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On 30th May 2017 the Sofia Court of Appeal (SCA) rendered a decision on a case of great public interest regarding the so-called “Royal Properties”. upholding the first instance decision of Sofia City Court, finding that the state-owned company “Vrana” EAD holds the ownership rights over properties with an area of 1 414 ha – agricultural lands part of the former farmyard to the “Vrana” palace. The rights of “Vrana” EAD have being challenged by Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Maria-Luisa Hrobok in their capacity of members and heirs of the Royal family.
The team of „Georgiev, Todorov & Co“ led by attorney-at-law Maria Derelieva and with the participation of attorney-at-law Lena Borislavova, represented “Vrana” EAD in its capacity as respondent to restitution claims before the Court of Appeal, filed by the claimants Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Maria-Luisa Hrobok against the state (represented by the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works) and “Vrana” EAD. Тhe Ministry of Agriculture and Food participated in the case as a third party assisting “Vrana” EAD and was represented by the law firm “Savova and Co”, which defended the state also under the remaining the “Royal Properties”- cases.
For the purposes of protecting the interests of the defendant “Vrana” EAD and the third participating party – the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the teams of the two law firms carried out a thorough examination of the status of the disputed properties in historical and legislative aspect, and as a result of the factual and legal arguments put forward it has been proved that the claims for adverse possession of the lands by the claimants are entirely unfounded.
The case law established in the “Royal Properties”-cases has been confirmed, and according to it the Commissariat of of His Majesty the King as a separate legal entity was able to acquire ownership of real estates and received funds from the state budget to carry out its activities, through which it also provided the services and care to the King as Head of the State. The Commissariat was proclaimed owner of the disputed properties, whereas the court found that the royal family and its members in their personal capacity have not acquired any property rights, contrary to the claims of Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Maria-Luisa Hrobok. Subsequently, the properties – subject of the claims, have been lawfully imported into the capital of our client “Vrana” EAD and have become rightful property of the company.
As a result of the chosen line of defense SCA has rendered a decision in favour of our client “Vrana” EAD confirming that the disputed properties with an area of 1 414 ha belong to “Vrana” EAD.
The decision is not final and is subject to appeal under the requirements of Art. 280 and art 284 of CPC before the Supreme Court of Cassation of the Republic of Bulgaria within one month of its receipt by the parties.