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Supreme Court of Denmark

Jurisdiction in Denmark for claim against a Dutch company 

Case no. 40/2017 and case no. 41/2017

Order made on 26 January 2018

Venue in Denmark for a Danish company’s claim against a Dutch company

A Danish food wholesaler had purchased a batch of chicken products from a Dutch company and sold it on to a Germany company. The chicken products were stored in a frozen store in the Netherlands operated by a Dutch company. The Danish food wholesaler hired a Danish company to transport the chicken products from the Netherlands to Germany. The Danish transport company contracted with a Slovakian haulier for the actual performance of the transport. The Dutch frozen store handed the chicken products over to a lorry driver, but they never reached the German buyer. The food wholesaler then sent a new shipment of chicken products to the German buyer, and the wholesaler’s insurance company paid compensation to the food wholesaler for the replacement delivery, after which the insurance company was subrogated to the food wholesaler’s claim concerning the loss of the chicken products.

The insurance company took legal action in Denmark against the Danish transport company and the Dutch frozen store claiming compensation at an amount corresponding to the amount paid by the insurance company to the food wholesaler. The Danish transport company claimed that the Dutch frozen store should indemnify the Danish transport company for any compensation that it was ordered to pay to the insurance company.

The cases concerned whether the Danish courts were competent to hear the claims against the Dutch frozen store.

The Supreme Court found that there was jurisdiction in Denmark, as there was a risk of irreconcilable judgments if the claims against the Danish transport company and the Dutch frozen store were heard separately, as the evidence on the course of events could be assessed differently. Application of this jurisdiction rule was not precluded by the fact that the insurance company’s claim against the Danish transport company was a requirement arising from the transport company’s contract with the food wholesaler, while the claim against the Dutch frozen store was a non-contractual requirement. Also, this rule was still applicable although the claim against the transport company should be heard according to Danish law, while the claim against the frozen store should be heard according to Dutch law.

The Danish Maritime and Commercial Court had reached a different conclusion.

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