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成功挑战仲裁裁决的门槛比较高

更新时间:2017-10-12 16:57:43   张振安 临时仲裁ADA 编辑:lianluobu  点击次数:310次

 选择仲裁而不是诉讼的一个关键原因是仲裁裁决的终局性。仲裁规则和协议通常规定裁决是终局的,对当事人具有约束力。但是,当仲裁所在地在英国和威尔士,《1996仲裁法》(AA1996)规定了三种途径,第67, 68条和第69条规定,在英国法院可对仲裁裁决提出质疑。其中两个(第67条和第68条)是强制性条款,不能由协议双方剔除。但是,判例法表明,在这些条款下取得成功的门槛很高,因为法院不会轻易介入仲裁。

途径一:第67-管辖权异议

根据第67条,当事人可以就仲裁庭的实体管辖权提起对仲裁裁决的质疑,或对根据事实所做出的裁决提出实体管辖权的质疑。实体管辖权的定义(在第82条中提到第30条)为:

·       是否有有效的仲裁协议

·        仲裁庭组成是否适当

·        提交给仲裁的争议事项是否和仲裁协议一致

  第67条只在仲裁裁决做出后生效。因此这只能被视为最后一招:双方应该在仲裁早些时候考虑使用其他选择,如第31条(在仲裁一开始就质疑仲裁庭的实体管辖权),第32条(初步管辖权的决定)或者第72条(没有参与仲裁但却有权参与的人)

  在Ruby Roz Agricol LLP v The Republicof Kazakhstan 案件中,原告要求商事法庭对于仲裁庭的管辖权做出裁决。原告根据UNCITRAL 规则提起仲裁,但是仲裁庭却裁决它本身并没有管辖权来审理这个实质争议,因为双方的投资合同中,并没有有效的仲裁协议。

  更重要的一点是,原告是一个来自哈萨克斯坦的有限合伙公司,其是否能够被认识是一个“外国投资者”(仲裁条款中毫无疑问写着‘如果外国投资者的利益受到了影响,这个外国投资者可以提出书面异议,让哈萨克斯坦法院来审理此争议’),还有由原告所做出的投资是否是一个“外国投资”。

  在听取了哈萨克斯坦法律关于合同解释原则的专家意见之后,Mr Justice Knowles决定还需要一份书面解释,并且在这个解释之下,双方之间并没有有效的仲裁协议。因此,法院得到了和仲裁庭一样的结论,但是部分的论证理由是不同的。

  这个案件表明,在需要考虑合适的外国法的情况下,法院很有可能会应用相关的外国法律原则,以得出严谨的结论,而且说服法院背离这些原则是困难的。

途径二:第68-严重的不正常行为

  第68条规定,仲裁程序的当事人可基于影响仲裁庭、程序或裁决的严重不正常行为来向法院提出对于仲裁裁决的质疑。第682)条规定了九种严重的不正常行为。申请人必须证明这个严重的不正常行为包含在这其中,并且这种不正常行为已经或将导致申请人严重不公正。如果申请成功,法院可将裁决全部或部分交由仲裁庭重新审理,将裁决全部或部分予以撤销,或宣布裁决对整体或部分无效。虽然第68条历来是挑战仲裁裁决的常用途径,但成功的第68条申请仍然罕见。

  一个近期的案例(Symbion Power LLC v Venco Imtiaz Construction Company也无法扭转这个趋势。Symbion有关一个失败的在第68d(宣称仲裁庭未能解决其提出的所有争议)下的上诉申请,这个申请人要求法院下达撤销或者变更仲裁裁决的命令。这个案子提出了一些特别的问题,有关仲裁的保密性以及仲裁员和他们的委任方之间的沟通交流。

保密性

  原告要求对于第68条的申请判决匿名化,以此来保护当事人的身份,但是被告却不这样认为。Mrs Justice Jefford认为,需要区别对待这个申请的审理和判决的公布:在民事诉讼规则下第62.10条,默认立场是第68条申请将会不公开审理,但是判决是另外一回事。

  在公布的判决中,包括和那些和仲裁有关的,强烈的公众利益必须和当事人的合法权益相平衡,使得仲裁程序和判决都要保密。法院因此需要权衡不同的因素并且考虑各方是否会因为判决被公开而遭受实际损害。

  这里,Jefford J 发现潜在的判决已经没有版权了,因此原告对于判决保密性的合法权益的要求是不现实的。她还驳回了原告关于其在判决没有匿名而公布时,可能遭受正面损害的意见。判决因此实名公布。

     Symbion案强调了,仲裁的保密性和如果在仲裁过程中对英国法院提出了申请因此争议是否会公布的可能性,这二者之间的权衡。有关政策的问题,法院会认可强烈的公众利益并公布这种类型的申请的判决,以此来确保仲裁的合适标准。

沟通交流

     Symbion判决另外一个有名的原因是因为法院考虑了由一方委任的仲裁员和委任方代理人(案中的律师)之间的单边沟通问题,这并没有在另外一方那里发生。Jefford J说,“…一旦仲裁庭委任完毕,一个仲裁员和委任他的那方当事人沟通却不预先通知其他仲裁庭的成员和其他当事人,这在我看来是完全不合适的。她指出,由一方委任的仲裁员不代表委任他的那方,相反他们代表个人仲裁员和仲裁庭,因而有义务公平公正地行事。任何这种沟通交流都会给人一种印象,就是认为仲裁员和委任他们的当事人之间有密切的关系,从而引起了对仲裁员可能不公平或公正行事的担忧。事实上,任何误差风险都取决于每个特定案件的具体事实,但应该明确的是,这种沟通交流应当回避。

路线三:第69法律问题的上诉

  对仲裁裁决提出质疑的最后途径是通过第69——上诉有关裁决的法律问题。与第67条和68条不同的是,双方可以自由选择剔除第69条(通常会这样做),要么是在仲裁协议中要么是采用的一套规则(如ICCLCIA)并明确剔除任何上诉的权利。此外,关于免除仲裁庭裁决理由的协议将被视为剔除法院根据第69条管辖的协议。

  假设第69条未被剔除,该条路线仍然开放,申请人必须获得其他上诉当事人的同意,或是法院的许可。当然,当事人最好是设法获得其他当事人的同意,只有在不可能获得其他当事人同意的时候再去向法院申请许可,因为如果所有当事人都同意的话,法院必须审理这个上诉的。

693)条表明,只有在以下条件都满足时法院才会给予上诉许可:

·        这个问题的决定会实质上影响一个或多个当事人的权力

·        这个问题是仲裁庭需要去做决定的一个问题

·        基于判决中事实的认定

o  仲裁庭的决定是明显错误的,或者

o   这个问题是有公众价值的而且仲裁庭的决定至少是会引起严重质疑的

·        这样一来,尽管当事人之间有通过仲裁解决问题的协议,这在所有情况下让法院来决定这个问题是公平合适的。

  在案例Enterprise Insurance Company Plc vU-Drive Solutions (Gibraltar) Limited中,当事人都同意援引第69条让法院来解决特定的问题,并且也是按期地向法庭申请。当然,Her Honour Judge Moulder发现即使双方同意援引第69条,这并不意味着法院不能去审查有关第69条的要求是否一开始就有,而且她还质疑到第69条允许当事人授予本不存在的管辖权。

  在这个案件中,很大程度上取决于仲裁庭的预审裁定是否是为了第68条和第69条而下的“裁决”,Moulder J认为,第69条的要求(还有第68条)是不满足的,因为问题中的预审裁定并不构成“裁决”,因为他们不包含任何仲裁问题的最终裁决。因此法院在第68条和第69条下是没有管辖权的。Moulder J还发现,关于第69条的应用,没有可以上诉的法律错误。

  该案向我们表明,即使当事人都同意援引第69条上诉,这也不会阻止法院考虑审理此申请的潜在管辖范围。因此,双方当事人不能再期望去通过同意第69条上诉来避开这些困难,也不能避免需要向法院申请许可。

 谨慎处理

  虽然《1996仲裁法》第676869条打开了潜在的上诉之门。法院仍然以公共政策为考量,不愿意干预仲裁裁决,而且法院还有有充分的理由:除非有司法公正的要求,不然仲裁裁决是“终局性的并且有约束力的”。

    正是因为这个原因,也是为了尊重双方对于争议解决方式的选择,质疑仲裁裁决的行为可能还会继续。

  

【英文原文】

Challengingarbitration awards success thresholds remain high

One key reason for choosing arbitration over litigation has always been theperceived finality of arbitral awards. Arbitration rules and agreementscommonly provide that awards will be final and binding on the parties. However,where the seat of the arbitration is within England and Wales, the ArbitrationAct 1996 (AA 1996) sets out three routes, found at sections 67, 68 and 69,under which an arbitral award can be challenged in the English courts. Two ofthese (section 67 and section 68) are mandatory provisions which cannot becontracted out of by the parties. Case law shows, however, that the thresholdfor succeeding under these sections is a high one, and that the courts will notlightly intervene in an arbitration. Recent decisions provide some interestinglessons.

Route one: section 67 - challenging jurisdiction

Under section 67, a party can challenge an arbitral award made by thetribunal on the subject of its own substantive jurisdiction, or an award madeon the merits of the claim on the basis that the tribunal did not havesubstantive jurisdiction. 'Substantive jurisdiction' is defined (in section 82referring to section 30) as:

·        'whether there is a valid arbitration agreement,

·        whether the tribunal is properly constituted, and

·        what matters have been submitted to arbitration in accordance with thearbitration agreement.'

Section 67 comes into operation only after an award has been made. Itshould therefore be viewed as something of a last resort: parties shouldconsider first using other options earlier in the arbitration such as section31 (challenging the tribunal's substantive jurisdiction at the outset of theproceedings), section 32 (determination of preliminary point of jurisdiction)or section 72 (rights of a person who is alleged to be a party but takes nopart in the proceedings).

In Ruby Roz Agricol LLP v The Republic of Kazakhstan [2017] EWHC439, the claimant sought a ruling from the Commercial Court on the jurisdictionof the tribunal in the underlying arbitration. The claimant had commencedarbitration under the UNCITRAL rules, but the tribunal had made an awardfinding that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the substantive disputebecause there was no valid arbitration agreement between the parties under therelevant investment contract.

Key points were whether the claimant, a limited liability partnershipincorporated under the laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan, could be considereda 'foreign investor' (the arbitration clause in question providing forarbitration 'if the interests of a foreign Investor are affected and there is awritten objection by such foreign investor to the dispute being heard inKazakhstani courts') and whether the investment made by the claimant was a'foreign investment'.

After hearing expert evidence on the question of principles of contractualinterpretation under Kazakh law, Mr Justice Knowles determined that a literalinterpretation was required and that, under such interpretation, there was novalid arbitration agreement between the parties. Accordingly, the court reachedthe same conclusion as the tribunal, albeit on partially different reasoning.

The case shows that, in situations where an applicable foreign law must beconsidered, the court is likely to apply the relevant foreign legal principlesstrictly in reaching its decision and it will be difficult to persuade it todepart from such principles.

Second route: section 68 - serious irregularity

Section 68 provides that a party to arbitral proceedings may apply to courtchallenging an arbitral award on the ground of serious irregularity affectingthe tribunal, proceedings or award. Section 68(2) sets out nine categories ofserious irregularity. The applicant must demonstrate a serious irregularity ofone or more of the types listed in section 68(2), and that the irregularity hasor will result in 'substantial injustice' to the applicant. If it successfullydoes so, the court may remit the award to the tribunal in whole or in part forreconsideration, set the award aside in whole or in part, or declare the awardto be of no effect in whole or in part. Although section 68 has historicallybeen a commonly deployed route to challenging an arbitration award, successfulsection 68 challenges remain rare.

The recent case of Symbion Power LLC v Venco Imtiaz Construction Company[2017] EWHC 348 (TCC) does nothing to reverse this trend.Symbionconcerned a failed application brought under section 68(d) (alleged failure bythe tribunal to deal with all the issues put to it) where the applicant soughtan order setting aside or varying the award. The case raises particular issuesof interest on the subjects of confidentiality in arbitration andcommunications between an arbitrator and their appointing party.

Confidentiality

The claimant argued for anonymisation of the section 68 applicationjudgment to protect the parties' identities, and the defendant argued against.Mrs Justice Jefford observed that a distinction is to be drawn between thehearing of such an application and the publication of the judgment: under CPRrule 62.10, the default position is that a section 68 application will be heardin private, but the judgment is another matter. The strong public interest inthe publication of judgments, including those relating to arbitrations, must bebalanced against the parties' legitimate expectation that arbitrationproceedings and awards will be confidential to the parties. The court thereforeneeded to weigh up the various factors and consider whether either party wouldsuffer real prejudice from the judgment being made public. Here, Jefford Jfound that the underlying award was already in the public domain and it wasunrealistic of the claimant to argue that it had a legitimate expectation ofconfidentiality in it. She also dismissed the claimant's submission that it wouldsuffer positive detriment if the judgment was published without anonymisation.The judgment was then published on an unanonymised basis.

The Symbion case highlights the tension that exists between theconfidential nature of arbitration, and the possibility of the dispute becomingpublic should an application be made to the English courts in the arbitrationproceedings. As a matter of policy, the courts will recognise the strong publicinterest in publishing judgments in these types of applications in order toensure appropriate standards in the conduct of arbitrations. If a party to suchan application wishes the resulting judgment to be anonymised so as to keep thedispute confidential, they will need to demonstrate that they will suffer realdetriment if the parties' details are made public.

Communications

The Symbion judgment is also of note because the court considered the issueof unilateral communications between a party-appointed arbitrator and thatparty's representative (counsel in this case) which were not copied to theother side. Jefford J stated that "...once the tribunal is appointed, itseems to me wholly inappropriate for one arbitrator to communicate with theparty that appointed him without notice to the other members of the tribunaland the other party”. She noted that party-appointed arbitrators do notrepresent the party that appointed them and they are under a duty, both asindividual arbitrators and as a tribunal, to act fairly and impartially. Anysuch communications give the impression of a close relationship between thearbitrator and their appointing party, and thereby give rise to concerns thatthat arbitrator may not be acting fairly or impartially. Whether there is infact any risk of bias will turn on the specific facts of each particular case,but what is clear is that such communications should be avoided.

Third route: section 69 - appeal on a point of law

The final route to challenging an arbitration award is under section 69 -appealing the award on a question of law arising out of it. Unlike section 67and section 68, parties are free to exclude section 69 (and often do), eitherin the arbitration agreement or by adopting a set of rules (eg ICC, LCIA) whichexplicitly exclude any right of appeal. Furthermore, an agreement to dispensewith reasons for the tribunal's award will be considered to be an agreement toexclude the court's jurisdiction under section 69.

Assuming that section 69 is not excluded and this route remains open, theapplicant must either obtain the agreement of the other parties to the appeal,or alternatively, the leave of the court. As a matter of course, parties wouldbe well advised to attempt to obtain the agreement of the other parties, andonly apply to the court for leave should agreement prove impossible, becausewhere the parties have all agreed, the court must hear the appeal.

Section 69(3) provides that leave to appeal will be given only if the courtis satisfied:

·        'that the determination of the question will substantially affect therights of one or more of the parties,

·        that the question is one which the tribunal was asked to determine,

·        that, on the basis of the findings of fact in the award

o    the decision of the tribunal on thequestion is obviously wrong, or

o    the question is one of generalpublic importance and the decision of the tribunal is at least open to seriousdoubt, and

·        that, despite the agreement of the parties to resolve the matter by arbitration,it is just and proper in all the circumstances for the court to determine thequestion.'

In the case of Enterprise Insurance Company Plc v U-Drive Solutions(Gibraltar)Limited [2016] EWHC 1301 (QB), the parties agreed to certainmatters being referred to the court under section 69 and the application dulycame before the court. However, Her Honour Judge Moulder found that the consentof the parties to a section 69 appeal did not mean that the court was precludedfrom examining whether the requirements of section 69 were established in thefirst place, and she doubted that section 69 allows parties to conferjurisdiction where none would otherwise exist.

In this case, which largely turned on whether procedural orders of thetribunal were 'awards' for the purposes of section 68 and section 69, Moulder Jconcluded that the requirements of section 69 (and indeed section 68) were notsatisfied because the procedural orders in question did not constitute'awards', as they did not involve the final determination of any issue or claimin the arbitration. The court therefore had no jurisdiction under section 68 ors 69. Moulder J also found that in relation to the section 69 application,there was no error of law that could be appealed.

The case shows us that even where the parties have all agreed to a section69 appeal, that will not prevent the court from considering the underlyingscope of its jurisdiction to hear the application in the first place. Partiestherefore cannot expect to 'get round' such difficulties by agreeing to theappeal and thereby avoiding the need to apply for leave of the court.

Approach with caution

Although sections 67, 68 and 69 of AA 1996 provide potential gateways tochallenging an award, they remain tricky to navigate and should be approachedwith caution. Successful applications are the exception rather than the rule.The courts remain, as a matter of public policy, reluctant to interfere witharbitral awards, and with good reason: awards that are 'final and binding'should indeed be final and binding unless justice requires otherwise.

It is for that reason, and to respect the parties' choice of disputeresolution, that challenging arbitral awards is likely to continue to prove…challenging.

This article was published in New Law Journal in September 2017.