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仲裁庭就预付费用的偿付作出单独裁决(芬兰)

更新时间:2018-01-29 11:12:31  张振安 临时仲裁ADA 编辑:lianluobu  点击次数:470次

1. 引言

芬兰仲裁机构(FAI)规则第48.1条规定了,对于任何国际仲裁,FAI都应确定预付费用,各方当事人必须在案卷材料被移交到仲裁庭之前全额支付该费用。如同许多其他机构的仲裁规则,FAI费用制度的出发点是FAI将确定“普遍性”的由各方当事人平等分担的预付费用。因此,被申请人通常被要求与申请人承担等额的费用,而不论其是否对申请人提出了任何仲裁请求。但是,这一主要规则在被申请人提起反请求或抵销请求的情况下存在限制性的例外情况。在这种情况下,FAI规则允许为本请求、反请求、抵销请求分别独立确定预付费用,并指令各方当事人根据其请求支付对应的预付费用。

如一方未能支付其应承担的普遍性预付费用的份额,FAI将向另一方要求在一定期限内代表未付一方支付该款项的机会。如另一方支付了该笔费用,经该方请求,仲裁庭可根据FAI规则第43(a) 条及其附录II2.6 条规定单独作出一份偿付该款项的裁决书。如该预付费用未被全额付清,FAI委员会有权终止仲裁程序。

FAI管辖权有异议或出于其他原因不愿参与仲裁程序的被申请人拒绝按照FAI的要求支付预付费用这样的实际问题,也时常存在。即便被申请人有意在仲裁中提起自己的反请求并愿意为其自己的请求支付必要的申请费,其有时也可能会选择这样做,即不支付对方的预付费用。在所有这些情况下,除非FAI已分别确定了各独立的预付费用,申请人别无选择,只能代表未付的被申请人付款,以避免仲裁无法正常进行,并由仲裁庭就其请求作出裁决。

若申请人因被申请人未支付其费用而承担了全部普遍性预付费用,申请人可根据上述FAI规则第43(a) 条及其附录II2.6 条规定请求仲裁庭作出一份偿付该款项的单独裁决书行使救济权。这些规定来源于SCC规则(2010),并于2013年被引入FAI规则(SCC规则[2017]第515)条规定了基本类似的规则)。适用该救济的主要理由是仲裁界普遍认为,在被申请人拒绝支付其预付费用而违反了合同规定的情况下,申请人应获得某种形式的救济。虽然很少有仲裁规则明确承认起到这种效果的独立裁决,但实际上已经有机构作出了该等裁决,例如,根据ICC规则,即使仲裁规则没有明文规定或具体规定的情况下,也可作出这样的裁决。

依据斯特哥尔摩仲裁员(SCC)仲裁规则就预付费用的偿付作出独立裁决已有很多案例。然而,在FAI仲裁中,规范仲裁预付费用独立裁决的规定却被很少引用。迄今为止,只有两起申请人因被申请人未支付其应付的普遍性预付费用而请求作出该等裁决的案例。两个案件的仲裁庭均准予了申请人的请求。以下是对最近的一个案例的评论。

2. 案件事实情况

一家芬兰公司(“申请人”)与两个东欧的当事方(“被申请人”)签订了合同。该合同受芬兰实体法管辖,并且仲裁条款规定了有关合同的任何争议应提交FAI仲裁解决,仲裁地为Helsinki。一旦签署方和申请人之间发生争议,就启动FAI仲裁程序,并且各方都明确表示同意该案件应提交独任仲裁庭解决。FAI委员会随后在该案中任命了一名丹麦籍的独任仲裁员,并确定了将由申请人一方及两被申请人作为另一方等额支付的普遍性预付费用。

申请人支付了其份额,但被申请人却未付款。在FAI秘书处的要求下,申请人也支付了被申请人的份额,案件材料随后转交给了独任仲裁员。被申请人在他们的答辩意见中提出了反请求,并支付了3000欧元的必付反请求申请费。然而,他们仍拒绝支付应由他们承担的那部分普遍性预付费用。

同时,申请人提交了一份单独裁决请求,要求独任仲裁员(a)裁定两被申请人在“在仲裁员确定的日期前尽快”共同连带向申请人支付已由申请人代其支付的FAI预付费用11000欧元,以及自[日期]起以《芬兰利息法(633/1982)》第4.1条规定的利率计算的利息;及(b)作为最终裁决的一部分,裁定被申请人承担单独裁决的费用,包括独任仲裁员的费用和申请人付出的一切费用。

被申请人对申请人的独立裁决请求提出了异议,并指出预付费用问题应仅在最终裁决中被裁决,而关于被申请人应付的任何预付费用利息的请求因违反了FAI规则附录II2.11条规定应被驳回。根据该条款,作为预付费用的款项不会为当事人或仲裁员带来利息

之后,独任仲裁员作出了签发独立裁决书的决定,并准予了申请人就偿付预付费用及利息的请求。以下是独任仲裁员作出独立裁决书之理由的摘录。

3. 作出独立裁决书的理由

各方当事人在仲裁条款中约定任何争议都应按照FAI规则提交仲裁解决。根据FAI规则第3.2条规定,本规则包括的附录I至附录III均构成规则的组成部分。附录II2.2条规定各方都有义务支付机构确定的一半预付费用。附录II2.6条规定,仲裁庭可应经一方当事人的请求,签发偿还该方为另一方当事人付款的独立裁决书。

由于当事人已在仲裁条款中引入了FAI规则,他们便已承诺了履行支付一半预付费用的义务。主流学说肯定了这种规定的合同性质。因此,本争议中的问题实质上是关于仲裁庭可通过一份独立的裁决书对为另一方已付预付费用的偿还事宜作出裁决的问题。

被申请人并未按机构确定的预付费用支付其应承担的份额。相反,申请人却为被申请人支付了11000欧元。被申请人的不付款行为已违反了合同性条款。因此,应由被申请人证明对该费用的偿付应适用例外情况。

被申请人本身并未反对支付一半预付费用(即本金11000欧元)的义务。然而,被申请人主张,预付费用只应在决定申请人实体问题的最终裁决书中裁决。

独任仲裁员认为,申请人已付预付费用的偿付与独任仲裁员在关于费用分配的最终裁决中作出的最终决定是两回事。FAI规则为独任仲裁员通过独立的裁决书就申请人预付费用的偿还请求作出裁决提供了一个明确的法律依据。独任仲裁员还认为,鉴于被申请人于[日期]已告知本机构无法支付其应付的预付费用,申请人有权主张被申请人偿还其合法利息。

被申请人未在其关于申请人独立裁决请求的意见中重述需减免其支付一半预付费用义务的理由是其没有支付能力。此外,被申请人继续参与了仲裁并提起了反请求或抵销请求,然而却未遵守应支付本机构确定的一半预付费用的义务。独任仲裁员认为,被申请人并未提出任何其未能付款的合理理由。因此,申请人关于11000欧元本金范围内的单独裁决请求应获得准予。

申请人还主张了自其实际为被申请人代付费用之日[日期]起算的被申请人应付款项之利息。被申请人对该请求的利息提出了异议,其认为FAI规则附录II2.11条并未包括预付费用的利息。就申请人而言,其反驳了被申请人对该条款的解释。申请人主张本条规范的是支付给该机构的任何款项的利息,但并不妨碍裁令被申请人支付应向申请人支付的任何款项的利息。

独任仲裁员认为, FAI规则附录II2.11条仅规定了一方当事人已实际向机构支付了其应付的预付费用的情况,在这种情况下,已付的款项并不会为当事人产生利息。因此,独任仲裁员同意了申请人的意见,即附录II2.11条并不禁止裁令被申请人向申请人偿还其应付的预付费用之利息。

此外,独任仲裁员认为,利息问题受芬兰法律管辖。根据芬兰法律,仲裁当事人一般有权获得拖欠款项的利息。

在收到仲裁机构[日期]的函后,申请人支付了被申请人应付的预付费用。在申请人为被申请人付款时,被申请人是知悉其付款义务的,但却表示其无法支付,并最终选择不偿还申请人。为了确保仲裁程序能够继续进行,申请人不得不支付应由被申请人承担的预付费用。

独任仲裁员认为,申请人对争议金额利息的主张构成了一项因被申请人违反FAI规则附录II2.11条规定的合同性义务而产生的实际损害。在此基础上,申请人的利息请求是合理的,利息应被裁决自申请人为被申请人代付费用之日起算,并以《芬兰利息法》第4.1条规定的利率计算。

【英文原文】

FAI ArbitralTribunal’s Separate Award 

on the Reimbursement of Advance on Costs

 

Introduction

Article 48.1 FAI Rules provides that, in any international arbitration, FAI shall fix an advance on costs which the parties must pay in full before the case file is transmitted to the arbitral tribunal. Like under many other institutional arbitration rules,the starting point under the FAI cost regime is that FAI will fix one “global” advance on costs to be paid by the parties in equal shares. Accordingly, the respondent is normally required to contribute to the advance on costs to the same extent as the claimant irrespective of whether it has brought any claims of its own against the claimant. There is, however, a limited exception to this main rule that may apply where the respondent has raised a counterclaim or set-off claim. In such instances, FAI Rules permit FAI to fix separate advances on costs for the claims, counterclaims and set-off claims and order each of the parties to pay the advance on costs corresponding to its claims.

If a party fails to pay its share of the global advance on costs, FAI will give the other party an opportunity to pay the unpaid share on behalf of the defaulting party within a set time limit. If the other party makes such payment, the arbitral tribunal may, at the request of that party, issue a separate award for reimbursement of the payment in accordance with Article 43(a) FAI Rules and Article 2.6 of Appendix II thereof. In the event that any part of the advance on costs remainsunpaid, FAI Board is vested with the power to terminate the proceedings.

As a practical matter, it is not unheard of that a respondent who objects to FAI’s jurisdiction, or for some other reason does not want to participate in the arbitral proceedings, refuses to pay its part of the advance on costs as requested by FAI. Occasionally a respondent may choose to do so even though it wishes to bring its own counterclaim in the arbitration and is willing to pay the requisite filing fee for its own claims. In all of these situations, unless FAI has fixed separate advances costs, the claimant has no other alternative but to make the payment on behalf of the defaulting respondent in order to avoid the arbitration being frustrated and to have its claims adjudicated by the arbitral tribunal.

Where the claimant has discharged the full global advance on costs due to the respondent’s failure to pay its part, the claimant may wish to exercise its right of redress through a separate award for reimbursement of the payment in accordance with the above-mentioned Article 43(a) FAI Rules and Article 2.6 of Appendix II. These provisions,which were introduced to the FAI Rules in 2013, are inspired by Article 45(4) of the 2010 SCC Rules (an essentially similar provision is set forth in Article51(5) of the 2017 SCC Rules). The principal justification for such a remedy is the widespread sentiment within the arbitration community that some form of redress should be available to the claimant in the event that the respondent breaches its contractual commitment by refusing to discharge its share of the advance on costs. While few arbitration rules expressly recognize separate awards to this effect, in practice such awards have been issued, e.g., under the ICC Rules, even in the absence of clear statutory support or any specific provisions in the applicable arbitration rules.

There are many cases concerning the rendering of separate awards for reimbursement of paymentof advances on costs under the SCC Rules. In FAI arbitrations, however, the provisions governing separate awards on advances on costs have been invoked rather infrequently. To date, there are only two cases where the claimant requested such an award due to the respondent’s failure to pay its share of the global advance on costs. In both instances, the arbitral tribunal granted the claimant’s request. Below is a comment on the latter one of these cases.

Factual circumstances of the case

A Finnish company(“Claimant”) had concluded a contract with two Eastern European parties (“Respondents”). The contract was governed by Finnish substantive law and the arbitration clause provided that any disputes relating to it shall be decided in FAI arbitration seated in Helsinki. Once a dispute arose between the parties and Claimant commenced FAI arbitration proceedings, all parties expressly agreed that the case shall be referred to an arbitral tribunal consisting of a sole arbitrator. FAI Board then appointed a Danish sole arbitrator in the case and fixed the global advance on costs to be paid in equal shares by Claimant,on one hand, and Respondents, on the other.

Claimant paid its share, but Respondents failed to do so. Upon invitation of FAI Secretariat,Claimant paid Respondents’ share too and the case file was subsequently transmitted to the sole arbitrator. In their Statement of Defence, Respondentsraised a counterclaim and paid the requisite filing fee of EUR 3,000. However,they continued to decline to pay their part of the global advance on costs.

Meanwhile,Claimant filed a request for a separate award, asking the sole arbitrator (a) to order Respondents jointly and severally to pay to Claimant “soonest by adate decided by the Arbitrator” EUR 11,000, which amount represented Respondents’ share of the advance on costs fixed by FAI, with interest starting on [date] at the rate provided in Section 4.1 of the Finnish Interest Act(633/1982); and (b) to order, as part of the final award, Respondents to bear the costs for rendering the separate award, including the sole arbitrator’sfees and all costs and fees incurred by Claimant.

Respondents objected to Claimant’s request for a separate award, stating that the issue of advance on costs should be decided only in the final award and that the claimfor interest on any amount payable by Respondents as advance on costs should be dismissed as contrary to Article 2.11 of Appendix II FAI Rules. According to said provision, “the amounts paid as advances on costs do not yield interest for the parties or the arbitrators”.

The sole arbitrator decided to issue a separate award and granted Claimant’s request for the reimbursement of the advance on costs as well as the claim for interest.Below is an extract of the reasons for the sole arbitrator’s separate award.

Reasons for the separate award

The parties have agreed in their arbitration clause that any dispute shall be finally settled by arbitration in accordance with the FAI Rules. Pursuant to Article 3.2 FAI Rules, the Rules include Appendices I to III, which form an integral part ofthe Rules. Article 2.2 of Appendix II imposes an obligation on each party to pay half of the advance on costs fixed by the Institute. Article 2.6 of Appendix II provides that the arbitral tribunal may, at the request of a party,issue a separate award for reimbursement of the payment made on another party’s behalf.

Since the parties have adopted the FAI Rules by reference in the arbitration clause, they have undertaken to comply with the obligation to pay half of the advance on costs.The prevailing doctrine affirms the contractual nature of such provision. The matter in dispute is thus a matter of substance on which the arbitral tribunal may render a decision regarding the reimbursement of the advance on costs paidon behalf of another party, by way of a separate award.

Respondents have not paid their share of the advance on costs as determined by the Institute.Instead, Claimant has made the payment of EUR 11,000 on Respondents’ behalf.Respondents’ failure to pay constitutes a breach of a contractual condition. It lies with Respondents to prove that an exception to reimbursement should apply.

Respondents havenot objected, by itself, to the obligation to pay half of the advance on costs,i.e. the principal amount of EUR 11,000. However, Respondents have argued that the issue of advance on costs should be determined only in the final award,which decides the merits of Claimant’s case.

The sole arbitrator considers that the reimbursement of the advance on costs paid by Claimant is a separate matter from the sole arbitrator’s ultimate decision in the final award on the allocation of costs. The FAI Rules provide an explicit legal basis for the sole arbitrator to decide Claimant’s claim for reimbursement by a separate award. The sole arbitrator also finds that Claimanthas a legitimate interest that Respondents reimburse Claimant given that Respondents informed the Institute on [date] that they were unable to pay their share of the advance on costs.

In their comments to Claimant’s request for a separate award, Respondents have not repeated the inability to pay as grounds for relieving Respondents from the obligation to pay half of the advance on costs. Moreover, Respondents have continued to involve themselves in this arbitration and raised counterclaims/set-off claims without, however, adhering to the obligation to pay half of the advance on costs as determined by the Institute. The sole arbitrator finds that Respondents have not presented any reasonable cause for their failure to pay.Claimant’s request for a separate award shall therefore be granted insofar as the principal amount of EUR 11,000 is concerned.

Claimant has also claimed interest on the amount payable by Respondents accruing from [date],which is the day Claimant paid Respondents’ share of the advance on costs on their behalf. Respondents have objected to Claimant’s claim for interest by arguing that Article 2.11 of Appendix II FAI Rules excludes interest on advances on costs. Claimant, for its part, has disputed Respondents’ interpretation of said provision. Claimant contends that it regulates the payment of interest on any amounts paid to the Institute, but does not prevent ordering Respondents to pay interest on any amount payable to Claimant.

The sole arbitrator finds that Article 2.11 of Appendix II FAI Rules only addresses the situation where a party has in fact paid its share of the advance on costs to the Institute, in which case the amount paid does not accrue interest for the parties. Therefore, the sole arbitrator agrees with Claimant in that Article2.11 of Appendix II does not prohibit ordering Respondents to pay interest on their share of the advance on costs to Claimant.

Further, the sole arbitrator finds that the issue of interest is governed by the laws of Finland.Under Finnish law, parties to arbitration are generally entitled to receive interest on defaulted payments.

Following the Institute’s letter of [date], Claimant paid Respondents’ share of the advance on costs. Respondents were aware of their payment obligation when Claimant made the payment on their behalf, but stated that they were unable to pay and ultimately chose not to reimburse Claimant. Claimant had to pay Respondents’ share of the advance on costs to ensure the continuation of the arbitration proceedings.

The sole arbitrator finds that Claimant’s claim for interest on the amount in dispute constitutes an actual damage resulting from Respondents’ breach of their contractual obligation set forth in Article 2.2 of Appendix II FAI Rules. Onthat basis, Claimant’s claim for interest is justified and interest shall be awarded from the date of Claimant’s payment on behalf of Respondents at the rate provided in Section 4.1 of the Finnish Interest Act.

Reported by Mika Savola
Chair, FAI Board