China: 最高法院副院长刘贵祥的讲话动了谁的奶酪?

Last Updated: 12 August 2019
Article by Zheng Jiangu

  全国法院民商事审判工作会议于2019年7月3日召开,会议主持人、最高法院副院长刘贵祥作专题讲话,确立了五条极其重要的新规则,某种程度上动了在官司中博弈的各方的奶酪,本文特加以提炼,与您分享。

  逾期付款的高额违约金恐将不复存在!

  新规则:双务合同的金钱给付之债(除借款合同外),不能以24%的年利率作为违约金是否过高的标准,而应以银行利率为基础,兼顾合同履行情况、当事人过错程度以及预期利益等因素综合确定。

  解读:

  ●如果合同对逾期付款违约金定得过高,法院通常会调低到民间借贷利率的上限,但事实上,违约金是否过高要看守约方的实际损失,而借贷利率上限与未及时收到合同款遭受的实际损失并无直接关系,况且24%的年息在很多情况下依然过高。因此,部分法院已经主动将高额违约金调低到银行逾期罚息的1.3倍,大约为银行同期贷款利率的1.8倍(约8%/年)。接下来,预计各地法院都会尊重该规则,将高额的逾期付款违约金调整到10%/年以内。

  ●如您是守约方,则建议在对方违约时签订借款协议,将逾期的款项转化成借款本金,将违约金转化成利息,则有望获得24%年利率的保护。

  ●新规则仅适用于逾期付款的情形,不适用于逾期履行行为义务的情形,比如逾期交货的情形,原因在于逾期交货与逾期付款造成的损失不具有可比性。

  越权担保对公司不生效,由法定代表人担责!

  新规则1:法定代表人越权担保,债权人知道或应当知道其越权的,该担保合同对公司不生效。

  解读:

  所谓越权担保,是指股东会或者董事会不同意担保而法定代表人擅自在担保文件上签字、公司盖章的行为。公司法规定,如果为股东或公司实际控制人担保,须股东会同意,且被担保的股东或受实控人支配的股东要回避表决;如果为其他人担保,须股东会或董事会同意(交由章程来规定)。如果只有担保合同,没有决议,也无其他事实证明公司机关认可担保,那么这个合同对公司有没有约束力?这是法律必须向企业家回答的基本问题。过去普遍认为,公司内部可以向法定代表人追责,但担保合同仍然有效,公司应当承担担保责任。此次刘副院长明确表示认定合同有效是错误的。可惜他说成了合同无效,不够准确。前不久最高法院民二庭通过法官会议纪要,认为担保合同对公司不生效(这与合同无效是完全不同的法律概念,是类推适用了无权代理规则,本文不展开),这与征求意见中的司法解释规定一致,我认为更加正确。预计本次全国审判工作会议最终通过的纪要将采纳后者意见,下一步可能会颁布司法解释正式加以确认。

  新规则2:债权人如果对决议尽到审查义务,则构成表见代表,担保合同对公司生效。要求表面审查,而非实质审查,只要债权人审查了决议的内容与公司法的要求相符,则视为尽到审查义务。即使决议系行为人伪造或变造、决议形成程序违法、签章不实、担保金额实际超过法定担保限额,也不影响表见代表的成立,除非债权人知情。

  启示:

  如您是债权人,一定要让公司提供担保决议,并对照公司章程(最近一次工商备案版本)认真审查,除有股东或董事在相关决议上签章外,还必须要求公司法定代表人在该决议上签字,证明是法定代表人将决议提交给您,而非您自己伪造。

  新规则3:如果是为股东或实控人的债务作担保,该股东或实控人支配的股东应回避表决,否则视为债权人没有尽到审查义务。

  解读:

  不少人错误地认为,如果全体股东都在担保决议上签章,说明全票通过,不是更有效吗?不是的。公司法明确规定被担保的股东或实控人支配的股东必须回避表决,因为一旦其参与表决,极有可能对其他股东造成不当影响,扭曲公司在此议题上的真实意愿。因此,如果您是债权人,千万注意审查决议上不能有该股东的签章。

  新规则4:如果未尽到审查义务,则担保合同对公司不生效,公司不仅不承担担保责任,也不承担过错赔偿责任。

  解读:

  此为最高法院民二庭法官会议纪要的观点。担保法司法解释规定,主合同有效、担保合同无效,担保人有过错的,仍要承担不超过1/2的赔偿责任。不过,最高法院民二庭法官会议认为越权担保情况下,担保合同对公司"不生效",公司不存在过错与否的问题,比认定无效更能保护公司的利益,避免了公司受到法律的"二次伤害"。

  新规则5:担保合同对公司不生效,不代表合同没有其他效力,债权人可以要求法定代表人履行担保义务或者赔偿债权人受到的损失。

  解读:

  该规则是类推适用《民法总则》第171条关于无权代理人、越权代理人的责任制度。此时,法定代表人相当于替代公司承担了担保责任,一不小心就会倾家荡产。如果您是法定代表人,切记不要在无书面决议的情况下贸然签署担保合同。以防万一,决议要一式多份,自己也要妥善保管一份原件。

  新规则6:虽然没有担保决议,但有其他事实可以证明担保系公司真实意思,则担保合同对公司生效。

  解读:

  有原则就有例外。刘贵祥副院长认为:存在以下情形的,即便没有公司决议,也应当认定该担保符合公司的真实意思,从而认定担保有效:

  一是公司是以为他人提供担保为主营业务的担保公司,或者是开展独立保函业务的银行和非银行金融机构;

  二是公司与主债务人之间存在着相互担保等商业合作关系;

  三是公司为其直接或间接控制的公司开展经营活动向债权人提供担保;

  四是为他人(不包括股东或实际控制人)提供担保的行为,由持有公司50%以上表决权的股东单独或共同实施。

  股权让与担保"转正",名义受让人有优先受偿权!

  新规则1:以签订股权转让协议并且过户的形式,将股权作为债务的担保,属于股权让与担保。股权转让协议有效,但性质属于担保,不是转让。如借款合同约定债务届满后直接取得股权的,属于流质条款,该条款无效。

  新规则2:物权法虽然未规定此种担保形式,但鉴于当事人已经完成了股权变更登记,根据"举重以明轻"的法律解释规则,可以认为完成了股权质押登记,可以参照适用股权质押规则,名义受让人对该股权享有优先受偿权。

  新规则3:质押期间,名义受让人不是真正的股东,物权对股权进行使用收益,不能享有公司法规定的股东所享有的参与决策、选任管理者、分取红利的权利。

  新规则4:如名义受让人的债权人执行该股权,实际股东可以通过执行异议之诉予以救济。但如果名义受让人对该股权进行了处分,比如转让或质押,则相对人基于对登记的信赖,可以基于善意取得制度取得股权或质权。

  启示:

  ●房屋让与担保情形与之完全相同,也应当转正。

  ●股权让与后,如被名义受让人的债权人执行,实际股东提出执行异议之诉可以获得法院的保护。那么,该规则能否扩张到股权代持情形?拭目以待。

  小股东的福音,最高法院"松绑"清算责任!

  新规则:如果公司财产、账册、文件灭失,导致无法清算的,股东并不当然对公司债务承担连带责任。对于未参与实际经营的小股东,无需对公司债务承担连带责任。

  解读:

  "公司法司法解释(二)"第18条第2款规定:"有限责任公司的股东、股份有限公司的董事和控股股东因怠于履行义务,导致公司主要财产、账册、重要文件等灭失,无法清算,债权人主张其对公司债务承担连带清偿责任的,人民法院应当依法予以支持。"

  因为对该条的理解还不够准确,导致在一些案件中不适当地扩大了股东的清算责任。此次刘贵祥副院长强调股东必须存在"怠于履行清算义务",且"与公司无法清算之间存在因果关系"。对于没有实际参与经营的小股东,不承担无法清算导致的连带责任。当然,"没有实际参与经营"是举证的难点。对于小股东而言,如果您实际不参与经营,则千万不要去担任公司名义上的管理职务,也不要领取工资,所谓"慕虚名而处实祸"。

  合同被判无效,法院应当直接判相互返还财产,而非不告不理!

  新规则:原告请求确认合同无效并要求被告返还原物或者赔偿损失,被告基于合同也有给付行为的,法院同样应向其释明,告知其可反诉或抗辩。即便被告未就合同无效的相应后果提出抗辩或者反诉,法院也可以依职权就相互返还事宜作出裁判。返还范围确实难以确定或者双方争议较大的,可告知另诉解决。

  解读:

  ●相互返还财产是合同无效的法定后果。但法院一直机械地理解"不告不理"原则,认为在被告不提反诉的情况下,法院不能判令原告向被告返还因合同取得的财产。但这是死循环,被告如果坚持合同有效,其不可能在本诉中提出反诉,否则等于承认合同无效。这就导致一种可怕的后果,比如房屋买卖合同被判无效,被告被判令返还房屋,但原告收取的购房款不必立即返还,被告只能另诉解决。这一方面给被告增加了诉累,另一方面由于两案存在时间差,有可能在被告取得后案的生效文书后,原告已无能力返还房款。因此,这条新规则是对法院一贯错误做法的拨乱反正。

  ●需要指出的是,相互返还的义务同时性将导致双方在履行顺序上出现困难,因为很难完全同步,而谁又都不想先履行。可以预计,此类案件非通过强制执行不能解决。但执行也会遇到问题,在原告无力返还购房款的情形下,法院是应当先将房屋过户回原告,然后拍卖偿还给被告?还是不必过户,直接拍卖?这些问题留待实践去解决。

  ●刘贵祥副院长虽然没有提到合同撤销情形。但由于合同撤销的法定后果与合同无效完全相同,因此,我认为合同被撤销的情形下,也应当判决相互返还,无需反诉或另诉。

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