This article tells you everything you need to know about the bailiff court in Denmark and what the options are for debt collection - both as a creditor and a debtor.
The bailiff court is an institution under the Danish courts that has the possibility to enforce a judgment for the payment of financial claims. This will typically be a compulsory enforcement of the payment of monetary claims or the delivery of physical objects.
The Fogedretten is the only institution in Denmark that can carry out such enforcement of financial or material claims on behalf of a creditor who wishes to enforce his claim.
For example, if a creditor wishes to attach a debtor's property or assets, only the enforcement court in Denmark is authorized to do so.
If you, as a company, have a claim that you want to recover, you can get help with the recovery - often called judicial debt collection- through the enforcement court. The vast majority of businesses choose to have a debt collection agency or lawyer handle the processes through the enforcement court, and prior to that, most choose to use an ordinary debt collection process.
For example, the enforcement court can also help you as a business if you have agreed an installment plan for an asset where the asset is in the debtor's custody, but you are not complying with the installment plan or lease payment. In this case, the bailiff will be able to help you physically collect the asset from the creditor.
The bailiffs' court is also the only authority in Denmark that evicts tenants in rented accommodation who do not pay their monthly rent. The bailiff is also the public body that carries out forced sales of the 300 or so properties that are foreclosed each year, typically because one or more creditors have requested this due to one or more defaulted claims.
The main areas in which the Court deals with cases are: monetary claims, monetary claims with pledge, custody cases, immediate enforcement proceedings and orders for payment. Here, orders for payment and money claims are by far the largest in this area.
The bailiff courts are located in 21 Danish cities around the country, each covering their own area, typically 2-3 per region. For example, North Jutland is covered by the courts in Aalborg and Hjørring respectively, while southern Jutland is covered by 6 judicial areas. The Danish enforcement courts live in connection with the court in the specific city, and are located in the following locations:
Bornholm, Esbjerg, Helsingør, Herning, Hillerød, Hjørring, Holbæk, Holstebro, Horsens, Kolding, Copenhagen, Nykøbing Falster, Næstved, Odense, Randers, Roskilde, Svendborg, Sønderborg, Viborg, Aalborg and Århus.
The bailiff courts in Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense and Aalborg are the ones with by far the most cases, reflecting the fact that these also cover the areas with the largest populations.
Individuals or companies summoned to appear before the bailiff court will receive a letter detailing why they have been summoned and when the bailiff court meeting will take place. If you have been summoned to court, it is probably because you have a dispute with one or more creditors where you owe money for an unpaid invoice.
When you are summoned, it is important that you show up regardless of your financial situation - whether you have money or not. If you fail to attend a meeting, the enforcement court can ask the police to come and collect you, either at your home or at your workplace.
If you are insolvent, it is important that you appear in person to explain this and make an 'insolvency declaration'.