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最高法院推翻上诉法院裁定 对仲裁裁决执行提出异议无需提供担保

更新时间:2018-02-13 14:53:24  张振安 临时仲裁ADA 编辑:lianluobu  点击次数:403次

英国最高法院于2017年3月1日作出有重要意义的裁定,撤销了上诉法院的一项裁定,该裁定下令暂停执行仲裁裁决的命令,等待支付担保。裁定延期执行仲裁裁决,直到支付担保费 payment of security。最高法院认为,上诉法院超越了其管辖权,英国《1996年仲裁法》和《纽约公约》均没有赋予法院这样的权力。据了解这是国际上关于该问题的第一个上诉法院裁定,因此在解释《纽约公约》时可能会被其他国家法院所引用。

争议

争议产生于承包商(IPCO)和尼日利亚国家石油公司(NNPC)签订的在尼日利亚设计和建造一个石油终端(petroleum expert terminal)的合同。适用法为尼日利亚法律,争议适用法为1990年《尼日利亚仲裁与调解法》。

该合同发生争议并进行仲裁,2004年在尼日利亚作出的裁决支持了IPCO大约3.4亿美元的请求。NNPC试图在尼日利亚撤销这个裁决(这个请求还没有开庭审理)。

2004年至2009年期间,IPCO寻求在英国执行裁决或延期执行(以待解决尼日利亚撤销裁决)(最初无欺诈问题,但后来指控欺诈)。英国法院根据 1996年仲裁法第1035)条(注意最高法院的裁决涉及第1033)条)下令延期执行裁决和担保。

2014年,IPCO再次在寻求在英国执行,但商事法庭的Field Field法官由于尼日利亚进一步撤销裁决程序延迟而驳回了他的申请,延迟被发现是由于情势变迁原因。不过,Field J确实强调,考虑到当事人和尼日利亚法律制度谋利益,尼日利亚诉讼程序(即所谓的“戈尔迪之结”(Gordian knot)的实质性延误不应被允许继续下去 IPCO就该裁定向上诉法院提起上诉。

上诉法院因达成尼日利亚诉讼程序解决方案所需时间长短而受到关注,并将此案交由商事法庭来裁定裁决的执行是否会违反英国1996AA1033)条的公共政策。上诉法院还根据1996AA1035)条的规定暂停进一步执行该裁决,但裁定NNPC除了已经支付的8000万美元外还另外支付1亿美元的担保费。如果没有支付担保,法院将裁定支付全部金额。上诉法院关注的是,尼日利亚诉讼程序需要多长时间才能解决,并将案件转交给商事法院,以确定裁决的执行是否违反《1996年仲裁法》第103(3)条规定的英国公共政策。同时延缓继续执行裁决,尽管已经支付的8千万美元赔偿款,仍然裁定NNPC支付1亿美元担保。如果担保不支付,法院则裁定完全执行裁决数额。

最高院的决定

NNPC向最高法院提出上诉理由,根据英国1996AA1032)和(3)条的规定法院对担保没有管辖权,或在法院认定NNPC有表面证据证明欺诈,并且该欺诈使其有权抵制整个裁决的执行时,该裁定是不合法的。

最高法院受理了上诉请求。在这个过程中,撤销了上诉法院的裁定,认定作出这个裁定已经超越了法院的管辖权和权力。最高法院的五名法官认定,1996年仲裁法的1032)或1033)条或《纽约公约》中相同条款第5条没有明确规定该权力,这使得执行法院能够在债务人提供担保的条件下作出该决定(暂缓执行)

然而,曼斯勋爵确实澄清说,如果根据1996年仲裁法要求延期执行裁决,则可下令第103(5)条提供担保(因此保留了根据本条提出的八千万美元担保的原始命令)。法院可以延迟就承认和执行作出决定,直到外国主管法院审议了撤销申请,并可根据这些条款下令作出具体担保。

最高法院的裁定表明其乐意遵循《纽约公约》的精神,反映了裁决债权人和债务人之间的利益平衡。

影响

对于双方来说,本案的传奇色彩( saga of this caseIPCO努力执行仲裁裁决在继续。这一裁定澄清了执行裁决涉及的一个问题,因而有利于仲裁,但它强调了执行裁决的困难将持续存在以及在没有重大延误的情况下,法院没有驳回无法处理申请的司法管辖区挑战强制执行裁决的机会。但是它确实突出了在执行裁决方面持续存在的困难,以及通过管辖法院无法毫不拖延地处理撤销裁决申请,从而阻碍执行的机会。IPCO (Nigeria) Limited v Nigerian National PetroleumCorporation [2017] UKSC


《1996年仲裁法》第103条第2款:“被寻求承认或执行裁决的一方当事人,如能证明以下情况,则裁决可被拒绝:

(a) 仲裁协议的一方当事人(根据适用于他的法律)无行为能力;

(b) 根据当事人选择适用于仲裁协议的法律,或未指明适用的法律时根据裁决作出地国家的法律规定,仲裁协议是无效的;

(c) 其未得到委任仲裁员或进行仲裁程序的适当通知,或因他故不能陈述案件;

(d) 裁决解决的并非当事人约定或交付仲裁之条款所包含的争议,或包含超出提交仲裁范围的事项的决定(第4款除外);

(e) 仲裁庭组成或仲裁程序未依当事人的约定,或无约定而未依仲裁进行地国家的法律;

(f) 仲裁裁决尚未对当事人产生约束力,或已被裁决作出地国或裁决所依据法律之国家有权机构撤销或中止。

第103条第3款:如裁决涉及事项是不可通过仲裁裁决的,或者承认或执行裁决违反公共政策的,则也可以拒绝承认或执行裁决。 

第103条第5款:如已向上述第2款f项规定的有权机构提出撤销或中止裁决的申请,则寻求向其援引裁决的法院如认为合适,可对裁决的承认与执行延期做出决定。经请求承认或执行裁决的当事人申请,法院可以命令对方当事人提供妥适的担保。


[英文原文]

Supreme Court overturns Court of Appeal

no security to challenge enforcement of an arbitralaward

In asignificant decision, the English Supreme Court recently set aside a decisionof the Court of Appeal which had ordered adjournment of an order forenforcement of an arbitral award pending payment of security. The Supreme Courtfound that the Court of Appeal had exceeded its jurisdiction and that nothingin the Arbitration Act 1996 (AA 1996) nor the New York Convention on theRecognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the New YorkConvention) gave the court such power. This is understood to be the firstappellate court decision on this issue worldwide and is therefore likely to berelied upon by other national courts when interpreting the New York Convention.

The dispute

The disputearose out of a contract between the contractor (IPCO) and the Nigerian NationalPetroleum Company (NNPC) to design and construct a petroleum expert terminal inNigeria. The contract was governed by Nigerian law with disputes to be resolvedunder the Nigerian Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1990.

A dispute aroseand arbitration was conducted. An award was made in Nigeria in 2004 in IPCO'sfavour for around US$ 340 million. NNPC sought to have the award set aside inNigeria (this claim is still yet to be heard).

Between 2004and 2009 IPCO sought enforcement of the award in England or for enforcementadjourned pending resolution of challenges to the award in Nigeria (initially,on non-fraud but subsequently fraud charges). The courts ordered adjournment ofenforcement of the award and security under AA 1996, s 103(5) (note the SupremeCourt decision relates to s 103(3)).

In 2014, IPCOagain sought enforcement in England but Mr Justice Field in the CommercialCourt refused the application because of further delays in Nigeria which werefound to amount to a change of circumstance. Field J did however highlight thatthe substantial delays in the Nigerian proceedings (the so-called 'Gordianknot') should not be permitted to continue in the interest of the parties andthe Nigerian legal system. IPCO appealed this decision to the Court of Appeal.

The Court ofAppeal were concerned by the length of time that it would take to reach aresolution of the Nigerian proceedings and remitted the case to the CommercialCourt to determine whether enforcement of the award would contravene Englishpublic policy under section 103(3) of the 1996 Arbitration Act 1996 (AA 1996).The Court of Appeal also adjourned any further enforcement of the award underAA 1996, s 103(5) but ordered NNPC to pay a further US$100 million in securityin addition to the US$80 million it had already paid. If the security was notpaid, the court ordered the whole award to become payable.

Decision of the Supreme Court

NNPC appealedto the Supreme Court on grounds that the order for security under AA 1996, s103(2) and (3) was made without jurisdiction or was illegitimate incircumstances where the court had found that NNPC had a good prima facie caseof fraud which entitled it to resist enforcement of the whole award.

The SupremeCourt allowed the appeal. In doing so, it set aside the decision of the Courtof Appeal, finding that it had exceeded its jurisdiction and powers in makingits order. The five judges of the Supreme Court (Lord Mance delivering theleading judgment) found that there is no express power in AA 1996,s 103(2) or103(3), or in the same provisions of Article V of the New York Convention,which enables the enforcing court to make its decision conditional on the awarddebtor providing security.

Lord Mance didhowever clarify that, where an adjournment is sought under AA 1996, s 103(5)security may be ordered (thus leaving the original order for US$80 millionsecurity made under this section in place). The court may postpone making adecision on recognition and enforcement until a foreign competent court hasconsidered a set-aside application and security may be ordered on these termsas this is specifically provided for.

In arriving atits decision, the Supreme Court demonstrated its willingness to look to thespirit of the New York Convention as reflecting a balancing of interestsbetween the award creditor and debtor.

Impact

For the partiesthe saga of this case and IPCO's efforts to enforce its arbitral awardcontinue. While this decision is positive for arbitration in that it clarifiesa question on enforcement, it does highlight the continuing difficulties withenforcing awards and the opportunities to thwart enforcement by challenging theaward in jurisdictions where the courts are unable to address the applicationwithout significant delay.

IPCO (Nigeria)Limited v Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation [2017] UKSC