China: 《破产法司法解释(三)》之下国际商事仲裁与破产法的协调

Last Updated: 24 September 2019
Article by An Yi
Most Read Contributor in China, September 2019

随着全球经济一体化的日渐深入,各国之间在经贸方面的合作与交流及跨国投融资交易也渐趋常态化。我国企业在"走出去"的过程中,一方面获得了更广阔的发展空间和市场,另一方面也经历着日趋频繁的贸易摩擦和争端。在全球化经济交往中,仲裁作为一种国际通行的争端解决机制,在协调跨国经贸分歧中具有重要地位。

2013年的"一带一路"倡议,对我国仲裁制度产生了深刻影响。2015年6月16日,最高人民法院发布《关于人民法院为"一带一路"建设提供司法服务和保障的若干意见》第8条,提出"依法加强涉沿线国家当事人的仲裁裁决司法审查工作,促进国际商事海事仲裁在'一带一路'建设中发挥重要作用。" 最高人民法院一直对国际仲裁采取支持和包容的司法态度,经过近年来对我国仲裁制度的立法和改革,已逐步确立仲裁友好型的司法氛围。

为进一步改善营商环境和完善破产审理制度,建立更好的市场主体协助和退出机制,最高人民法院于2019年3月28日通过并开始实施《最高人民法院关于适用〈中华人民共和国企业破产法〉若干问题的规定(三)》(以下简称《破产法司法解释(三)》)。在此解释发布以前,并没有明确的法律规定对仲裁与破产程序二者的衔接问题、仲裁与破产制度的关系以及破产受理前已签订但尚未开始的仲裁协议的效力等实务中常遇到的问题作出规定或解释。而《破产法司法解释(三)》的发布,为进一步规范和释明破产案件的审理机制提供了重要指引。尤其是在第7条、第8条中首次明确允许管理人直接向破产受理法院申请不予执行仲裁裁决,并认可了对破产法上的债权债务确认关系纠纷依照破产受理前的仲裁协议进行仲裁的主流实务做法。

但《破产法司法解释(三)》第8条对破产前仲裁协议效力的认可并不意味着其效力范围不受约束,仍应对此进行合理阐释并明确适用范围。就破产程序中仲裁协议效力这一问题,不能一概而论,而是应该根据仲裁协议涉及事项的具体性质来判断,考量因素包括债务人是否具有处分权、是否适用破产法的特别规定、待履行合同的处理规则等,从而更好地协调破产法的立法目的与国际商事仲裁机制,从而为我国在"一带一路"建设大背景下更好地处理国际商事纠纷、营造稳定、公平、透明的法治化营商环境提供思路。

一、仲裁程序与破产程序的冲突与协调

《中华人民共和国企业破产法》(以下简称《企业破产法》)第20条规定:"人民法院受理破产申请后,已经开始而尚未终结的有关债务人的民事诉讼或者仲裁应当中止; 在管理人接管债务人的财产后,该诉讼或者仲裁继续进行。" 这一条款首次关注并提出仲裁程序与破产程序的协调方式,即法院受理破产申请时,应当"中止"尚在进行中的仲裁程序,待破产管理人接管债务人财产后再继续原有程序。这反映出我国破产制度并不完全排斥仲裁,可以将部分破产事项交由仲裁解决。但是,在《破产法司法解释(三)》出台之前,法律或司法解释对于已经成立的仲裁协议的效力这个关键问题并未作明文规定。

成立在先的仲裁协议是指债务人在破产前签订的、债务人作为商业主体在对外订立的合同中或发生争议后达成书面的仲裁协议,是当事人之间化解纠纷的一种程序。在实践中,破产程序是否会排除适用成立在先的仲裁协议并无统一定论,通常有四种处理方式:第一种方式下,在破产程序中可以直接适用仲裁程序。破产法院对破产案件的集中管辖并不排斥仲裁协议或仲裁条款的效力,可以视为普通的民事诉讼,当事人可按照仲裁的方式解决纠纷;第二种方式下,在破产程序中需要破产管理人允许方能适用仲裁程序,即管理人选择说。这种理解是基于仲裁协议独立性和破产管理人对未履行合同的选择理论,将成立在先的仲裁协议的适用权赋予了破产管理人,管理人可以根据债务人的实际情况,判断仲裁程序是否有利于公共利益的实现,最后决定仲裁程序的启用与否;第三种方式下,在破产程序中需要破产法院批准方能适用仲裁程序。破产法院面对仲裁申请时需要衡量申请人的合法利益和其他债权人之间的平衡,对比拒绝适用与准许适用之间利弊和收益,最终破产法院作出是否启动仲裁程序的判断;第四种方式下,管理人应当承继债务人在破产受理前签订的仲裁协议,即管理人继承说。纵观域外判例和学说,管理人承继说得到了较为广泛的支持,这一理论原则上肯定了仲裁协议对管理人拘束效力。然而,破产程序作为解决企业破产的专门的法定执行程序,从法院受理破产申请之日开始,只能由专门的破产管理人行使相关财产的管理和处分权能,债务人本人无权处分。破产管理人在全面接管破产企业的过程中,应按法律要求对破产财产予以妥善保护和管理,选择最有利于债权人利益的争议解决方案。

二、《破产法司法解释(三)》对仲裁协议效力的影响

《破产法司法解释(三)》第8条规定:"债务人、债权人对债权表记载的债权有异议的,应当说明理由和法律依据。经管理人解释或调整后,异议人仍然不服的,或者管理人不予解释或调整的,异议人应当在债权人会议核查结束后十五日内向人民法院提起债权确认的诉讼。当事人之间在破产申请受理前订立有仲裁条款或仲裁协议的,应当向选定的仲裁机构申请确认债权债务关系。"这一条文明确了仲裁作为解决破产衍生纠纷的优先手段,一定程度上弥补了法律对于成立在先但尚未开始的仲裁协议效力这一关键问题的规定。

应当注意的是,这一条文的范围应当予以适当的界定和限缩,不能任意作以扩大化。首先,就破产法上的固有事项,包括破产法中的禁止抵消、撤销权的行使等,应认定仲裁协议无效。另外,对于涉及债权在破产程序中的优先顺序而引发的破产权确权纠纷,应认为不属于第8条可适用的范围,因为此时对担保权数额的争议实质上是对评估结论异议的程序性事项。第二,破产法上非专属于全体债权人的固有权利,包括破产债权确认、担保权、合同效力问题、取回权等,原则上债务人在破产程序启动前享有相应的处分权。管理人作为债务人财产的接管人,应从实现债权人利益最大化和破产财产价值最大化的角度出发,综合考虑各方案的操作难度、时间成本等因素。第三,根据《破产法司法解释(三)》第9条,若债权人对债权表登记的其他债权人的权利存在异议,应提起债权确认之诉,将被异议人列为被告。非经异议债权人同意,债务人与被异议债权人在破产申请受理前所订立的仲裁协议的范围不能及于作为第三人的异议债权人。

总体而言,应依据仲裁事项的具体类别和性质判断仲裁协议的效力,并在特定情况下采取管理人继承说的观点,由管理人选择履行仲裁协议或排除其适用。

三、《破产法司法解释(三)》之下成立在先的仲裁协议的效力

破产法关乎全体债权人的利益。为最大程度实现仲裁程序与破产程序的功能融合,在市场运行中两者的协调规则需要进一步完善,使之更为明晰化和具体化。下文将针对《破产法司法解释(三)》第8条的具体适用范围提出具体建议。

1.破产法的固有事项及其可仲裁性

当破产程序中所涉及的事项为破产法的固有事项时,应由破产管理人全权负责,此种法律设置的出发点在于维护法律给予全体债权人的固有权益。《企业破产法》在第31条至第34条中,对欺诈性和不合理的个别清偿等破产行为,包括不合理的低价转让、偏颇性个别清偿等行为的要件和效果进行了较为详细的规定。对于不得以破产受理之后取得的债权进行抵销等破产法中禁止的抵销行为,破产法第40条也同样作出了规定。由此,债务人对于这些事项,无权在破产程序启动前对其并不具备处分权的事项签订仲裁协议。即使在撤销权或抵销权的基础合同或者同一权利义务关系中有相应的仲裁条款或协议,在此等事项上仲裁协议也无法对债务人和管理人产生拘束效力。若管理人在债权确权纠纷中提出撤销权之诉,为了避免仲裁程序和破产程序并行的情况发生,可以在此种情况下排除仲裁协议的适用,将纠纷在诉讼程序中统一解决。此外,仅就破产程序中债权的优先顺序,包括优先还是劣后于破产债权、共益债权的确认纠纷等,其本质上是对于担保债权数额的争议,应归为程序性事项,不应包含在第8条的适用范畴之内。

对于破产法之下固有事项是否应该适用仲裁的判断,实际上是对相关争议事项可仲裁性的考量。所谓可仲裁性,是指协议双方在仲裁协议中所作的约定应当是国家法律规定中允许以仲裁方式解决的事项。一国的司法政策在可仲裁性的判定中起决定作用,因为这关系到一国对其审判权排他性管辖范围的界定。可仲裁性作为仲裁协议成立并有效的重要条件之一,也是《纽约公约》第5条第2款中规定的拒绝承认和执行仲裁裁决的事由。国际商事仲裁中,在纠纷的不同阶段,可仲裁事项所应适用的准据法的判断标准也并不相同,但通常情况下适用仲裁地所在国的法律。因此,若就有关破产法固有事项可仲裁性的争议的破产程序由中国法院启动,也应相应适用中国法律进行判断。

2.非破产法之固有事项的其他事项

不同于破产法之中的固有事项,有关合同效力、破产权债权的确认、担保权和取回权等事项,不属于破产法之下专属于全体债权人的固有权利。对于此类权利,原则上破产债务人在破产程序启动之前享有法律赋予的处分权,但这并不等同于债务人先前已经订立的仲裁协议对破产管理人产生同样的拘束效力。一般而言,一方当事人破产并不必然导致商事合同的终止。但根据《企业破产法》第18条的规定,"人民法院受理破产申请后,管理人对破产申请受理前成立而债务人和对方当事人均未履行完毕的合同有权决定解除或者继续履行,并通知对方当事人。"在管理人继承说之下,合同中所约定的仲裁条款或单独的仲裁协议并不等同于实体法上的商事合同,而应认定为当事人之间在程序法上就解决纠纷的途径达成的一种诉讼契约,因此不能适用于待履行合同的有关规则。仲裁协议不可否认地属于待履行合同的一种,不论将其性质认定为商事合同还是诉讼契约。且上述第18条的规定不应局限于文字层面的商事合同,而应进一步挖掘其内在目的,赋予破产管理人对尚未履行完毕义务的决定权和控制权,以保障破产财产价值最大化和债权人的利益最大化。

3.债权人对债权表记载的他人债权的异议

《破产法司法解释(三)》第9条规定:"第债务人对债权表记载的债权有异议向人民法院提起诉讼的,应将被异议债权人列为被告。债权人对债权表记载的他人债权有异议的,应将被异议债权人列为被告;债权人对债权表记载的本人债权有异议的,应将债务人列为被告。"这一条款与第8条的规定是对《企业破产法》第58条规定的进一步明确与细化,目的在于保护真正债权人的利益。若被异议债权人和债务人在破产受理前就已经订立了仲裁协议,未经异议债权人同意,相对人之间的合意不能约束异议债权人这一第三人。若一方当事人的破产发生在仲裁机构已经作出仲裁裁决之后,由于仲裁裁决已经发生法律效力,其将作为执行名义债权约束所有债权人。因此,针对依据仲裁裁决申报的债权,管理人应当确认;管理人审查不予以确认的,应当由管理人承担提起向相关管辖法院或受理破产申请的法院申请撤销或者不予执行仲裁裁决等的责任(《破产法司法解释(三)》第7条)。但从这些不能推导出作为协议性质的仲裁协议的主观范围及于所有债权人,从而约束其他异议债权人。

本文从破产法与仲裁法冲突和协调出发,就合理界定《破产法司法解释(三)》)第8条之下适用仲裁的范畴、更好地协调国际商事仲裁与破产法的立法目的提出思路。在破产程序中的仲裁协议的协调上,并非全有全无的适用方式,而是应根据仲裁协议的事项是否属于债务人可处分事项、是否适用破产法的特别规定等要素进行类别型考察。当前,我国经济处于转型升级的关键时点,经济增速已经由过去的中高速增长转向高质量增长。2018年年初,中央全面深化改革领导小组会议审议通过了《关于建立"一带一路"争端解决机制和机构的意见》。同年6月,最高人民法院在深圳设立"第一国际商事法庭",并将继续与联合国贸法会和国内国际各知名仲裁机构在国际商事纠纷解决方面进行协同创新,建立诉讼、调解、仲裁有效衔接的多元化纠纷解决机制,依法妥善化解"一带一路"商贸和投资争端,平等保护中外当事人的合法权益,营造稳定、公平、透明的法治化营商环境。对《破产法司法解释(三)》)第8条之下适用仲裁的范畴进行正确解释和合理界定,必将在"一带一路"和粤港澳大湾区建设的背景下,进一步提升中国营商环境的国际化法治化水平。

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however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

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