The Research Group on Ownership and Property will function as the focal point of the research into ownership and property. This is done by increasing the collaboration between existing research environments to lend more weight and visibility to the research and by creating the foundation for research within new topics.
The current Danish rules are the result of an organic development and growth that has taken place over more than a hundred years, where issues of doubt have been settled, and the rules have evolved under the influence of the development of society. The rules are characterised by a functional approach, where rules and principles are not inferred by conceptual analyses, but by what circumstances dictate.
The perception of property is fundamental to the cohesion within and across property law, the law of sales, lien, the law of bankruptcy, etc. The functional property concept is preconditioned by and woven into the law and legal practice as well as the practising legal profession. As such, ownership and property are not just theoretical constructs but are of decisive importance to society and directly impact the practising legal profession.
The trade of property and goods is a specific example of how important it is that trade is conducted in such a way that the buyer does not pay the purchase price before he or she has obtained the legal right to the goods purchased. Another important example is business financing, where e.g. bank loans are typically granted against security in the business’ assets, and where it is crucial that the assets are protected under property law.
We cover the following legal fields
Research into ownership and property is interdisciplinary in the sense that the application of the common ownership and property law naturally includes parts of civil law (particularly private law), parts of public law (including e.g. constitutional law and the Danish Planning Act) as well as elements of the general subjects. For example, the concept of ownership is not only relevant in the context of private law but also plays a key role in describing the constitutional protection of physical and legal persons’ economic rights.
Firstly, the research group has a legal dogmatic aim, i.e. describing, analysing and systematising applicable Danish law.
Secondly, the research group focuses on the latest legislative developments, which are characterised partly by the legislature establishing rules to a greater degree and partly by the question of whether or not the Europeanisation (harmonisation) of property law has gained importance.
There has been a significant development of new legal rules where the common ownership and property law have been of decisive importance, but where they have not been duly considered during the legislative preparatory work. Examples include the rules on restructuring, floating charges and refinancing registers within the field of private law as well as the 2014 legislation on foundations within the field of public law. Through its research, the research group aims to shed light on the interaction between the common rules and special laws, e.g. by actively participating in the legislative preparatory work.
How we connect with European and Nordic research
At the European level, a great deal of research - partially funded by the EU - has focused on establishing the research field “EU Property Law” with a view to establishing harmonised rules. However, the impact at the national level and on the practising legal profession and the business community have only been superficially considered - if at all.
The Danish rules and those of the other Nordic countries are similar, but they differ markedly from the rules in the rest of Europe. An EU harmonisation may therefore entail fundamental changes for Denmark and the rest of the Nordic countries. Also, previous research in the field has primarily been conducted outside the Nordic countries and has focused on the rules in the UK, France and Germany in particular. Through its research, the research group aims to contribute to ensuring that a greater emphasis is placed on the Danish and joint Nordic rules within “EU Property Law” and to shedding light on the how a potential harmonisation will affect Danish law.