As a rule, cases in the first instance come before one of 82 county courts. Certain major cases, however, come under one of the two High Courts (Landsrettes), in Copenhagen and Viborg, in the first instance; otherwise these courts function as courts of appeal. The High Courts generally sit in chambers of three judges. In jury trials (only applicable in cases involving serious crimes) three High Court judges sit with 12 jurors. The Supreme Court (Hojesteret) is made up of a president and 18 other judges, sitting in two chambers, each having at least five judges; it serves solely as a court of appeal for cases coming from the High Courts. Special courts include the Maritime and Commercial Court and the Tax Tribunal. An Ombudsman elected by and responsible to Parliament investigates citizen complaints against the government or its ministers.
The judiciary is fully independent of the executive and legislative branches. Judges are appointed by the monarch on recommendation of the Minister of Justice and serve to age 70. They may be dismissed only for negligence or for criminal acts. Denmark accepts compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice with reservations.