Debt collecting in Denmark


Contents

  1. Claims of maximum DKK 50.000,00
    1.a. No objections
    1.b. Objections
  2. Claims of more than DKK 50.000,00
  3. Costs and fees
    3.a. Court fees
    3.b. Lawyer’s fee
  4. Links

1. Claims of maximum DKK 50.000,00

1.a. No objections
If the claim is DKK 50.000,00 incl. VAT or less, the creditor has the opportunity to take advantage of the simplified debt recovery procedures if a number of specific conditions are fulfilled. It is optional to the creditor to apply the simplified procedures or the regular rules of debt collecting. Concerning the lastmentioned rules, see ad 2.

Interests and costs must not be included in the account of the claim concerning the limit of the maximum of DKK 50.000,00.

Before having the opportunity of using the simplified debt recovery procedures five conditions must be fulfilled:

  1. The claim must be a due amount
  2. The claim must not be more than DKK 50.000,00 incl. VAT
  3. The creditor must not expect, that the debtor has any objections to the claim
  4. Before the claim is filed to the enforcement court the creditor must send forward a notification of claim to the debtor which precisely states a specified account of the claim. Furthermore the notification of claim must define a time of payment of at least 10 days stating that if the debtor pays the outstanding amount before expire of the time of payment, the creditor will not follow any debt recovery procedures which will inflict on the debtor any additional costs.
  5. The time of payment mentioned above must be expired before the claim is filed to the enforcement court.

When following the simplified debt recovery procedures the creditor opens the case by filing a completed pre-printed form entitled “Demand for Payment” to the enforcement court. The Demand for Payment gives the creditor several options concerning the further process of the case and the creditor has to tick yes or no to the options in the form.

After the enforcement court has scrutinized the Demand for Payment, it will be served on the debtor giving him a time period of 14 days to put forward written objections to the enforcement court. If the debtor does not respond within the time limit, the enforcement court provides the Demand for Payment with an endorsement. After this point the Demand for Payment has the same legal status as a judgment and the Demand for Payment is enforceable against the debtor after 14 days.

1.b. Objections
If the debtor files written objections to the enforcement court within the time limit, the case will be passed on to the civil court from the enforcement court and hereafter the regular rules will apply, see below ad 2.

If the debtor puts forward objections against the claim before the case is filed to the court, the simplified debt recovery procedures do not apply, as it appears from the account of the rules above. Concerning disputed claims of DKK 50.000,00 incl. VAT or less the new mandatory rules of the small claims procedure apply. The rules were entered into force on 1 January 2008 and these cases must be filed to the civil court.

Even though the claim is more than DKK 50.000,00 the parties to the case can agree, that the rules of the small claims procedure apply on the case, as well as the parties can agree, that the rules of the small claims procedure will not apply although the claim is DKK 50.000,00 or less.

By request of one or both of the parties the civil court can decide, that the case cannot follow the small claims procedure if the case concerns extremely complicated legal questions, extremely complicated factual relations or if the case is exceedingly important to one of the parties.

The small claims procedure implies that after the plaintiff has filed the writ to the court and after the defendant has filed his statement of defence, the secretariat of the civil court takes care of and is responsible for the preparation of the case before the trial – just as the attorney is responsible if the case follows the rules of the regular civil procedure. In the phase of preparation the court has to clear up the claims and allegations of the parties and the court decides the extent of the production of evidence. The court contacts the parties to the case either in writing or by telephone to clear up the case and will only in exceptional situations summon the parties to sessions of the court and hearings.

Even though the court is responsible for the preparation of the case the parties to the case still have the opportunity to take legal advice from their attorney to make sure, that the court has all relevant judicial and factual relations in mind when preparing the case. However, it is primarily in connection with the trail the parties with great advantage can build alliance with their attorney. Concerning fees, see ad 3.

2. Claims of more than DKK 50.000,00

If the claim exceeds DKK 50.000,00 the simplified debt recovery procedure does not apply and the small claims procedure only applies if the parties to the case agree on this point. Therefore the regular procedural rules in general apply on claims of more than DKK 50.000,00 and in these cases the parties often have great interest in judicial assistance regard being had to the size of the claim.

When applying the regular rules the creditor opens the case by filing a writ to the civil court and thereafter the defendant files his statement of defence to the civil court. Hereafter the parties to the case draw up additional pleadings and the parties take part in one or more sessions of the civil court and, after the legal decision of the civil court, the case is handled by the enforcement court and the parties must participate in one or more sessions of the enforcement court.

3. Costs and fees

3.a. Court fees
Whether the case is opened by filing a Demand for Payment to the enforcement court or a writ to the civil court, the plaintiff must pay court fees.

When filing a Demand for Payment to the enforcement court the size of the court fees demand on which procedure the creditor has chosen by ticking yes/no in the form, see ad 1.a. As the rules are quite complex I only wish to add, that the creditor always has to pay a basic fee of DKK 400,00 (approximately 54 EUROs). Please contact HOMANN for a more detailed account of the rules if needed.

Concerning filing of writs the plaintiff only has to pay a fee of DKK 500,00 (approximately 67 EUROs) as the writ is filed to the civil court, if the claim does not exceed DKK 50.000,00. Concerning claims of more than DKK 50.000.00 the plaintiff has to pay an additional fee of DKK 250,00 (approximately 33.50 EUROs) and 1,2 percent of the part of the claim which exceeds DKK 50.000,00, when the writ is filed to the court and the plaintiff has to pay this amount once again when the day for the trail is assigned.

3.b. Lawyer’s fee
It is a fundamental principle in Danish law that the party who’s views are accepted by the court (the “winning” party) is awarded costs and these legal expenses must be paid by the party who’s views are not accepted by the court (the “loosing” party).

The legal costs are fixed by the court in connection with the legal decision and start from a rate fixed by the Danish High Courts. The awarded costs not necessarily correspond with the actual fee the party has to pay his attorney; in fact the awarded costs are often less than the actual costs.

As the court in the small claims procedure is responsible for the preparation of the case before the trial and the parties to the case therefore are in no need of judicial assistance before the trial, the awarded costs in cases subjected to the small claims procedure are less than awarded costs in cases subjected to the regular rules. Relating to claims less than DKK 10.000,00 (approximately 1.342 EUROs) the awarded fees are additionally reduced.