Conditions for recognition and enforcement

Enforceable judgments

Which types of judgment (eg, monetary judgments, mandatory or prohibitory orders) are enforceable in your jurisdiction and which (if any) are explicitly excluded from recognition and enforcement (eg, default judgments, judgments granting punitive damages)?

Provided that the decision is subject to the scope of application of a convention or a parallel agreement, most foreign decisions are recognised and enforced in Denmark.

However, decisions cannot be enforced in Denmark even if they are made in a country that has acceded to the international conventions and EU legislative acts (eg, decisions on imprisonment for non-payment of maintenance payments which the person has been ordered to pay abroad). Nor is it possible to make or enforce judicial decisions about an alternative sentence for a foreign default fine. A decision on a civil claim for negligent wrongdoing will not be recognised either if the person who is the subject-matter of the decision is not domiciled in or is a citizen of the state where the decision was made and has received a default judgment and has not been able to safeguard their interests during the proceedings.

Arbitration awards are not subject to the Lugano Convention, the Brussels I Regulation or the Hague Convention.

How are foreign judgments subject to appeal treated?

A foreign judicial decision is recognisable and enforceable in Denmark when the decision is final under the law of the country where the decision was made. Therefore, the deadline for filing an appeal must have expired without the judgment having been brought before a higher court or the judgment cannot be brought before a higher court.

The recognition and enforcement of judicial decisions subject to the Hague Convention may be postponed or rejected if the judgment has been appealed in the original state or if the deadline for filing an appeal has not expired. If the enforcement court rejects to recognise and enforce a judicial decision because of an appeal against the foreign judicial decision, it does not prevent the subsequent filing of a new request for recognition or enforcement of the judgment (when the appeal has been settled).

As for judicial decisions from a country outside the European Union or European Economic Area, or outside a country which is not a contracting party to the Hague Convention, there is nothing to prevent bringing a legal action in Denmark about the same issue that has been appealed against before a foreign court as the Danish courts will not be bound by the foreign judicial decision. The Danish courts can give the judgment probative value. Hence, there may be specific instances where the judge finds it most expedient if the case awaits the outcome of the appeal.

Formal requirements

What are the formal and documentary requirements for recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments?

A distinction must be made between decisions from states inside and outside the European Union and European Economic Area as they are subject to different formal requirements.

Judicial decisions from another EU member state are enforceable in Denmark without any declaration of enforceability if the judicial decision is enforceable in the member state where the decision was made.

Therefore, an enforceable decision from another EU member state immediately grants the use of any protective measures available in Denmark.

The requirements for enforcement are:

  • a copy of the judicial decision that fulfils the necessary conditions for establishing its authenticity; and
  • a certificate confirming that the decision is enforceable and contains the relevant information about the legal costs that may be claimed back and information about the calculation of interest.

The enforcement of a decision to pursue interim remedies is subject to further formal requirements.

Judicial decisions from Iceland, Norway and Switzerland (countries which have acceded to the Lugano Convention) are subject to an exequatur procedure. First, the foreign judicial decision must be declared enforceable by submitting a written request to the enforcement court in Denmark.

The party seeking recognition or requesting enforcement of a judicial decision must submit a copy of the decision that fulfils the necessary conditions for proof of its authenticity. For a default judgment, the original document or a certified copy from which it appears that the first pleading or a similar document has been served on or notified to the person who failed to appear must be submitted.

An enforcement request must be accompanied by a document proving that the decision is enforceable and has been served under the law of the country where the judgment was delivered.

Generally, translations of documents are not required, but courts may demand them. It must be expected that the court will decide that the judicial decision requires translating into Danish unless the court believes that it understands the language in question to a necessary extent. If a translation is required, the translation must be certified by a person authorised to do so in one of the contracting states.

There are no requirements as to legalisation or an apostille certificate.

A request for a judicial decision subject to the Hague Convention that is deemed enforceable is processed in the same way as corresponding requests regarding judicial decisions subject to the Lugano Convention.

The party requesting recognition and enforcement of a foreign judicial decision under the Hague Convention must also submit a certified copy of the exclusive jurisdiction agreement. Further documents may be required to establish whether the judgment is enforceable.

The service of the writ of summons is subject to additional formal documentation requirements in the case of a default judgment.

The Hague Convention does not contain any requirements as to legalisation or an apostille certificate.

Substantive requirements

What substantive requirements (if any) apply to the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments? Are enforcing courts in your jurisdiction permitted to review the foreign judgment on the merits?

Under the Brussels I Regulation and the Lugano Convention, a request for recognition and enforcement may be rejected only in the situations described in the regulation or convention, respectively. It is also stipulated that the merits of foreign judicial decisions cannot be reviewed.

However, the Hague Convention contains the modification that the court may review the case to the extent necessary to ensure that the convention’s rules on recognition and enforcement apply. In its assessment, the court is bound by the facts considered by the original court unless it is a default judgment.

Limitation period

What is the limitation period for enforcement of a foreign judgment?

No special deadlines apply to the enforcement of foreign judicial decisions. The deadlines follow the deadlines for whether the substantive claim has become barred by limitation. If the substantive claim has become barred by limitation according to the judgment, there is no claim to enforce. The decision of whether the substantive claim has become barred by limitation must be made under the law of the country applying to the claim according to the judgment.

Grounds for refusal

On what grounds can recognition and enforcement be refused?

The Brussels I Regulation and the Lugano Convention stipulate that a judicial decision cannot be recognised or enforced in Denmark if the recognition of the judicial decision would conflict with fundamental Danish public policy. Recognition or enforcement of default judgments will be rejected if the writ of summons or a corresponding document has not been served in such a way that the party in question was able to safeguard their interests. This assessment is made by the enforcement court to which the request for enforcement has been submitted.

Recognition or enforcement of a judicial decision is also not possible if the decision is inconsistent with a decision by a Danish court between the same parties. The same applies to judicial decisions from countries that have not acceded to the Lugano Convention, but where the parties had a corresponding dispute:

  • about the same subject-matter;
  • on the same basis; and
  • if the decision fulfils the conditions for recognition in Denmark (eg, a judicial decision subject to the Hague Convention).

Grounds may exist for rejecting to recognise certain decisions on a natural person’s legal personality and legal capacity and decisions regarding the law of succession.

Recognition and enforcement will also be rejected if the request’s formal requirements are not met. The same applies where:

  • the jurisdiction rules which provided the basis for the decision differ from those set out in the Hague Convention; or
  • recognition or enforcement is requested in respect of a party not domiciled in an EU member state. 

Recognition and enforcement are not possible under the Brussels I Regulation if the decision conflicts with the special jurisdiction rules applying to:

  • insurance cases;
  • cases involving consumer contracts; and
  • cases involving individual contracts of employment where the defendant is:

o a policyholder;

o the insured;

o a beneficiary of the insurance contract;

o the injured party;

o a consumer; or

o an employee.

The same applies to judicial decisions which conflict with the special rules on exclusive jurisdiction, such as real estate and certain cases concerning IP rights.

This is also the case in respect of judgments that may be recognised and enforced under the Hague Convention with some minor modifications. For example, the recognition and enforcement of a foreign judicial decision will be denied if the procedure preceding the judicial decision is inconsistent with the fundamental Danish administration of justice principles. The same also applies if the way the writ of summons has been served in the country where the judgment was delivered is inconsistent with the fundamental principles of the administration of justice in connection with service in Denmark. Recognition and enforcement may also be denied if the judgment has been obtained as a result of fraud in connection with a matter of procedure.

Service of process

To what extent does the enforcing court review the service of process in the original foreign proceedings?

In general, there will be no review of the procedure before the foreign court. 

However, it follows from the Hague Convention that recognition or enforcement is not possible if it will be manifestly incompatible with Danish public policy. An assessment of this issue would include a review of the procedure that preceded the judgment in the country where the judgment was delivered. An example of fundamental Danish public policy could be publicity and rights of defence.

In the case of enforcement of a default judgment, the enforcement court is also to decide whether a writ of summons or a corresponding document has been served in such a way that the party in question has been able to safeguard their interests. 

Public policy

What public policy issues are considered in the court’s decision to grant recognition and enforcement? Is there any notable case law in this regard?

There is no notable Danish case law where foreign judicial decisions have been dismissed by referring to public policy. However, the view has been presented in a number of cases but has not resulted in a case being disallowed. 

Jurisdiction

What is the extent of the enforcing court’s power to review the personal and subject-matter jurisdiction of the foreign court that issued the judgment?

The Brussels I Regulation and the Lugano Convention stipulate that the enforcing court must recognise the foreign judicial decision if the conditions have been fulfilled and in such case the enforcing court has no power to review the personal and subject-matter jurisdiction of the foreign court that has issued the judgment.

The Hague Convention stipulates that the enforcement court may review whether the convention applies. The enforcement court is bound by the facts described in the foreign judicial decision. The foreign judicial decision is not considered in any other way.

Regarding default judgments, the enforcement court must also ensure that the writ of summons or a corresponding document has been served in such a way that the party in question has been able to safeguard their interests. If so, the enforcement court is bound by the facts described in the foreign judicial decision.  

Outside the conventions and agreements, the courts may in principle review cases in full because they are not bound by foreign judicial decisions (though such decisions have probative value). 

Concurrent proceedings and conflicting judgments

How do the courts in your jurisdiction address applications for recognition and enforcement where there are concurrent proceedings (foreign or domestic) or conflicting judgments involving the same parties/dispute?

The Brussels I Regulation stipulates that in general several identical cases may not be pending before the courts of the countries that have acceded to the regulation. If several cases between the same parties and about the same subject matter are pending, the court may stay the case pending the judgment by the court where the action was first brought.

According to the Brussels I Regulation, the courts must dismiss a case if:

  • the case has previously been settled; and
  • the decision has resulted in a judicial decision that may be recognised and enforced in Denmark.

Corresponding rules apply to judicial decisions subject to the Lugano Convention.

The Hague Convention does not have any corresponding rules. The issue will not be relevant in cases subject to the Hague Convention as the scope of the convention is exclusively jurisdiction agreements.

For matters outside the scope of application of the conventions and agreements, the issue is irrelevant.

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