China: 合同中的仲裁管辖争议(二)

Last Updated: 14 December 2017
Article by Allbright Law Office

 合同变更后,主要有三大类情况可能涉及仲裁管辖问题:争议解决条款的变更、当事人的变更,以及其他条款的变更。当这些变更发生后,原合同下的仲裁协议是否继续适用?本文将结合具体的案例来讨论这些问题,并给出实务贴士。

合同变更

在合同履行期间,合同的内容以及双方当事人等都可能会发生变更。合同变更的情形大致可以分为三种情况:

1.  争议解决条款的变更

2.  合同当事人的变更

3.  合同其他条款的变更

当上述事项发生变更后,原合同下的仲裁条款是否继续适用?对此不能简单地一概而论。

1. 争议解决条款的变更

只要双方当事人达成合意,那么争议解决条款的变更即是有效的。

案例:北京泰思谊铁道技术有限公司与北京易科路通科技有限公司合同纠纷案【(2016)京01民终369号】

本案为确认之诉,原告要求确认当事人已将争议解决的方式由仲裁变更为了诉讼。法院认为,变更争议解决条款只要是当事人合意作出的,应当予以认可,若合同变更后产生了争议,应当提交变更后的争议解决机构处理。

本案中,法院作出确认判决的依据主要包括:1、盖有公章的会议纪要,该会议纪要明确载明了双方确认变更争议解决机构的事项;2、被告对这一事项进行明确答复的回函。基于这些书面证据,法院认定当事人双方已合意将争议解决方式由仲裁变更为诉讼。

实务贴士

我国《仲裁法》第16条第1款规定:"仲裁协议包括合同中订立的仲裁条款和以其他书面方式在纠纷发生前或者纠纷发生后达成的请求仲裁的协议。"因此,即使当事人双方在合同中没有就争议解决方式作出约定,或者约定诉讼,在合同签订后仍旧可以另行约定使用仲裁作为争议解决的方式。需要注意的是,仲裁协议必须采用"书面方式"明确约定。因而,在合同签订后,如需变更争议解决方式为仲裁,则必须通过书面进行。就何为"书面方式",《最高人民法院关于适用〈中华人民共和国仲裁法〉若干问题的解释》(下简称"《仲裁法解释》")第1条明确规定"包括以合同书、信件和数据电文(包括电报、电传、传真、电子数据交换和电子邮件)等形式"。

同时,需要注意第16条第2款的规定,即约定仲裁需要载明:"(一)请求仲裁的意思表示;(二)仲裁事项;(三)选定的仲裁委员会。 1"

因此,在合同签订后,如需将争议解决方式变更为仲裁,则需要注意《仲裁法》第16条所规定的形式和实质要件,并且注意保存相关书面证据。同理,如果像上述案件一样,是由仲裁变更为诉讼,也需要注意保存有关变更事项的书面证据。

2. 合同当事人的变更

当事人自愿原则是仲裁的重要原则之一,该原则要求双方当事人在仲裁前自愿达成仲裁协议。《仲裁法》第16条明确规定双方当事人须在仲裁协议中就仲裁的事项以及仲裁机构达成合意,如果双方当事人无法就这些问题达成一致的意见,那么仲裁协议将被认定无效。

由此可见,自愿达成的仲裁协议是启动仲裁程序的基础。在合同当事人变更的情形中,受让方并非原合同的签订方,在原合同下的仲裁协议达成时并没有做出意思表示。那么,受让方在受让合同后,能否对原合同下的约定仲裁进行抗辩、提出仲裁管辖异议?对此,最高人民法院在《关于v97329号武汉金龙高科技有限公司合资争议仲裁案仲裁条款效力事的复函(法经〔1998〕212号)》中认为,对原合同中争议解决条款没有做出变更或者提出意见的,应当视为当事人对该争议解决条款的认同,因此合同受让方也将受到仲裁协议的约束。

在之后颁布的《仲裁法解释》中最高法院进一步明确了这一观点——第8条规定,除非当事人在订立合同时另有约定,当事人死亡的,仲裁协议对其继承人有效,当事人合并、分立的,仲裁协议对其继受人有效。第9条规定,债权债务全部或者部分转让的,仲裁协议对受让人有效,但当事人另有约定、在受让债权债务时受让人明确反对或者不知有单独仲裁协议的除外。

实务贴士

当事人在受让债权债务时,应当注意原合同中是否有仲裁条款的存在,根据自身情况选择是否排除该仲裁条款的适用。如果确需排除,则在受让合同之时就必须向合同向对方明确提出,由双方一同作出排除仲裁的另行约定。

如果原合同下没有仲裁条款,则建议询问原合同下的双方当事人是否存在单独的仲裁协议,并保留有关询问的相应书面证据。

3. 合同内容的变更

此处讨论的"变更"做狭义理解,即是对合同条款的直接变更,而非另行签订补充协议。有关本协议与补充协议下的仲裁管辖问题可参见我们的文章:《合同中的仲裁管辖争议(一)——本协议及补充协议下的仲裁管辖认定》。依据《仲裁法》第19条第1款规定"仲裁协议独立存在,合同的变更、解除、终止或者无效,不影响仲裁协议的效力"。

类似情形常出现于特定的合同中,如加工承揽合同。由于加工承揽合同的性质,当事人在订立合同之前无法对价款和工程量做出具体的约定,而是先约定一个总价,随着合同的履行,当事人需要不断地变更合同,对价款和工程量进行重新的约定。为了保障当事人对争议解决条款的约定得以实现,该类案件在签订争议解决条款时应当明确争议解决条款适用的具体范围。同时还要考虑相关合同履行中的交易习惯,如在加工承揽合同中当事人经常会使用《签证单》的方式对合同进行变更,为了保障变更后的合同可以适用原合同的争议解决条款,可以在签订合同时即约定争议解决条款对《签证单》的适用。

案例:北京海湾威尔电子工程有限公司与山东一箭建设有限公司不予执行仲裁裁决执行案【(2016)京01执异185号】

本案合同为工程劳务的分包合同,原合同总价款为236万元,在合同的实际履行中产生了多份经双方签字确认的《现场签证指令单》,以此增加了30万元的工程款。后由于发包方逾期未支付价款,双方依据合同中的仲裁条款将该争议提交仲裁机构仲裁。仲裁机构认定,该合同的总价款应为266万元,《现场签证指令单》为建设工程领域常用的费用产生凭证,经双方签字确认后构成对原合同价款的变更。然而,发包方以该30万元的价款超出仲裁协议范围为由请求法院裁定不予执行。

对此法院认为,增加的30万元价款应当属于合同变更后的内容,本案合同约定:"施工过程中如果由于图纸及业主发生变更导致工程量变更,由甲乙双方在工程整体竣工验收后进行结算。"由此可见,该合同的履行中出现合同变更的情形可以预见。同时本案中认定价款变更的依据为多份《现场签证指令单》,该合同中亦有约定:"除设计变更、业主、甲方指令、现场签证洽商、甲供甲指材外甲方不再增加与本工程有关的其他费用。"可见签订《现场签证指令单》属于合同约定的变更价款的情形。双方均在《现场签证指令单》上签字确认,表明当事人已经对合同的变更予以认可。

本案中合同的争议解决条款适用于该合同效力与履行中存在的所有争议,而《现场签证指令单》中记载的增加价款均与原合同分包工程有密切联系,属于原合同劳务分包的范围。法院认为,该合同中变更的内容是可以预见的,且依旧属于整个分包工程范围内,因此变更后的合同也应当适用原争议解决条款。

实务贴士

在变更合同条款的情形中,变更争议解决条款后的适用没有太大争议。而变更合同其他条款时,需注意仲裁协议的独立性原则(即《仲裁法》第19条)、原仲裁条款的适用范围、变更内容的可预见性问题等。为避免合同变更后当事人双方就原合同下的仲裁条款是否仍旧适用变更后的合同而产生争议,可在变更合同时就通过书面方式对此问题作出明确的约定。

免责声明

本文内容仅为提供信息之目的由作者/仲裁研究智库制作,不应视为广告、招揽或法律意见。阅读、传播本文内容不以建立律师-委托人关系为目的,订阅我们的文章也不构成律师-委托人关系。本文所包含的信息仅是作为一般性信息提供,作者/仲裁研究智库不对本文做日常性维护、修改或更新,故可能未反映最新的法律发展。读者在就自身案件获得相关法域内执业律师的法律意见之前, 不要为任何目的依赖本文信息。作者/仲裁研究智库明确不承担因基于对本文任何形式的使用(包括作为或不作为)而产生的一切责任、损失或损害。

Footnote

1 中国法下的一般原则是只承认机构仲裁,因而当事人须在仲裁协议中明确所选择的仲裁机构。2017年1月9日颁布的《最高人民法院关于为自由贸易试验区建设提供司法保障的意见》对此限制做了有限突破——自贸区企业在特定情况下可以不用明确约定仲裁机构。对此问题更详细的分析请参见我们的文章:商事仲裁在中国的最新发展 ——解读《最高人民法院关于为自由贸易试验区建设提供司法保障的意见》

Originally published by Lexology, October 6 2017

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