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Supreme Court of Denmark

Disqualification 
24-06-2014 

Case no. 46/2014 and 74/2014
 

Orders made on 24 June 2014


A/B Bangsbohus in liquidation
and
Jette Sebbelov and Lars Erik Sebbelov
vs.
Andelsboligforeningen Klostergaarden in bankruptcy


Deputy judges were disqualified due to a judge's statements and discussions with lawyers

A judge had made a statement to the newspaper Jyllands-Posten on bankruptcy proceedings for cooperative housing associations. He had also made a statement on this subject in a hearing in the Folketing's Legal Affairs Committee. Finally, he had discussed the subject with lawyers in a meeting, where only one of the parties to a dispute was represented.

The majority of the Supreme Court held that the judge's statements were sufficient to raise legitimate doubt as to whether he had already taken a stand on the two underlying cases on bankruptcy proceedings for cooperative housing associations. Also, in one of the cases, the majority gave importance to the judge's discussions with lawyers. The majority of the Supreme Court thus held that the judge would be disqualified from hearing the two cases.

The judge is the only judge in the probate division of the Maritime and Commercial Court. The other lawyers in the probate division are deputy judges and assistant judges. Against this background, the majority of the Supreme Court held that the fact that the judge was disqualified affected two deputy judges in the probate division, thus making them disqualified from hearing the two cases as well.

However, a minority of the Supreme Court judges did not believe the two deputy judges to be disqualified.

The High Court had reached the same conclusion as the minority of the Supreme Court.

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