Denmark - National Report - World Arbitration Reporter - Second Edition
Originally from World Arbitration Reporter (WAR) - 2nd Edition
A. History and Current Legislation on Arbitration
1. Historical Evolution of Law Relating to Arbitration
Denmark has a long-standing tradition for submitting disputes to arbitration, and arbitration is considered an integral part of the Danish dispute resolution system. Arbitration was already included into the legislation in the first statute book applicable to the entire jurisdiction of Denmark, the Danish Code (in Danish “Danske Lov”) from 1683.2.
Under the Danish Code, arbitration was governed by a single provision, section 1-6-1, consisting of a single sentence:
“Parties subjecting their case and dispute to arbitration before a tribunal, whether constituted with a chair or not, so what is said and determined by the power vested in them, is binding and cannot be appealed to a court, however, with reservation for the King.”
However, despite being regulated by only a single provision, arbitration was already then characterised by some of the same fundamental principles, which are present in the legislation today. Parties could then, as now, agree to arbitration for disputes within their competence. A valid arbitration agreement was binding and could result in a dismissal from the courts. Arbitral awards were binding unless the arbitration agreement had been invalid, the tribunal had exceeded its competence, or a fundamental procedural principle had been violated.
However, being regulated by only a single provision, the practice relating to arbitration was for 300 years developed mostly via case law.
In 1962 the Ministry of Justice appointed a Commission to prepare a report on whether it would be advisable to introduce more detailed legislation on arbitration. The Commission was tasked to consider the international development, such as the 1958 New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (“New York Convention”) and other international conventions, such as the Geneva Conventions.