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Court of bailiffs

Court of bailiffs

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 debtor.

What is the bailiff court?

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.

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How can the bailiff court help businesses?

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 bailiff can also help you as a company if you have agreed on 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 bailiff court is also the only authority in Denmark that evicts tenants in rented housing who do not pay their monthly rent. The bailiff is also the public body that conducts forced sales of the 300 or so properties that are foreclosed on every year, typically because one or more creditors have requested this due to one or more defaulted claims.

The court primarily handles cases in the areas of: money claims, money claims with pledge, custody cases, immediate enforcement proceedings and payment orders. Here, payment orders and money claims are by far the largest in this area.

Where is the Fogedretten located in Denmark?

The bailiff courts are located in 24 Danish cities around the country, each covering their own area, typically 2-3 per region. For example, North Jutland is covered by the court in Aalborg and Hjørring respectively, while Southern Jutland is covered by 6 court areas. The Danish enforcement courts live in connection with the court in the specific city and are located in the following locations:

Bornholm, Esbjerg, Frederiksberg, Glostrup, Helsingør, Herning, Hillerød, Hjørring, Holbæk, Holstebro, Horsens, Kolding, Copenhagen, Lyngby, Nykøbing Falster, Næstved, Odense, Randers, Roskilde, Svendborg, Sønderborg, Viborg, Aalborg and Aarhus.

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.

Summons to the enforcement court

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.

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