China: 律师费转移支付制度在境外的适用和例外

Last Updated: 10 July 2019
Article by Junqi Wang, Li Feng, Xiao Lei, Lu Yisong and Sun Hong
Most Read Contributor in China, July 2019

引言/概要

律师费转移支付制度是指由败诉方承担胜诉方律师费用的制度。律师费承担的制度设计涉及到当事人的诉讼成本、司法资源的有效利用和公平正义价值的实现。该制度目前在我国尚无系统和明确的规定,相关法律法规并未对律师费由哪一方承担作出具有普遍约束力的规定,实践中我国较多采用的是当事人自己承担的模式。

近期,最高人民法院第三巡回法庭在上海对相关主题进行调研时,德恒上海办公室就境外部分国家的相关制度作了系统的研究,并由王军旗律师在相关会议上发言,以期相关部门能加快对中国的律师费承担进行明确的规定,促进律师业良性发展。

本文拟通过对英、法、德、美四国律师费承担相关规定的解读,结合各国法院的裁判观点和司法解释,分析并总结律师费转移支付制度在境外的适用和例外,旨在对我国能够在未来明确律师费的承担有所裨益。

关键词

律师费承担、转移支付制度、转付制度、转移支付制度的适用和例外

近几年,我国在开展律师费用转移支付制度的探索,相关法律、司法解释或规范性文件已作出规定,把部分领域的律师费视作胜诉方因这项行为所造成的损失和合理开支而列入诉讼请求的追偿范围。就律师费转移支付即由败诉方承担胜诉方律师费用的制度,起源于英国,而后逐渐被其他国家效仿。目前大多数发达国家在律师费的承担上都采用转移支付制度,其中以英、法、德为代表;而美国则是其中的例外,以当事人双方自行负担的模式为主。

一、律师费转移支付制度在英国的适用和例外

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英国是适用律师费转移支付制度的典型代表,因此该制度又被称为英国规则。其背后的主要逻辑是:如果最终法院未支持一方的立场,那他之前坚持自己的诉讼立场就是一种错误;如果诉讼开销未得到补偿,那么胜诉方就没有完全"胜诉"。英国的败诉转移支付制度存在已久,最早可追溯到1275年的Gloucester法典。


目前,英国关于律师费承担的条款主要规定在《民事诉讼规则》 [1]中:

条款序号

主要内容

第44.2(2)条的规定

当法院决定就诉讼费用作出命令时,

(a)一般原则是应当裁决由败诉方承担胜诉方的诉讼费用;但是

(b)法院也可以作出不同的命令。

第44.2(1)条的规定

法院对如下事项拥有自由裁量权,

(a)一方当事人是否应承担另一方当事人的诉讼费用;

(b)承担的诉讼费用金额;

(c)支付诉讼费用的时间。

第45.1条

明确法定范围内的律师费属于诉讼费用,当事人可以在委托代理合同中签订高于法定费率的律师费,但高出部分不由败诉方承担。

这种制度在司法实践中也得到了印证:


●根据Aiden Shipping Co. Ltd. [1986] AC 965, Bankanerica Finance Ltd. v. Nock [1988] AC 1002, Singh v. Observer Ltd. [1989] 2 All ER 751的判决,法院有充分的权利决定由谁支付诉讼费用,以及在什么样的范围内支付诉讼费用。


●根据Hughes v. Kingston upon Hull City Council [1999] QB 1193, 及Awwad v. Geraghty and Co. [2000] 1 All ER 608的判决,如果律师与客户之间以或有费用为基础对费用作出安排相当于一个不合法的协议,即使胜诉该客户也不能得到诉讼费用的裁定。

从以上的法律条文及司法判例可以看出,英国的律师费通常应当由败诉方承担,法院对此有自由裁量权 [2],并且可对具体案情进行分析,但败诉方所承担的律师费数额本身是有所限制的。在适用败诉转移支付制度作为一般原则的同时,英国也规定了例外的情形,如根据英国《民事诉讼规则》第44.2(3)条及第27.14条 [3],某些上诉案件及小额诉讼案件中,不适用"律师费由败诉方承担"的原则;此外,还包括Dunnettv. Railtrack、Halseyv.Milton Keynes General NHSTrust等案件[4]中,英国法院确立了诉讼费用罚则,即当事人若拒绝法院提出的以调解方式解决纠纷的建议,则法院有权在裁决中让胜诉一方承担案件的诉讼费用。

>二、律师费转移支付制度在法国的适用和例外

与英国相类的是,法国也是典型的适用律师费败诉转移支付制度的国家。法国的民事诉讼可分为强制律师代理的案件和非强制律师代理的案件。

在强制律师代理的案件中,胜诉方律师的酬金应作为诉讼费用,适用《法国新民事诉讼法典》第696条 [5]规定的"败诉一方的当事人受判处承担诉讼费用,但是法官以说明理由之裁判决定规定由另一方当事人负担全部或者部分诉讼费用的情形除外",由对方当事人承担。

而律师费的具体数额则由法律规定。若当事人对包括律师费在内的诉讼费数额有争议,可申请法院进行审核;利害关系人对法院作出的有关诉讼费用收取的裁定有异议,也可以进行上诉,《法国新民事诉讼法典》对此规定了详细的救济途径。

在非强制律师代理的案件中,《法国新民事诉讼法典》第700条 [6]规定,"在所有诉讼中,法官得判处应当负担诉讼费用的当事人,或者不属于此种情形时,判处败诉的当事人,以已经支出的没有包括在诉讼费用之内的、其他费用的名义,向另一方当事人支付由法官确定数额的款项;但法官应考虑平衡原则以及被判处人的经济情况。法官得基于相同考虑之原因依职权宣布不做此项判罚。"

此种情况下律师费的具体数额法律没有明确规定,但在《法国国家律师协会律师职业道德指导规范》中规定了应当考虑的因素 [7]。在法国,民事诉讼当事人依据《民事诉讼法典》第700条,向法院提起的请求判令相对方支付一定金钱的诉讼,被称为"第700条诉讼"。就此,根据法国最高司法法院第三民事庭的观点,即使一方当事人接受了司法援助,甚至没有在全部诉讼请求上完全胜诉,仍然可给予其第700条规定的利益。

可以看出,在两类案件中,律师费一般都应由败诉方承担,且法院对于是否判处败诉方承担诉讼费用均有自由裁量权。

即使法国适用律师费败诉转移支付制度,也存在例外的情形,例如当债权人运用漫长的诉讼程序收取数额很小的债权时,胜诉一方也可能被判罚承担律师费用。根据最高司法法院第二民事庭的观点,胜诉的当事人也可能依据第700条的规定受到判罚,例如债权人运用漫长的诉讼程序收取数额很小的债权。

三、律师费转移支付制度在德国的适用

对于德国而言,同样适用律师费败诉转移支付的制度;与此同时,德国在律师的聘请上采取法院指定的方式。《德意志联邦共和国民事诉讼法》第78条 [8]规定了"受诉法院命令须由律师代为诉讼,而当事人没有可代理他的律师,以至他无从伸张权利或防卫权利时,受诉法院可以依当事人的申请在该审级中为其指定律师以保卫其权利"。

若当事人在法院诉讼则必须由法院许可的律师来代理,由此产生的律师费,根据《德意志联邦共和国民事诉讼法》第91条 [9]的规定,应当属于诉讼费用,在各种诉讼中均应由败诉当事人偿付。即使律师在办理自己的案件时,也能以其作为受委托的律师所能收取的报酬和费用为限,要求败诉方当事人承担该笔费用。然而,与英、法两国截然不同的是,法院在诉讼费用的承担上几乎没有自由裁量权。

相对应的,在支付方式上,律师有权直接以自己的名义,向被判诉讼费用的对方当事人收取律师报酬和垫付款项,而无需通过己方当事人或者法院。就律师费的数额,德国存在复杂而严谨的报酬计算方式,律师甚至可与委托人约定比《律师报酬法》 [10]所规定的额度更高的律师费用,但对超出的部分,败诉方无义务承担。如果当事人因自身经济情况无法负担诉讼费用,可以申请诉讼费用的救助,经过法院裁量后可暂缓或免缴相应费用。

然而,德国也存在律师费败诉转移支付制度的例外情况,例如根据《德意志联邦共和国民事诉讼法》第93条 [11],如在房屋租赁纠纷中,可能出现胜诉方承担律师费的情况。

>四、美国针对律师费承担的特殊制度

1796年,美国最高法院在Arcambel v. Wiseman[12]案中确立了律师费自行承担的美国规则。因此,在美国,胜诉方如提出其律师费应由败诉方承担的请求,这样的请求通常是没有办法获得支持的。其理由在于司法体系不应成为当事人诉诸司法程序的障碍,如受害方不仅要承担败诉的风险,还要承担为对方给付律师费的风险,那么实际上是给准备通过诉讼或仲裁维权的受害方增加了额外的风险。因此,在美国律师费通常是由当事人各自承担的。

虽然存在律师费各自承担的惯例,但也有200多个联邦立法和2000多个州立法中规定了律师败诉转移支付制度。主要涉及公民权诉讼、消费者保护诉讼、劳动诉讼、环境保护诉讼四大领域,这些诉讼通常具有一定的社会性,且原告大多数时候为了推动社会进步而起诉,胜诉的原告不应当为推动社会进步而买单,特别是判决结果并未赋予原告经济利益的情况下。例如:

 

条款序号

主要内容

《联邦反托拉斯法》第15条规定 [13]

特定案件中,胜诉方索要律师费的请求可以得到支持。

《专利法》第285条规定 [14]

在"例外情况"下,联邦法院可判令专利诉讼中,败诉方承担对方的合理律师费用,但对于什么是"例外情况",美国专利法本身并没有作出更加细致的规定。

《联邦民事诉讼规则》第11条规定 [15]

在违反特定条款的情况下,被告可以请求法院判定提起诉讼的一方支付被诉方的律师费。法院在适用此条时的判断标准为客观合理性,而并不需要起诉方具有恶意。

《哈姆兰法》修正案(1975年)中规定 [16]

法官可在商标纠纷中对律师费的判赔加以分配。


在以上法律规定的基础上,美国通常认为法官对律师费的裁定拥有自由裁量权。例如在Rolex Watch USA, Inc. v. Meece[17]一案中,法院认为,为使法院判予律师费具有正当性,必须证明案件一方当事人存在某种程度的可责性;在Tamko Roofing Products Inc v Ideal Roofing CoLtd[18]一案中,法院认为,判断一个案件是否属于特殊情况是初审法院法官的自由裁量范围。

对于合理律师费的标准,美国也有详细的规定,美国联邦第五巡回上诉法院于1974年在Johnsonv. Georgia Highway Express,Inc.[19]一案中确立了计算合理律师费需考虑的若干标准,其中包括1)所需的时间和劳动力;2)问题的新颖性和难度;3)履行适当法律服务所需的技能;4)律师因接受案件而舍弃其他工作的成本等。美国联邦第九巡回法院在著名的Kerrv Screen Extras Guild, Inc[20].一案中亦沿用了这一标准:

"如合同中有条款约定允许裁决支持胜诉方律师费的请求,那么每一方当事人都应要求自己的代理律师保留工作时间的详细记录,这些记录包括代理律师在案件上花费的时间,并合理地显示出完成工作的明细。比如说,仅仅表明'法律检索'的条目就是不符合要求的。对于条目的要求是,不能把几个不同的任务列在一个时间段中,同时又不把花费在不同任务上的时间分清列明。对主张律师费的一方当事人,是需对请求的正当性和数量的合理性承担举证责任。"

综上所述,法、英与德三国均将律师费转移支付制度作为原则,而美国则更倾向于由双方当事人各自承担律师费。就此,我国目前也正在进行相关制度的探索:

 

条款序号

主要内容

《最高人民法院关于适用<中华人民共和国合同法>若干问题的解释(一)》第26条规定

债权人行使撤销权所支付的律师代理费、差旅费等必要费用,由债务人承担。

《最高人民法院关于全面加强知识产权审判工作为建设创新型国家提供司法保障的意见》第13条规定

当事人为诉讼支出的符合规定的律师费,应当根据当事人的请求,综合考虑必要性,全部诉讼请求的支持程度,请求赔偿额和实际判赔偿的比例等因素及合理确定,并计入赔偿范围。

《中华人民共和国著作权法》第48条规定

侵犯著作权的赔偿数额......赔偿数额还应包括权利人为制止侵权行为,而支出的合理开支。

《最高人民法院关于审理著作权民事纠纷案件运用法律若干问题的解释》第26条规定

《著作权法》第48条第一款所规定的制止侵权行为所负担的合理支出,包括权利人或委托代理人针对侵权行为调查取证的合理费用......人民法院根据当事人的诉讼请求和具体案情,可以将符合国家有关部门规定的律师费用计算在赔偿范围内。

 

在中国,律师费的承担对于当事人的诉讼成本、司法资源的有效利用和公平正义价值的实现均有重要意义,我国有必要在借鉴各国经验的基础上,形成一套自己的律师费承担制度,我们欣喜地看到中国相关部门已经高度重视这一问题,我们期待相关规定能够尽快落地。

Footnotes

[1]英国《民事诉讼规则》第44条、第45条,参考链接 http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part-44-general-rules-about-costs, http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part45-fixed-costs

[2]英国《高级法院法》第51条,参考链接为 https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1981/54/section/51

[3]英国《民事诉讼规则》第27.14条,参考链接为http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part27

[4]《英国调解中的诉讼费用法则》,沈芹宇,人民法院报,2010年3月26日星期五第8版,参考链接为http://rmfyb.chinacourt.org/paper/html/2010-03/26/content_6440.htm

[5]《法国新民事诉讼法典》第696条,参考链接为https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichCodeArticle.do?idArticle=LEGIARTI000023723482&cidTexte=LEGITEXT000006070716&dateTexte=20110318

[6]《法国新民事诉讼法典》第700条:"如同1991年7月10日第91-647号法律第75条第1项之规定,在所有诉讼中......",参考链接为https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichCodeArticle.do?cidTexte=LEGITEXT000006070716&idArticle=LEGIARTI000006411119

[7]《法国国家律师协会律师职业道德指导规范》,参考链接为https://www.cnb.avocat.fr/sites/default/files/rin_2019-04-30_consolidefinal1.pdf

[8]《德意志联邦共和国民事诉讼法》第78条,参考链接为https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/zpo/78.html

[9]《德意志联邦共和国民事诉讼法》第91条,"(2):胜诉当事人对律师的法定报酬和支出费用,在各种诉讼中均应偿付。律师如果是未经受诉法院许可的,并且是未住在受诉法院所在地的,其旅费只在因达到伸张权利或防卫权利的目的所必要的限度内予以偿付。胜诉当事人对于经受诉法院许可的律师,因其住所或办事处不在受诉法院或该法院的分院所在地而支出的额外开支,不予偿付。律师有数人时,其费用以不超过一人的费用为限,或以律师必须更换时为限予以偿付。律师在办理自己的案件时,关于报酬和费用的收取,以其作为受委托的律师所能收取的报酬和费用为限。" 参考链接为https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/zpo/91.html

[10]德国《律师报酬法》第2条:"(1)除非本法另有规定,否则应根据律师服务标的的价值(标的价值)计算。(2)报酬金额应根据本法《律师报酬法》的报酬表确定。费用向上或向下舍入到最接近的分数;0.5欧分被四舍五入"。参考链接为https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_rvg/englisch_rvg.html

[11]《德意志联邦共和国民事诉讼法》第93条b款,参考链接为https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/zpo/__93b.html

[12]3 U.S. 306 (1796) Arcambel v. Wiseman;

[13]《美国联邦反托拉斯法》第15条,参考链接为https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/15

[14]《美国专利法》第285条,参考链接为https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/35/285

[15]《美国联邦地区法院民事诉讼规则》第11条,参考链接为https://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/rule_11

[16]《哈姆兰法》第1117条,参考链接为https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/1117

[17]158 F.3d 816 (1998) Rolex Watch USA, Inc. v. Meece;

[18]282 F.3d 23 (2002) Tamko Roofing Products, Inc. v. Ideal Roofing Co., Ltd.;

[19]488 F.2d 714 (1974) Johnson v. Georgia Highway Exp, Inc.;

[20]526 F.2d 67 (1975) Kerr v. Screen Extras Guild, Inc.

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