China: 浅析破产案件债权核查中诉讼时效适用规则

Last Updated: 28 April 2017
Article by Watson & Band Law Offices

[摘要]在破产案件中,管理人接收债权人递交的债权申报材料后,需对债权人所申报债权在合法性、真实性、有效性进行核查,其中,所谓的对债权"有效性"核查就是指核查该债权是否在诉讼时效内。如果在诉讼时效内,则管理人应将其视为破产债权;如不在诉讼时效内,则不属于破产债权,不受破产法保护。对所申报债权"有效性"的核查,应以管理人核查为主,以债权人异议为辅,以破产企业、其他债权人的异议为补充。

[关键词] 破产  债权申报   诉讼时效

一、 诉讼时效规则在破产案件中的适用

  企业进入破产程序后,企业对外所负的所有债务,应按《企业破产法》规定的清偿规则按顺位、按比例概括清偿。企业对外所负债务的性质不因企业进入破产程序而发生改变,企业在破产前拖欠的劳动债权,在企业进入破产程序后,仍然为劳动债权,企业在破产前拖欠的无担保借款,在企业进入破产程序后,仍然为属于无担保借款的普通债权。因此,债务性质的不变,决定了民法通则、民事诉讼法规定的诉讼时效在破产案件中仍将适用。

  为避免在法律适用时产生歧义,《最高人民法院<关于审理企业破产案件若干问题的规定>》第61条进而明确规定:"超过诉讼时效的债权不属于破产债权" 。

  基于以上,在破产案件中,管理人必须核查债权人所申报债权是否在诉讼时效内。(以此规则,笔者认为管理人在调查劳动者债权时,也必须核查劳动债权是否在仲裁时效内)。

二、 管理人对诉讼时效的核查

  按民法通则、民事诉讼法规定的诉讼时效相关规则,诉讼时效为被主张方对主张方所主张权利的一种抗辩事由,在被主张方不以抗辩事由进行抗辩时,人民法院不应对诉讼时效问题进行释明及主动适用诉讼时效的规定进行裁判,且主张方超过诉讼时效的债权被清偿的,则该清偿也受法律保护,被主张方不得再以债权超过诉讼时效抗辩。

  同时,按《企业破产法》第49条规定:"债权人申报债权时,应当书面说明债权的数额和有无财产担保,并提交有关证据",债权人向管理人申报债权时,提供证据材料证明所申报债权额存在即可,并不要求债权人同时提供证据材料证明其申报债权在诉讼时效内。

  鉴于以上,笔者认为,对于债权人所申报债权是否在诉讼时效内,管理人应主动予以审查,而不依赖于债权人对"诉讼时效"有关材料的提供。实际上,按照《企业破产法》的规定,管理人理应、也有能力予以核查:首先,管理人成立后,对内清理破产企业财产等各项事务,对外代表破产企业进行诉讼等各项事务,对于债权人申报的债权,管理人应代表破产企业审慎行使破产企业享有的诉讼时效抗辩权;其次,管理人经人民法院成立后,全面接管破产企业,包括接管破产企业债务清册、财务资料、合同及其他重要文件等,并可依法向破产企业相关人员询问,因此,管理人有能力在所接管材料、所作调查的基础上,查实破产企业对外债务的诉讼时效事项。

三、 债权人对管理人诉讼时效核查结果的异议

  管理人核查债权人所申报债权后,应按《企业破产法》的规定编制债权表,供债权人会议核查。实践中,因债权人会议召开时间有限,由所有债权人对所有申报债权进行逐一核查不切实际,因此,管理人一般会事先将债权核查情况通报债权人(特别是在管理人不认可或着调减债权人所申报债权的情况下)并说明不认可债权或调减债权额所依据的事实、根据。

  对于管理人认为债权人所申报债权超过诉讼时效而不认可其债权的,债权人可以提供诉讼时效中断、中止的相关证明材料进行抗辩。如经核查,债权人所申报债权确实存在诉讼时效中断、中止情形、目前所申报债权尚在诉讼时效内的,管理人应对所申报债权予以认可。

四、 破产企业、其他债权人异议

  按《企业破产法》规定,管理人编制的债权表应提交债权人会议核查,破产企业、债权人可以对债权表中债权提出异议;而在破产程序中,破产企业、债权人有权向管理人申请查阅债权人债权申报材料,因此,在破产程序中,法律赋予了破产企业、债权人对其他所有债权人所申报债权的知情权及异议权。破产企业、债权人在行使知情权后,如认为个别债权人所申报债权已超过诉讼时效的,可以向管理人提出异议,要求管理人加以复核。

五、 诉讼时效审查规则在破产债权核查中的灵活运用

  民法通则、民事诉讼法以及最高院《关于审理民事案件适用诉讼时效制度若干问题的规定》等规定,分别对诉讼时效进行了规定。审查债权人所申报债权是否在诉讼时效内的一般规则为:债权人是否在知道或者应当知道其权利被破产企业侵害的二年内向破产企业主张权利。而在破产案件中,则需特别注意对该一般规则的运用:企业在存在(或逐渐满足)破产原因、进入破产程序前,一般会出现人员流失、管理缺失的情况,对外部事务(如对合同继续履行与否、对债权债务的结算等)较容易采取消极的态度,有些履行中合同便会因此陡然中止,而合同一般为双务合同,具体债权数额或支付条件是否成就需以合同的履行情况确定,合同陡然中止履行便造成了债权数、支付条件是否成就无法确定。在前述情况下,笔者认为应当依照双方间合同有关付款条件的约定、结合债权人所申报债权的构成核查所申报债权诉讼时效情况,即:

1、对于按照合同约定,支付条件已成就的债权,应从相应付款期限届满的次日计算诉讼时效,如超过诉讼时效,则该部分债权不应作为破产债权;

2、对于按照合同约定,债权人已履行部分义务但尚未满足支付条件时形成的债权,在该合同不需继续履行的情况下,笔者认为应按破产法有关双务合同解除的有关规定申报债权和核定债权,相应的,该部分债权应不存在超过诉讼时效之虞。

六、 小结

  审理、办理破产案件的宗旨主要在于对所有破产债权进行概括清偿,各债权人所申报债权的成立与否,与申报人、与其他债权人的利益直接相关,故,管理人应审慎核查所申报债权,审慎核查所申报债权的诉讼时效情况,避免因核查债权有误,导致债权人遭受损失而受到处罚或追索。相应的,债权人应懂法、用法,不要因追索债权碰到的种种问题,而怠于主张权利,致使权利不受法律保护。

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