China: 涉外仲裁中仲裁协议有效性审核的法律适用

Last Updated: 12 June 2019
Article by Junqi Wang and Yucheng Hu
Most Read Contributor in China, July 2019

仲裁协议是双方当事人据以将他们之间即将发生或业已发生的关于某一确定法律关系的契约性或非契约性争议交付仲裁,并由常设仲裁机构或特设仲裁庭就争议作出裁决的意思表示的一致。从效力角度来看,仲裁协议是仲裁的基础,也是仲裁庭行使管辖权的依据,同时又直接关乎仲裁裁决的执行力。

在涉外仲裁中,当事人如对仲裁协议效力产生争议,裁判机关适用法律的不同,对于仲裁协议的效力的认定就可能不同。因此仲裁协议准据法的确定,对仲裁协议的有效性审核至关重要。围绕涉外仲裁中仲裁协议有效性审核究竟应如何确定适用法律,本文将根据我国法律及境外仲裁实践展开分析。

一、主合同的准据法不等于仲裁协议的准据法

就仲裁协议有效性的审核,一种常见的误区是认为可适用主合同的准据法。即如当事人约定主合同的争议应适用某国法律,则仲裁协议的有效性也应适用该国法律。但是,此种观点在我国并没有法律依据,而在实践中亦不为我国法院所认可。

2005年最高人民法院关于印发《第二次全国涉外商事海事审判工作会议纪要》的通知(以下简称"会议纪要")第58条明确:"当事人在合同中约定的适用于解决合同争议的准据法,不能用来确定涉外仲裁条款的效力。"这是我国最高裁判机关明确其就该问题的态度的一次较早记录。

虽然上述纪要印发时,《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》(以下简称"仲裁法解释",2006年09月08日生效)、《中华人民共和国涉外民事关系法律适用法》(以下简称"适用法",2011年4月1日生效)及最高人民法院关于适用《中华人民共和国涉外民事关系法律适用法》若干问题的解释(一)(以下简称"适用法解释",2013年1月7日生效)均未颁布及生效,但并不妨碍该通知在实践中的效力。

在最高院人民法院发布的《人民法院为"一带一路"建设提供司法服务和保障的八个典型案例》中,2014年作出裁定的《浙江逸盛石化有限公司与卢森堡英威达技术有限公司申请确认仲裁条款效力案》正是对于会议纪要观点的再次明确。该案中,主合同明确约定"本协议适用中国香港法律,仲裁语言为英文。"宁波市中级人民法院在请示最高人民法院后(参《最高人民法院关于浙江逸盛石化有限公司申请确认仲裁条款效力一案请示的复函》),认定"当事人在技术许可协议中没有明确约定该仲裁条款效力的准据法。"

由此可见,即便自2005年以来有多部相关法律及司法解释被颁布,我国司法机关观点依旧是非常明确的,即当事人在合同中约定的适用于解决主合同争议的准据法,不能当然用来确定涉外仲裁协议的效力。

二、涉外仲裁中确认仲裁协议有效性的法律适用原则和实践解读

除会议纪要外,我国涉及仲裁协议有效性审核法律适用的法律及司法解释如下:

1)《仲裁法解释》第16条规定,"对涉外仲裁协议的效力审查,适用当事人约定的法律;当事人没有约定适用的法律但约定了仲裁地的,适用仲裁地法律;没有约定适用的法律也没有约定仲裁地或者仲裁地约定不明的,适用法院地法律。"

2)《适用法》第18条规定:"当事人可以协议选择仲裁协议适用的法律。当事人没有选择的,适用仲裁机构所在地法律或者仲裁地法律。"

3)《适用法解释》第14条规定:"当事人没有选择涉外仲裁协议适用的法律,也没有约定仲裁机构或仲裁地,或约定不明的,人民法院可以适用中华人民共和国法律认定该仲裁协议的效力。"

上述规则对仲裁协议效力的审核提供了明确的依据,对于仲裁案件审理的指引无疑具有积极意义。据此,就涉外仲裁协议的适用法律的确定,我国裁判机关主要依据如下规则:

(1)当事人约定了仲裁协议准据法,适用当事人约定的法律。

这体现了当事人意思自治原则,应当得到尊重,几乎所有国家的仲裁立法都准许双方当事人合意选择国际性仲裁协议的准据法,亦即以当事人意思自治原则为确定国际性仲裁协议准据法的首要原则,上述若干条法律的规定都首先明确了这一点。

(2)当事人为约定仲裁协议准据法,适用仲裁机构所在地法律或者仲裁地法律

依照我国法律,在当事人未约定仲裁协议准据法的情况,可适用仲裁机构所在地法律,如仲裁机构选择不明的情况下,则可适用仲裁地法律。

在2016年发布的《最高人民法院关于对江苏省高级人民法院就香港柏藤贸易有限公司诉云南惠嘉进出口贸易有限公司买卖合同纠纷一案仲裁条款效力问题的请示的复函》中,最高院认为,"本案当事人签订的仲裁协议未约定明确的仲裁机构,仅约定仲裁地点为北京(Any dispute arising out of or in connection with this contract,including any question regarding its existence,validity or termination,shall be referred to and finally resolved by arbitration in BEIJING,CHINA.),且当事人未选择仲裁协议效力适用的法律,故依据《中华人民共和国涉外民事关系法律适用法》第十八条的规定,本案应当适用当事人约定的仲裁地即我国内地的法律确认仲裁协议的效力。"也即是说,实践中如根据当事人间的仲裁协议无法确定仲裁机构,则我国法院的倾向性意见为,在仲裁地可确认的情况下,依旧可以根据仲裁地确立适用法律。

但是,需要注意的是,我国法律对于当事人未约定仲裁协议适用法律情形,采用的措辞为"适用仲裁机构所在地法律或者仲裁地法律"。从文意解释上来看,"或"有并列之意。故理论上可能会产生一种疑问,如仲裁机构所在地的法律与适用仲裁地的法律将对仲裁协议的效力有不同的认定,那么应该以何为准?

对此,2017年《最高人民法院关于审理仲裁司法审查案件若干问题的规定》第十四条规定:"人民法院根据《中华人民共和国涉外民事关系法律适用法》第十八条的规定,确定确认涉外仲裁协议效力适用的法律时,当事人没有选择适用的法律,适用仲裁机构所在地的法律与适用仲裁地的法律将对仲裁协议的效力作出不同认定的,人民法院应当适用确认仲裁协议有效的法律。"此种规定,体现了尽量赋予当事人间仲裁协议效力的国际趋势。

(3)当事人没有选择涉外仲裁协议适用的法律,也没有约定仲裁机构或仲裁地,或约定不明的,人民法院可以适用中华人民共和国法律认定该仲裁协议的效力

值得注意的是,在《仲裁法解释》第16条中,此种情形应适用法院地法律;而根据《适用法解释》第14条,此种情形应直接适用中华人民共和国法律;法律规定并不完全相同。但是,考虑到实践中,中华人民共和国以外的法院适用该规则认定仲裁协议的准据法的情形非常罕见,故此处法院地法从实践角度看可等同于中华人民共和国法律。且考虑《适用法解释》颁布在后,本着新法优于旧法的原则,也应认为此种情形应直接适用中华人民共和国法律。

三、境外裁判机关相关实践初探

在确定仲裁协议适用法的问题上,不同国家的裁判机关有着迥异的实践,其主要分野在于如何界定仲裁协议的独立原则(principle of separability)。在一些国家的裁判机关而言,通过仲裁协议的独立性可当然推定仲裁协议不应受主合同适用法的约束;而对于另一些裁判机关则认为,仲裁协议的独立原则不代表需排斥主合同的适用法律,当事人如未约定明确的仲裁协议适用法律,则主合同的适用法可用以决定仲裁协议的效力。

在这一问题上,已知判例显示比利时与瑞典与中国采取的立场相近。在比利时的"Matermaco v. PPM Granes"案中,当地法院未适用主合同约定的适用法来确定仲裁协议的效力,而是直接适用了仲裁地点的法律。同样的,瑞典法院在"Bulgarian Foreign Trade Bank Ltd. v. Al Trade 中也秉持了相同的立场。

而与中国立场较为不同的国家亦存在,以英国为例,Markin教授在《Commercial Arbitration》一书7.12章节中认为"除非仲裁协议本身有强力的另行约定,为主合同所订立的适用法可能用于仲裁协议。"(A choice of law clause for the entire agreement is likely to be constructed as equally applicable to the arbitration clause unless there is a strong contrary indication in the arbitration itself).而实践中,英国法院在"Peterson Farms Inc. v. C & M Farming Ltd."案中的判法也确认了此种观点为英国司法实践所采纳。当然,如当事人在主合同适用法外另行约定了仲裁协议的适用法律,英国法院依然会认可该额外约定的效力(参"ABB v. Keppel"案)。

四、结论与建议

仲裁协议有效性审核的法律适用一直是实务中常见问题,涉外仲裁中仲裁协议的有效性审核和仲裁协议的准据法确定息息相关。最近几十年来,在国际性仲裁协议准据法的确定问题上出现了一个尽可能尊重当事人约定并使仲裁协议有效的发展趋势。而我国法律对于相关问题的规定,亦体现了此种法律精神。

对于当事人来说,需要明确的是,我国法律并不认可主合同的准据法当然适用于仲裁协议的效力认定。因此,如当事人间未就仲裁协议的效力约定明确的法律适用,而对于仲裁机构所在地或仲裁地的有关规定又不了解的话,则当事人有必要考虑对于仲裁协议本身约定适用法律,以消除此种不确定性。尤其在涉外仲裁中,由于不同法院的裁判机构判决的思路俱会有所不同,当事人在订立合同时的清晰约定,就显得尤为重要。

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