English to Danish Legal Translation Services
Certified Danish to English translation services and English to Danish translations come in handy during commercial litigation in Denmark. Denmark has a strong litigation tradition and is open to foreign litigation. However, before commencing an action under Danish law, it is important to have a basic understanding of the country’s processes and procedures.
First, in general, all litigation before the Danish courts must be handled by a licensed Danish lawyer (‘Advokat‘). However, in order to appear on behalf of a client before the country’s High Courts or Commercial Court, he or she must have what is called ‘the right of audience’.
Thus, when selecting a Danish attorney for your case, it is important to make sure they have the right of audience in case an appeal occurs. Second, most litigation will take place in the Danish District Courts, with appeals being handed to the High Court of either Eastern or Western Denmark. The country’s Supreme Court is a court of appeal for judgments and interlocutory orders made by the High Courts and can hear cases on both the factual and legal circumstances.
The Danish litigation system has several unique components that differ significantly from its American counterpart. For instance:
- The right of discovery and disclosure are not applicable under Danish law
- Depositions are not used
- Expert witnesses must be appointed by the court and the costs related to the appointment must be paid by the party requesting the expert witness
- Expert opinions procured by a party have a limited level of admissibility as evidence
- Generally, the parties to a case must be prepared to pay parts of their own legal costs, even when they win the lawsuit.
Prior to commencing a lawsuit, Danish law strongly encourages the use of alternative dispute resolution, including mediation and conciliation. If the parties opt for litigation, the Danish Administration of Justice Act contains all rules and regulations pertaining to legal proceedings in Denmark. Accordingly, in order to commence a lawsuit, the filing party must file a writ of summons with the courts and include the identities of the parties, the name of the competent court, the plaintiff’s claim, a detailed statement of the facts and the legal argument that the claim is based on, and a reference to any documents upon which the plaintiff relies, including expert opinions.
Once the writ is served on the defendant, they have an opportunity to file a statement of defense, which must include a statement of their defense and/or counterclaim, a detailed statement of the facts and legal arguments on which they base their claim or counterclaim, a reference to relied upon documents and the defendant’s official postal address in Denmark. If the defendant fails to file such response within the given deadlines, then the court will typically grant a default judgment.
In Denmark, the duration of the pre-trial procedure will depend on such factors as the complexity of the case, the number of pleadings filed and the extent of the evidence. In general, a judgment can be expected to be delivered in one year from the date of the filing of the writ of summons.
According to the Danish rules of service, legal proceedings must be instituted against a person before the district court in the judicial district of their residence. A company, on the other hand, must be sued before the district court in the judicial district of its head office or, if no such office exists, the judicial district of a board member or a member of the management board.
Both foreign persons and companies can be sued in Denmark if it can be shown that there is jurisdiction in Denmark according to a jurisdiction clause, the Danish Administration of Justice Act or the rules in the Brussels I Regulation on the place of performance or jurisdiction at the courts for the place where the harmful even occurred. Service of foreign parties shall be done in accordance with such laws as the Hague Convention or the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial documents. Request for service on foreign parties to Danish proceedings must be filed with the appropriate district court. The receiving agency for service on Danish parties to foreign proceedings is the Danish Ministry of Justice.