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Service of documents means in practice that a document is sent or delivered to the person for whom it is intended and that proof is provided that the addressee has received the document or that the legal provisions on service have been respected. The reason for having rules on the service of documents is to guarantee, for the benefit of the courts, that a document has reached the addressee. The main rules on the service of documents are to be found in the Administration of Justice Act.
In civil cases, all notifications of procedural matters must be served unless the Administration of Justice Act states otherwise. In particular, summonses must be served on defendants. The purpose of service is to ensure that the defendant is able to take cognisance of the complainant's claim and the grounds for it.
Apart from this, documents are served only in particular cases as stipulated by law. For example, a creditor's demand that a debtor be declared bankrupt must be served on the debtor.
Judgments and decisions on civil cases are not served. If a party to the case is not present when the judgment or decision is handed down, he/she/it is sent a copy of the court's decision.
The courts are responsible for serving notifications of procedural matters.
It is the individual court dealing with the case which decides how the document is to be served. Service can take place in three different ways: service by letter, service by post or service by bailiff. In the case of service by letter, two identical copies of the document to be served are sent or delivered to the party concerned, who is asked at the same time to confirm receipt of one duplicate and to return it to the court. In the event of service by post, the document is sent by registered letter, and in the event of service by a bailiff, it is delivered to the addressee by a bailiff. If the addressee is not present, the document can, depending on the circumstances, be served on persons belonging to the addressee's household or to his employer or employee.
In addition to service by letter, service by post and service by a bailiff, a document can be served under certain circumstances by means of an announcement in the Official Gazette.
This way of serving documents can be used if the addressee is not found to have a place of residence, a place where he is staying or a place of work in Denmark. Documents can also be served through the Official Gazette if the address is resident abroad and the foreign authorities concerned refuse or fail to comply with a request for the service of documents.
In the case of postal service there will be a receipt showing that the addressee confirms receipt of the document. In the case of service by a bailiff, the bailiff produces a document by way of proof that the document has been served on the addressee. In the event of service by letter, the duplicate of the document which the addressee signs and returns to the court provides proof of receipt.
If the court notices, in connection with its handling of a case, that a summons has not been served to the right person or in the correct way, a judgment by default cannot be handed down in the event of the defendant's failure to provide a statement of defence or his absence from a legal meeting. In such a case, the case must either be postponed so that the summons can be served in the correct manner, or rejected.
If the document to be served has got into the addressee's hands, service is deemed to have taken place, even if it is not effected in accordance with the Administration of Justice Act's rules on the service of documents.
In civil cases a legal charge is payable when the case is brought before the courts. The amount of this charge is usually calculated on the basis of the value of the case. There is no separate charge for service of documents.Top
Last update: 18-12-2008