After 19 years of disputes and 9 years of litigation, the monastery buildings were returned to the state

TGS Baltic dispute settlement team has successfully completed the case of expropriation of historic buildings situated in the old-town in Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania.

The monastery buildings were nationalised in the Soviet times and transferred for use of Lithuanian Association of Science and Technical Societies (the “Association”). In 1991 the Association together with several other parties signed an agreement on incorporation of UAB “Pranciškonų Rūmai” (at the time UAB "Mokslo ir technikos rūmai“), the shares of which were paid for by the Association by transferring monastery buildings as a non-monetary contribution to the incorporated company.

The claimant in the case was the monastery of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual (Franciscans), which addressed the court on 14 July 2004, with a request to oblige the respondent UAB “Pranciškonų Rūmai” to return these buildings to the state of Lithuania. The claim was based on the fact that the Association did not have the ownership of the buildings, thus making the transfer of buildings into the ownership of the respondent illegal. On 8 February 2013, the Supreme Court of Lithuania, which has assessed the case already for the second time, announced a ruling that finally resolved the disputes. After 9 years of litigation the buildings of the monastery, which are in the heart of the Vilnius Old Town, have been returned to their lawful owner – the state. This ruling of the Supreme Court of Lithuania is final and not subject to appeal.

The monastery was represented by attorneys-at-law Vilius Bernatonis and Ignas Dargužas.