Enforcement of Judgments 2019 Comparisons

Last Updated August 05, 2019

Contributed By Poul Schmith

Law and Practice

Authors



Poul Schmith is a rapidly expanding Danish law firm comprising 65 partners, more than 350 lawyers and a total staff of 700 people with offices in Copenhagen and Aarhus. With specialists covering practically all legal areas, we have an extensive experience in both the corporate and public sectors, and the title "Kammeradvokaten" indicates its role as the preferred legal adviser to the Danish government. With more than 1.500 court cases and arbitration proceedings, the firm has by far the largest dispute resolution practice in Denmark, handling around two thirds of the cases in the Danish courts.

In Denmark, there are different ways to identify a party’s assets, depending on the type of asset.

Information regarding companies, such as the company registration number, address, business type, annual reports and financial statements are publicly available and can be downloaded through the Central Business Register (CVR). The Register is run by the Danish Business Authority. This makes it possible for a claimant to identify the company’s assets.

In addition, some rights, eg ownership of cars and real estate, must by law be registered in order to be effective. Consequently, the Danish Registration Court has several asset registers, such as the Land Registry Register, the Motor Vehicles Securities Register and the Register of Charges and other Third-party Interests in Residential or Non-residential Cooperative Units. All registered documents are publicly available and can be downloaded from the court’s webpage. 

If a creditor wishes to secure a monetary claim that is not yet enforceable, he or she has the option to request the bailiff’s court to levy an attachment. The bailiff’s court is a division under each of the Danish city courts, whose decisions are subject to interlocutory appeal (in Danish: kæremål). The granting of such a request is based on the assumption that recovery of the claim would otherwise be considerably reduced, cf. The Danish Administration of Justice Act (consolidating Act No. 553 of 24 June 2005, hereinafter ‘the Administration of Justice Act’) section 627. As this is only an interim remedy, cf. the Administration of Justice Act section 634, a confirmatory action must be brought within one week after the attachment. The creditor may be required to provide security for the attachment. The court may order the removal of any chattels so attached and any cash retrieved will be deposited with the bailiff's court, cf. the Administration of Justice Act section 633.

If a prohibitory or mandatory injunction has been ordered under the Administration of Justice Act Part 40, the bailiff's court may also seize any movable property if there is reason to believe that the injunction will be breached or has already been breached, cf. the Administration of Justice Act section 641.

If an asset has been levied, the defendant may not dispose of the asset in a way that is inconsistent with the creditor’s interests. Doing so is a criminal offence (a fraud against creditors) under section 283(1), para (1) of the Danish Criminal Code (consolidated Act No. 1156 of 20 September 2018).

There are three types of judicial decisions: judgments, decisions and orders. A judgment is an enforceable decision which will normally end the proceedings before the court, whereas decisions and orders are normally granted during the proceedings, eg the dismissal of a case based on a procedural issue or the transfer of a case to another court. The bailiff’s courts’ decisions are decisions rather than judgments.

It is possible to obtain different types of judgments in Denmark. Broadly speaking, these include:

  • a judgment for a monetary claim;
  • a declaratory judgment;
  • injunctive relief;
  • a decision in provisional proceedings, eg for costs; and
  • a default judgment

A favourable judgment for a monetary claim can then be taken to the bailiff’s court, which will enforce the judgment. It is possible to use a simplified enforcement procedure provided that the defendant is not expected to object to the claim and the claim is worth 100,000 DKK or less, cf. refer to the Administration of Justice Act, Part 44 a.

A declaratory judgment  is not enforceable as such, but it can form the basis for enforcement proceedings, eg proceedings for possession.

The court may upon application order injunctive relief in the form of a mandatory or prohibitory injunction, cf. the Administration of Justice Act section 411(1). The enforcement of injunctive relief takes place in accordance with the Administration of Justice Act, Part 57.  Decisions on costs may be enforced in accordance with the Administration of Justice Act, Part 57. The enforceable decision may be in the form of a decision, order or judgment.

If a defendant fails to appear or fails to submit a pleading within the time frame set by the court, the case will not usually be rejected, but it may give a judgment in default. When a judgment in default is given, the court will, usually, only moderately test the claim, the supporting documents and the formal issues, but it may in principle involve a full test of the case. Normally, a judgment in default favors the claimant. However, the defendant has quite a broad scope to request the reopening of the case within 4 weeks after having received the judgment in default, cf. the Administration of Justice Act section 367. If the claimant’s pleading is unclear or assumed to be incorrect, the court will usually dismiss the case rather than give judgment in default. 

If the claimant does not (yet) have an enforceable right, he or she can apply to the bailiff’s court for interim remedies, eg an attachment of property, a freezing order, assistance to uphold prohibitory or mandatory injunctions or preservation of evidence (in the case of infringement of intellectual property etc), cf. the Administration of Justice Act, Parts 56-57 a. 

In practice, the enforcement of judgments are handled by the bailiff’s courts, which are divisions of  each of the 24 city courts. The bailiff's courts have several options and procedures available to them to enforce domestic judgments. 

When the bailiff’s court assists with the enforcement of an already established claim, it does so through enforcement proceedings (in Danish: fogedforretning). The rules regarding enforcement proceedings are divided into rules regulating the execution of monetary claims (the Administration of Justice Act, Part 47) and rules regulating claims other than monetary claims (the Administration of Justice Act, Part 48). 

According to these rules, the bailiff’s court has different powers at its disposal, for example:

  • execution;
  • forced sale;
  • possession of mortgaged property;
  • levy an attachment;
  • repossession;
  • eviction; and
  • specific performance

Typically, a levy of execution will be placed on the defendant’s assets to the extent that it covers the claim. The bailiff’s court can levy execution on immovable property, goods, assets etc unless the assets are exempt from execution, eg because they are privileged or have sentimental value.

The bailiff can decide whether the proceedings take place at the bailiff’s office, the defendant’s home address, business address or at the address where the assets are located.

The court fee for an enforcement application is normally 300 DKK plus 0.5 % of the amount exceeding 3,000 DKK. However, if a small money claim form is used, the court fee is fixed at 400 DKK for claims up to 50,000 DKK and 750 DKK plus 1.2 % of the amount exceeding 50,000 DKK for claims between 50,000 DKK and 100,000 DKK. A court fee of 300 DKK plus 1.2 % of the amount exceeding 3,000 DKK is charged for immediate enforcement proceedings. 

An application for enforcement cannot be handed in until the time limit for executing the judgment has expired. The time limit for executing a judgment is normally 14 days, cf. the Administration of Justice Act section 480(1). However, a different deadline may be set out in the judgment. As the bailiff’s court is a division under each of Denmark's city courts, the length of time it takes to enforce a judgment depends on the court. Normally, it will take between one and a half to four months from the date of the enforcement application until the first hearing.

The defendant is obliged to provide the bailiff’s court with the information it seeks, including  information on his or her financial situation, cf. the Administration of Justice Act section 497(1). A failure to answer truthfully is a criminal offence under the Danish Criminal Code, section 162 (false statement) and may be sanctioned with a fine or imprisonment for a term of up to four months.

If the defendant refuses to provide the information in question, the bailiff’s court may issue an order whereby he or she is taken into custody until he or she complies, cf. the Administration of Justice Act section 497(2).

Furthermore, the bailiff’s court may examine the defendant’s house, person etc if deemed necessary for enforcement. The police will assist the court if necessary, cf. the Administration of Justice Act section 498.

A defendant may indirectly challenge the enforcement by appealing the judgment on which the claim was based.

Denmark has a two-tier appellate system. Consequently, a decision from one of the “ordinary” courts may be appealed to a court in the tier above the deciding court without first seeking permission to do so.

In broad terms, the judicial system is composed of the ordinary courts consisting of the 24 city courts (in Danish: byretterne), the Eastern High Court and the Western High Court (in Danish: Østre landsret and Vestre landsret) and the Supreme Court (in Danish: Højesteret). In addition to these, there is the Maritime and Commercial High Court (in Danish: Sø- og Handelsretten) and the Registration Court (in Danish: Tinglysningsretten).

A case which is first heard by a city court may thus be appealed to one of the high courts, and a case which begins in a high court may be appealed to the Supreme Court. For a case to be heard by  the Supreme Court, the appellant must first obtain the permission of the Appeals Permission Board, which requires the case to be a matter of general public importance. There are some other exceptions to the two tier-principle: judgments in default cannot be appealed but can be resumed under certain conditions and an appeal against a claim with a financial value of no more than 20,000 DKK may be lodged, subject to permission from the Appeals Permission Board.

An appeal must be submitted within four weeks of the date of the judgment, cf. the Administration of Justice Act section 372, but to obtain a stay of execution the appeal must be submitted before the end of the time limit for executing the judgment, which is normally 14 days from the date the judgment was delivered, cf. the Administration of Justice Act section 480. However, the court that hears the appeal may decide that the judgment shall be enforced even if the appeal is submitted before the end of the time limit for executing the judgment, or that the appeal should operate as a stay of execution.

In general, all Danish judgments can be enforced. However, there are some very narrow exceptions, eg a judgment in default cannot be enforced if the case has been reopened or if the case involved a (now) dissolved legal entity. Also, case management decisions are  not enforceable since the courts may reverse them if they deem it appropriate to do so, cf. the Administration of Justice Act section 222.

At the present time, there is no central register of domestic judgments. However, the Danish Court Administration is currently working on such a register and plan to implement it in 2021.

Until the central register is implemented, users must obtain copies of judgments through private registers or by buying a copy of a specific judgment directly from the court at a cost of 175 DKK. The individual courts also make copies of selected judgments available, especially high-profile judgments, on their website for download. 

The private registers are typically edited by groups of judges and university professors who select the judgments to be published. All judgments are anonymised. The Danish Ministry of Tax publishes copies of all judgments they are party to, and they too anonymise the judgment prior to publishing. There seem to be no rules or procedures governing the removal of judgments from a register. 

The Danish Administration of Justice Act (consolidating Act No. 553 of 24 June 2005) is the main statute that governs civil proceedings. The rules on enforcement of judgments are also governed by the Act on Recognition and Enforcement of Certain Foreign Judicial Decisions in the area of Civil and Commercial Law (consolidating Act No. 1282 of 14 November 2018, hereinafter ‘the Enforcement Act’). Denmark is a member of the European Union and so is also bound by EU regulations, directives and decisions.

Section 479 of the the Administration of Justice Act states that the Minister of Justice is authorised to lay down rules on enforcement of decisions and agreements by foreign courts and public authorities on civil claims and agreements concerning such claims, if they are not incompatible with the Danish legal policy. The authority provided in this section has been exercised only to a very limited extent.

Consequently, there is no general legal framework applicable to recognising and enforcing foreign judgments, but the enforceability of a foreign judgment depends on there being an applicable convention.

Denmark has four derogations from the EU co-operation, one of them being an opt-out from the area of justice. Consequently, Denmark is exempt from legal standards setting minimum rules in civil cases.

However, Denmark has opted in on several EU regulations and international conventions regulating enforcement of judgments, namely the:

  • Brussels I Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (recast));
  • Lugano Convention (Convention on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters); and
  • Hague Convention (Convention of 30 June 2005 on Choice of Court Agreements).

These acts are implemented in Danish law by the Enforcement Act.

Denmark is also a party to the 1933 Convention on recognition and enforcement of judgments rendered in Nordic countries, which, however, has lost its importance, as all the Nordic countries are now parties to either the Brussels I Regulation (Sweden and Finland) or the Lugano Convention (Norway and Iceland).

If a foreign judgment is not covered by any of the above-mentioned acts, it is not automatically recognised nor enforceable under Danish law, and it will consequently be necessary to obtain a judgment on recognition of the foreign judgment. Before a judgment can be enforced, it needs to be recognised. Court proceedings regarding recognition may in theory involve the Danish court hearing all the evidence before issuing a judgment. In addition to documents in Danish, the courts can be expected to accept documents in Swedish, Norwegian or English. Documents in other languages should be submitted in translated copies. The judgment obtained will be enforceable.

In practice, this means that judgments from EU member states, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and third countries, which are contracting states designated in an exclusive choice of court agreement in accordance with the Hague Convention, can be enforced in Denmark without first obtaining a judgment on recognition, unless there is a reciprocal agreement between the countries.

Please refer to 2.1 Types of Domestic Judgments, where the enforceable types of domestic judgments are discussed. As foreign judgments covered by any of the acts mentioned under 2.1 Types of Domestic Judgments are enforceable in accordance with the rules in the the Administration of Justice Act, the approach to enforcement for different types of judgments will not vary from domestic to foreign judgments. 

Decisions of other EU member states on civil claims in connection with proceedings against a person for an offence that was not intentionally committed will neither be recognised nor enforced in Denmark if the person in question is not a resident or a citizen of the state in which the decision was made, has failed to appear after the court in the state in which the decision was made has ordered that the person in question appear in person, and the person has not had the opportunity of safeguarding his or her interests in the proceedings. This applies both to cases of enforcement under the Brussels Regulation and the Lugano Convention, cf Sections 5 and 8d of the Enforcement Act.

Likewise, decisions on alternative sentences for foreign penalty payments or decisions by foreign courts on the serving of sentences for non-payment of maintenance cannot be enforced in Denmark.

It further follows from the Administration of Justice Act Section 479 that judgments by foreign courts, whatever the circumstances, are not enforceable if such enforcement would be obviously incompatible with the ordre public of Denmark.

In addition, as stated above, the same rules apply as those that apply to national decisions; ie, that certain decisions that only contain a legal consequence and not an actual enforcement situation are not enforceable. This applies both to cases on enforcement under the Brussels Regulation and the Lugano Convention, cf Sections 6 and 8e of the Enforcement Act.

The rules of enforcement follow from the Administration of Justice Act unless otherwise provided in the Enforcement Act.

This means that enforcement as a general rule follows from the Administration of Justice Act, Chapters 45-55, and reference is therefore made to the section on enforcement of national judgments.

There is, however, a difference in that enforcement of foreign judgments, pursuant to the Lugano Convention and the Hague Convention, must be declared enforceable before they can be enforced (exequator procedure). The request in this respect must be submitted in writing to the bailiff's court, cf Sections 8a and 8(i) of the Enforcement Act. At the same time as the request for a judgment being declared enforceable, the enforcement of the judgment may be applied for. There is no equivalent formal requirement to apply for the enforceability of judgments under the Brussels I Regulation, cf the Enforcement Act Section 2(1) e contrario.

It should be noted that a person applying for enforcement under the Hague Convention must appoint a process agent if the person is not a resident of Denmark, cf the Enforcement Act Section 8i(3). For enforcement under the other set of rules, the appointment of a process agent is voluntary.

Submission of a request for enforcement requires the payment of a court fee, the size of which depends on the principal amount involved in the case. If the claimant has been granted free legal aid or has otherwise been exempt from paying fees and costs in the country that delivered the judgment, the person will be exempt from such payments to the same extent under the enforcement proceedings. No other security for costs needs to be provided.

When the request has been received by the bailiff's court, the court will notify the debtor of the time and place of the proceedings, cf the Administration of Justice Act Section 493.

The person against whom the enforcement proceedings are made may object to the request. The bailiff's court will then decide whether a decision is enforceable. Any decision of the unenforceability of a decision is made by a court order that can be appealed to the High Court and – with the leave of the Appeals Permission Board – to the Supreme Court pursuant to the general rules on appeal under the Administration of Justice Act, Part 37.

The time and costs involved in enforcing a foreign judgment are the same as those for enforcing a domestic judgment (please refer to  2.4 Post-judgment Procedures for Determining Defendants' Assets). 

A decision may be enforced as soon as the time limit for executing that decision expires. As mentioned in section 2.4 Post-judgment Procedures for Determining Defendants' Assets above, the time limit is 14 days unless otherwise provided for in the judgment, cf. the Administration of Justice Act section 480. If a judgment is appealed within the time limit for execution, the judgment will not be enforceable . If the judgment is appealed within the time limit allowed for appeal, but after the time limit for execution, the bailiff's court may decide give the appeal suspensory effect, which means that that enforcement cannot take place until the appeal case is finalised.

The jurisdiction in which the judgment was obtained

There is no way to prevent the enforcement of a decision on the basis of the jurisdiction in which the decision was made, if the jurisdiction in which the decision was made is covered by one of the conventions to which Denmark is a signatory.

If the country in which the decision was made is not covered by one of these conventions, a judgment from that country cannot be enforced without first being recognised in Denmark. 

Invalid service (in the foreign jurisdiction)

It follows from Article 46, cf. Article 45, of the Brussels Regulation and from Article 34 of the Lugano Convention that enforcement upon request to this effect may be refused if:

  • enforcement is manifestly contrary to Danish  public policy;
  • the judgment was given in default of appearance. If the defendant was not served with the documents that instituted the proceedings or did not receive the documents in sufficient time and in such a way as to enable him to arrange his defence, unless the defendant failed to commence proceedings to challenge the judgment when it was possible for him to do so;
  • the judgment is irreconcilable with a judgment given between the same parties in Denmark;
  • if the judgment is irreconcilable with an earlier judgment given in another member state or in a third state involving the same cause of action and between the same parties, provided that the earlier judgment fulfils the conditions necessary for its recognition in Denmark; or if
  • the judgment conflicts with certain sections of the regulations, eg where the defendant was an employee, consumer etc.

An example of enforcement being refused due to the writ not having been served correctly is found in the decision of the Western High Court of 13 April 1999 (reported in the Danish Weekly Law Reports, U.1999.1257V). In that case, a request had been made for enforcement of a Belgian default judgment against a Danish debtor. The High Court found that it had not been proven to the court's satisfaction that the debtor had been made aware of the writ in time to allow the debtor to safeguard his interests in the case. Accordingly, the judgment was found to be unenforceable pursuant to the 1968 Brussels Convention on Jurisdiction and the Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters. The request to enforce the judgment in Denmark was thus refused.

Enforcement pursuant to the Hague Convention can be refused as a result of the reasons listed in Article 9 of the Convention. The reasons largely correspond to those mentioned above under the Brussels I Regulation and the Lugano Convention, but also include some exceptions regarding the invalidity of the jurisdiction agreement, the legal incapacity of the parties, judgments obtained by fraud in connection with a matter of procedure and situations where the procedure preceding the judgment was in violation of the fundamental principles of procedure of Denmark. In such situations, enforcement may be refused.

Under Danish law, claims established by a judgment are subject to a ten-year limitation period, cf. section 5(1)(3) of the Danish Limitation Act (consolidated Act No. 1238 of 9 November 2015). Consequently, the enforcement of a domestic judgment will be denied if it is sought more than ten years after the judgment was given.

However, the question of limitation is considered to be a matter of substantive law rather than a procedural issue in Denmark.  Accordingly, questions regarding the limitation period for a judgment will, in general, be decided by the lex causae rule. It should be noted that Danish courts will only consider the issue of limitation if the question is raised by the defendant or if the judgment is given in default of appearance.

The parties may agree to arbitration; both ad-hoc and institutional arbitration are widely used. Arbitration in Denmark is governed by the Danish Arbitration Act (Act no. 553 of 24 June 2005 on Arbitration) which, to a large extent, follows the 1985 UNICTRAL model law. In addition, Denmark is party to the 1958 Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the New York Convention).

Denmark has several arbitral institutes. The Danish Institute of Arbitration processes all types of cases; the rules governing the Institute's arbitration procedures entered into force on 1 May 2013. As to the Danish Institute of Arbitration, the judges are usually appointed by the parties and the chairman by the Institute.

The fact that a dispute has been determined by arbitration does not prevent a party from requesting that the courts initiate enforcement of the award. Part 9 of the Arbitration Act concerns the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards. It should be noted that Part 9 cannot be derogated from by agreement.

It follows from section 38(1) of the Act that arbitral awards delivered in both Denmark or abroad have binding effect and may be enforced according to the rules on the enforcement of judgments, unless one of the derogations under section 39 applies. A certified copy of the arbitral award and the arbitration agreement, if in writing, must be submitted. If necessary, the documents must be accompanied by a certified translation into Danish. There is no pre-condition  that the award be made by a signatory to the New York Convention or that it otherwise concerned commercial arbitration.

Whether the matter before the arbitration tribunal was decided by award or by decision is of fundamental importance since only arbitration awards can be enforced in Denmark, cf. section 38(1) of the Arbitration Act.

An example of this is the Eastern High Court ruling in the case reported in the Danish Weekly Law Reports, U.2012.3456/1Ø. The case concerned a settlement in an arbitration case where the parties left it to the arbitration tribunal to decide the costs. The result of the arbitration tribunal was delivered as a decision. The Eastern High Court found that only arbitration awards can be enforced in Denmark, cf. section 38(1) of the Arbitration Act, therefore the motion for execution of the legal costs was therefore refused. 

An arbitration award generally ends the processing of the matter or claim before the arbitration tribunal, whether the award concerns the merits of the case or procedural issues.  An example of the latter is an award to dismiss the case due to the arbitration tribunal's lack of jurisdiction, cf. section 16(2) of the Act.

An arbitration award must meet the conditions set out in section 31 of the Arbitration Act (corresponding to Article 31 of the Model Law), ie it must be in writing, be signed by the arbitrators, state the reasons for the the award unless the parties have agreed that it is not to be reasoned or, unless it is an award on agreed terms in accordance with section 30 (corresponds to Article 30), dated and states the place of arbitration. The validity of an arbitration award is contested through separate proceedings before the courts or through enforcement proceedings, cf. sections 37 and 39 of the Act. 

The decision form is used for issues of a technical or procedural nature that are decided during the processing of the case, such as a decision to request an expert report or questioning of witnesses at the same time. The decision form is not mentioned in the Arbitration Act, therefore no formal requirements apply.

If it is an arbitral award, it does not matter whether the award was made in Denmark or abroad, irrespective of whether the award is final, partial, corrected, additional, on agreed terms or is awarded in the event of the absence of a party. All types of arbitral awards can be enforced in accordance with the general rules for enforcement listed in the Danish Administration of Justice Act.

As already stated, it follows from section 38(1) of the Danish Arbitration Act that arbitral awards can be enforced under the same conditions as the enforcement of judgments under the Danish Administration of Justice Act, unless one of the grounds for refusal from the exhaustive list in section 39 applies.

The grounds for refusal are divided into (i) grounds for refusal at the request of a party, cf. section 39(1), para (1) and (ii) grounds for refusal at the court’s discretion, cf. section 39(1) para (2).

The grounds for refusal at the request of the parties include the following, cf. section 39(1), para (1):

  • a party to the arbitration agreement was, under the law of the country in which that party was domiciled at the time of conclusion of the contract, under some incapacity, or the said agreement was not valid under the law to which the parties subjected the arbitral dispute or, failing any indication thereon, under the law of the country where the award was made;
  • the party against whom the award was made was not given proper notice of the appointment of an arbitrator or of the arbitral proceedings or was otherwise unable to present his or her case;
  • the award deals with a dispute not contemplated by or not falling within the terms of the submission to arbitration, or it contains decisions on matters beyond the scope of the submission to arbitration;
  • the composition of the arbitral tribunal or the arbitral procedure was not in accordance with the agreement of the parties or with the law of the country where the arbitration took place; or
  • the award has not yet become binding on the parties or has been set aside or suspended by a court of the country in which, or under the law of which, that award was made

The burden of proof lies with the party who wishes to have enforcement of the award refused.

The court will refuse enforcement on its own motion (ex officio) if the court finds that the subject matter of the dispute is not capable of settlement by arbitration under Danish law, or the enforcement of the award is contrary to Danish public policy ("ordre public"), cf. section 39(1), para (2).

This was confirmed by the Supreme Court judgment of 28 January 2016 (reported in U.2016.1558/2H) where the Supreme Court held that an arbitral award can only be set aside in the extraordinary circumstances of such extremely grave errors that the arbitral award is manifestly incompatible with the legal order of the country. In that case, company A had, by an arbitral award, been ordered to pay damages of 20 million DKK to company B for breach of certain obligations under a distribution agreement. Company A claimed that the arbitral award should be set aside by reason of invalidity, claiming, among other things, that it was in breach of the Danish "ordre public" insofar as the award enforced a distribution agreement which, in Company A's opinion, was in breach of EU competition law. The Supreme Court did not find that the arbitration tribunal had committed such extremely grave errors that the award was manifestly incompatible with Danish public order. The conditions for setting aside the arbitral award as invalid had, therefore, not been fulfilled.

The exceptions are similar to Article 26 of the UNICITRAL model law.

An arbitral award cannot be refused enforcement on the ground that the tribunal has applied the chosen law incorrectly or has got the facts of the case wrong, unless the mistake was so severe that enforcement would be contrary to the Danish public policy, and thus a ground for refusal under section 39(1) para (2)(b).

If the ground for refusal only applies to a part of the arbitral award, then only that part will be refused enforcement, cf. section 39(2).

It should be noted that section 39 cannot be derogated from by agreement. However, some of the grounds for refusal of enforcement, eg the composition of the tribunal, cf. section 39(1) para (1)(d), may be deemed to have been waived if the party claiming refusal did not object during the proceedings provided thathe or she was aware of the grounds for the challenge, cf. section 13(4).

In addition to the grounds for refusal of enforcement as set out in the Danish Arbitration Act, section 39, it should be noted that Danish arbitral awards are subject to a ten-year limitation period, cf. section 5(1) para (3) of the Danish Limitation Act. The limitation period for foreign arbitral awards will normally be decided in accordance with lex causae (see 3.6 Challenging Enforcement of Foreign Judgments).

The enforcement of an arbitral award follows the same procedure as the enforcement of a judicial judgment, ie in accordance with the Danish Administration of Justice Act, Parts 45-55.  Hence, the request for enforcement must be made to the bailiff's court, cf. the Administration of Justice Act section 488(1).

It should be noted that the bailiff’s court operates on the submission of a clear and undisputed right by the claimant, which it then enforces. 

The date of enforcement is generally 14 days from delivery of the award unless otherwise stated in the award, cf. the Administration of Justice Act section 480(1). The request for enforcement cannot be made until the time limit in section 480(1) has expired, cf. section 486(1), unless the debtor consents or if it can be assumed that the possibility of recovery would otherwise be considerably reduced, cf. section 486(2). It should be noted in that respect that an arbitral award is not subject to appeal.

The arbitral award must include the same information when submitted, eg the name of the creditor, the relevant documentation to prove the owner, the capital amount, interest and costs etc.

Furthermore, a transcript of the award and of the written arbitration agreement (provided that such a written agreement exists) must be produced and, at the request of the bailiff's court, a Danish translation of the documents, cf. section 38(2) of the Arbitration Act.

If the request is submitted to the bailiff's court and contains the correct documents, the court will determine the time and place for the enforcement proceedings, cf. section 491. The party having requested the enforcement must, as a general rule, appear at the proceedings if the claim exceeds 2,500 DKK, excluding interest and costs, cf. section 492(2) e contrario.

The enforcement proceedings may take place at the offices of the court or at the place of residence or abode of the debtor or at the place where he conducts his business, cf. section 494(1).

If the debtor, despite proper service, fails to appear, the bailiff's court may decide that he be taken into police custody until he can be brought before the court, cf. section 494(2).

The court fee for an enforcement application is normally 300 DKK plus 0.5 % of the amount exceeding 3,000 DKK. However, if the small money claim procedure is used, the court fee is fixed at 400 DKK for claims up to 50,000 DKK and 750 DKK plus 1.2 % of the amount exceeding 50,000 DKK for claims between 50,000 DKK and 100,000 DKK. A court fee of 300 DKK plus 1.2 % of the amount exceeding 3,000 DKK is charged for immediate enforcement proceedings. 

As the bailiff’s court is a division under each of the city courts in Denmark, the length of time it takes to enforce an arbitral award depends on the court. Normally, it will take between one and a half and four months to process an enforcement claim. 

Please refer to 3.2 Variation in Approach to Enforcement of Foreign Judgments where the grounds for refusal of enforcement are discussed.

Poul Schmith

Vester Farimagsgade 23
1606 Copenhagen
Denmark

+45 33 15 20 10

+45 33 15 61 15

mail@poulschmith.dk www.poulschmith.com
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Law and Practice in Denmark

Authors



Poul Schmith is a rapidly expanding Danish law firm comprising 65 partners, more than 350 lawyers and a total staff of 700 people with offices in Copenhagen and Aarhus. With specialists covering practically all legal areas, we have an extensive experience in both the corporate and public sectors, and the title "Kammeradvokaten" indicates its role as the preferred legal adviser to the Danish government. With more than 1.500 court cases and arbitration proceedings, the firm has by far the largest dispute resolution practice in Denmark, handling around two thirds of the cases in the Danish courts.