Legal Environment

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In this page: Business Contract | Intellectual Property | Legal Framework of Business | International Dispute Resolution


Business Contract

General Observation
The overriding principle which governs Danish contract law is the principle of freedom of contract. This means that the Danish Contracts Act and the Danish Sale of Goods Act provide very few mandatory rules applying to business-to-business relations as regards the formation and content of contracts. Therefore, the individual parties can negotiate, enter into a contract, and draft the contract almost in the way the parties decide, as long as there is no violation of third-party rights or public law such as competition law.
Law Applicable to the Contract
Denmark is a signatory to the Vienna Convention on international contracts. International laws can be used or an arbitration system can be called on. International laws are generally accepted in contracts concluded with Danish companies.
Advisable Incoterms
CIF is preferred.
Language of Domestic Contract
Danish, English or any other language is possible if both parties agree.
Other Laws Which Can Be Used in Domestic Contracts
If Danish law is not used, the law of the other contracting party must be chosen.

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Intellectual Property

National Organisations
Danish Patent and Trademark Office
Regional Organisations
For the protection of patents: the European Patent Office (EPO). To control trademarks, designs and models: the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
International Membership
Member of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization)
Signatory to the Paris Convention For the Protection of Intellectual Property
Membership to the TRIPS agreement - Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)

National Regulation and International Agreements

Type of property and law Validity International Agreements Signed
The Consolidate Patents Act; Publication of the Patents Act, cf. Consolidated Act No. 366 of June 9, 1998 as amended by Act No. 412 of May 31, 2000).
20 years Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
Madrid agreement
Nice agreement
10 years Trademark Law Treaty
Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks
The Danish Designs Act.
5 years renewable twice  
Consolidated Act No. 763 of June 30, 2006 on Copyright
5 years Berne convention For the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms
Rome ConventionFor the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations
WIPO Copyright Treaty
WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty

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Legal Framework of Business

Equity of Judgments

Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
Denmark is ruled by law. Foreign nationals can expect a fair trial from the country's judicial system. Denmark is one of the least corrupt nations in the world.
The Language of Justice
Danish, but English is the predominant second language.
Recourse to an Interpreter
It is possible to have an interpreter.
Legal Similarities
The guiding source of the law is the constitution of 1849 which was updated extensively in 1953. The legal system is based on the civil law system and the judicial review of various legislative acts. Denmark accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations. Denmark is a member of the European Union (EU), so the country's national law needs to comply with the Community legislation.

The Different Legal Codes

Constitutional law Regulates the relations between the highest state organs and provides for civil liberties (Human Rights); it can only be changed by special procedure.
Danish Labour Law Regulates the job market, employment conditions
The Consolidate Act on the Administration of Justice (Retsplejeloven) The only Danish legal code, contains almost 1000 articles, defining the administration and organization of the courts, covering fields of both civil and criminal procedure.
Checking National Laws Online
Ministry of justice
Country Guides
Library of the Congress, Legislative guide - Denmark

The Jurisdictions

The Danish Supreme Court The highest civil and criminal court responsible for the administration of justice in Denmark
The courts of justice: the two High Courts (Landsretten), the Copenhagen Maritime and Commercial Court (Sø- og Handelsretten i København), the Land Registration Court, 24 district courts (Byretten). All courts of law may adjudicate disputes in legal areas such as civil, labour, administrative and constitutional law as well as criminal justice.
Court of Impeachment of the Realm (Rigsretten) Judicial action against ministers and/or former ministers, in cases surrounding their dealings as minister.
The Court of Indictment and Revision (Den Særlige Klageret) Handles complaints regarding procedure, disqualification of judges etc. brought forth by the users of the courts, against the courts.

Court Officials

Danish law only recognizes one kind of lawyer who advises on legal matters and also represents clients in court. It is common for lawyers to practice within a particular field of law.
All judges are jurists. Lay judges may be of any profession, it is however considered good practice, that none may be a jurist.

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International Dispute Resolution

Since 1894, Denmark has had a permanent arbitration institution that has assisted in the resolution of different types of disputes. Over time the institution has accumulated considerable knowledge on arbitration procedures and the composition of arbitral tribunals in relation to both national and international arbitration.
Arbitration Law
The rules of arbitration procedure are base on the Danish Arbitration 2007 and the Arbitration Act adopted in 2005
Conformity to International Commercial Arbitration Rules
Party to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.
Party to the Geneva Protocol on Arbitration Clauses.
Party to the Geneva Convention of the Execution of Foreign Arbitral Awards.
Appointment of Arbitrators
Danish Arbitration takes due account of the qualifications required from the arbitrator, as agreed between the parties, and of factors ensuring that an independent, impartial arbitrator is appointed. In cases where not all parties to the dispute reside in the same country, Danish Arbitration will appoint an arbitrator residing in a country other than those in which the parties reside, unless otherwise agreed between the parties.
Arbitration Procedure
A party wishing to have a dispute settled by arbitration in accordance with the present rules shall file a request therefore with Danish Arbitration. Danish Arbitration shall immediately inform the claimant and the respondent of receipt of the request and the date it was received. Together with the communication informing claimant and respondent of the receipt of the request for arbitration the parties shall receive a copy of the Danish version of 'Rules of Arbitration Procedure'.
For more information visit the website of Danish Arbitration.
Permanent Arbitration Bodies
Danish arbitration (Sectors Covered: All)

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Latest Update: March 2024