter- Ministerial Environmental Unit to coordinate environmental issues in the context of capital privatization.

This Article provides the reader with an overview of Poland's approach to environmental issues in the context of their privatization efforts. The author explains the legal foundations of different privatization programs, summarizes the principles of civil and administrative law regulating environmental liability, and gives examples of how environmental questions were approached in several privatization transactions.