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芬兰仲裁机构(FAI)关于在仲裁程序中取消律师代理资格的问题

更新时间:2018-03-14 13:59:35  张振安 临时仲裁ADA 编辑:lianluobu  点击次数:555次

FAI Arbitral Tribunal’s Decision concerning the Disqualification of Counsel in Arbitral Proceedings

 

介绍

国际仲裁普遍承认仲裁庭具有固有的权力和义务,以维护仲裁程序的公正性和完整性以及仲裁裁决的可执行性。另一方面,仲裁一方当事人有权选择自己的代理律师,这也是无可争议的。在一些偶然的情况下,这两个原则可能会发生碰撞,例如,如果一方当事人的律师从事一些非常不恰当的程序行为,而另一方当事人则提出请求取消该律师的代理资格不让继续参与仲裁程序。仲裁庭是否可以接受(entertain)这样的请求?


 Hrvatska v. 斯洛文尼亚案件


历史观点认为,仲裁庭无权取消律师资格或制裁律师(参见案例,以及The Ethics in International Arbitration,2014年,牛津大学出版社,第135-136页 )。然而,在ICSID案例Hrvatska Elektroprivreda, d.d. v. Republic of Slovenia中众所周知的程序性裁决(ICSID案件编号ARB / 05/24,2008年5月6日)常被视为支持仲裁庭具有取消律师代理资格以保护程序完整性的固有权力的结论。该案例,仲裁庭取消了被申请人聘请的英国大律师代理,因为其是在仲裁庭成立后加入到被申请人的代理团队,并且在最后一次庭审开始前十天才披露他的代理事宜;有问题的大律师是法庭庭长的同一分庭成员。仲裁庭在作出裁决时提到了一个使合理组成的仲裁庭(properly-constituted tribunals)永恒不变的重要原则,即仲裁庭认为,仲裁庭组庭后,一方不得以危害仲裁庭的地位或合法性的方式调整代理人(a party cannot amend its legal team after the constitution of the tribunal in such a fashion as to imperil the tribunal’s status or legitimacy)。

Hrvatska/Slovenia案件存在的核心问题在国际律师协会(IBA)关于当事人代理的指引(IBA Guidelines on Party Representation “IBA指引”)的第5和第6条指引中有具体的阐述。根据IBA指引,律师其他形式的不当行为也可能会导致指引26条规定的制裁。这些制裁包括警告(admonishment),不利推定( the drawing of adverse inferences)以及费用分配(allocation of costs)。然而,有意思的是,对律师的回避(exclusion )或取消代理资格(disqualification)并非其他不当行为的救济措施,仅为违反指引第5条的救济措施,该条指引规定“一旦仲裁庭成立,当与仲裁员之间存在会导致利益冲突时,他/她不应该接受一方当事人委托代理。”尽管如此,律师回避可能仍属于指引第26条(d)款所规定一般规则的范围,该条款赋予仲裁庭“采取其他任何适当措施以维护程序的公正性和完整性”的权力。这项全面规定(catch-all )可能授权仲裁庭在重大不当行为(manifest misconduct)的极端情况下取消律师代理资格,但须符合任何可适用的强制性规则的规定。

在实践中,在IBA指引没有直接规定的情况下,有时也会请求取消律师代理资格并回避(exclusion of counsel)。例如,在最近根据芬兰仲裁机构规则(“FAI规则”)进行的仲裁案件中,被申请人B(i)首先任命X先生-申请人A的律师-作为仲裁中的事实证人(fact witness),理由是X先生也参与了构成争议主题事项的合同的谈判和起草,和(ii)然后请求仲裁庭在庭审中被申请人提问时他作为申请人的律师回避。


双方的观点

仲裁庭驳回了该请求但作出裁定,在庭审中,在当事人发表观点(opening statements )后,X先生立即作为第一事实证人接受质询,以确保申请人不会因为X先生参与合同谈判而享有任何程序上优势的后,以下是仲裁庭理由和最终裁决的匿名摘录(anonymized extract)。

被申请人B在其辩护声明中的陈述如下:“B任命X先生为事实陈述环节作为一个证人,随后X先生拥有对仲裁很重要主要的第一手资料(他实际上起草了了部分主要信息)。B的立场是X先生在随后的开庭庭审中不能再担任A的律师。 这基于西方民主制度关于公平审判的一般程序原则和以及芬兰程序法17:50.2§”规定。

申请人A对X先生无法代表申请人参加庭审提出异议。申请人说:“X先生愿意为与谈判有关的所有非特权问题(non¬-privileged matters)作证。然而,敬请仲裁庭裁定允许X先生出席当事人的开庭陈述(opening presentations)[并且他]作为第一证人出庭,并随后被允许出席庭审,不应允许被申请人涉A选择其仲裁代理“

被申请人声称:“律师同时在合同谈判和合同诉讼时担任代理律师的情况是非常不寻常的。通常合同谈判的律师作为证人,而诉讼将由另一名律师处理,被申请人不反对A选择自己代理人的自由。但是,如果申请人选择的代理人限制了申请人的选择或有其他后果,应由申请人承担不利后果。“

仲裁庭仔细审议了双方当事人所依据的论点,并一致作出以下决定,即X先生在庭审中作为申请人的律师和出席庭审需要回避:

芬兰程序法(FPC)17:50.2§规定:“被称为证人(......)的人可不会出现在审理案件的过程中,除非对他或她的盘问时必要时(examination)”。首先,仲裁庭指出,FPC中包括FPC 17:50.2§的规定并不适用于该国际仲裁。仲裁庭进一步指出,芬兰仲裁法和FAI规则都没有包含类似于FPC的规定。

此外,一方当事人可以由其选择的法定代理人代理,这是国际仲裁中普遍而基本的原则。在这方面,仲裁庭参考Gary Born的“国际商事仲裁“(2014年第2版)第2833页(at pages 2833 ff)和2845页。被申请人在[日期](......)的信函中承认了这一原则,这就意味着只有在代表权侵犯了仲裁的完整性时,仲裁庭才有理由进行干涉。此外,除了可能发生不正当行为的极端例外情况下,国际仲裁庭不应对基于仲裁法可能适用的职业道德规则(在法院职业道德规则中in casu bar ethics rules)进行监督管制。

尽管仲裁庭同意被申请人观点,即参与起草和谈判商事合同的人在有关同一商业合同随后产生的争议中作为一方当事人出现的情况并不常见,但仲裁庭没有找到充分的理由让X先生作为申请人的律师出席庭审进行回避,X先生可能出席无论如何都反映双方当事人在书面请求中提交的意见的双方当事人的开庭陈述。

然而,仲裁庭注意到,这不应该意味着申请人在这些诉讼程序中将享有任何哪怕是非常遥远或仅仅理论上的程序优势。为了处理因申请人选择在一定程度上参与起草和谈判整套文件(the suite of documents)的X先生代理的事实而产生的任何此类风险,该文件的成立/解释是这个争端的核心,在庭审中,X先生必须在开庭陈述后立即作为第一名证人在任何其他证人面前接受盘问。

在提交证据后,X先生可继续担任申请人的律师,并参加庭审,包括以申请人的名义提交意见等。此外,X先生未被阻止盘问证人,但显然他必须尊重证人和一方当事人律师的不同角色。被申请人的律师将能够对某种问题或提出问题的方式提出异议,仲裁庭将保持警惕,以确保各方当事人及其律师遵守并坚持正当程序,期待并请求律师相应地规范自身行为。


仲裁决定-有限回避


X先生可以在庭审中担任申请人的律师,X先生可以出席申请人开庭陈述期间和随后的庭审部分。申请人开庭陈述后,应立即对X先生作为第一证人进行盘问。


 评论


当事人仲裁代理人充当证人的问题,我在某国际仲裁案件中遇到类似的问题,该案件的两名代理人也是该公司的法定代表人,因此对方在开庭之前向仲裁庭提出要求涉及的代理人回避,并开庭时回避,仲裁庭考虑到该案件的特点,不同意该请求,但是在程序上安排涉及的代理人现行举证并接受盘问。

作为仲裁员的另外一起案件中, 当事人在开庭之后要求更换代理律师,并将通知告知仲裁庭,仲裁庭在邮件合议之后,作出决定:同意该当事人更换代理律师,但是该决定并不影响仲裁既定程序,也就是可以根据仲裁程序规定的时限内提交代理意见,并不另行安排重新开庭,也就是保证程序的完整性的情况下当事人可以更换仲裁代理律师。

当然,作为仲裁员,也遇到另外一个案件,该案件在当事人指定我为首席仲裁员之后,公布了仲裁代理律师,该代理律师与我作为首席仲裁员有利益冲突,当时我认为我是不需要回避的,应该回避的应该是该代理律师,然而,事后我还是主动提起辞去仲裁员。



英文部分

FAI Arbitral Tribunal’s Decision concerning the Disqualification of Counsel in Arbitral Proceedings


Introduction

It is generally accepted in international arbitration that an arbitral tribunal has an inherent power, and duty, to preserve the fairness and integrity of the arbitral proceedings and the enforceability of the award. On the other hand, it is equally uncontested that a party to an arbitration has a right to be represented by a counsel of its choice. Occasionally, these two principles may collide, e.g. if one party’s counsel engages in some highly inappropriate procedural conduct and the other party raises a request for the disqualification and exclusion of the counsel from the proceedings. Can the arbitral tribunal entertain such a request?

The historical view has been that arbitral tribunals do not have the power to disqualify or sanction counsel (see the case law and literature referred to in Rogers, Catherine A.: Ethics in International Arbitration, Oxford University Press, 2014, p. 135-136). However, a well-known procedural ruling in ICSID case Hrvatska Elektroprivreda, d.d. v. Republic of Slovenia (ICSID Case No. ARB/05/24, May 6, 2008) is often viewed as supporting a conclusion that tribunals have inherent power to disqualify counsel in order to protect the integrity of the proceedings. In said case, the arbitral tribunal disqualified a British barrister retained by respondent from representing the latter in a situation where he was added to the respondent’s legal team after the tribunal had been constituted, and where his involvement was disclosed only ten days before the final hearing; the barrister in question was a member of the same Chambers as the president of the tribunal. In reaching its decision, the arbitral tribunal referred to an overriding principle of the immutability of properly-constituted tribunals, which in the tribunal’s opinion meant that a party cannot amend its legal team after the constitution of the tribunal in such a fashion as to imperil the tribunal’s status or legitimacy.

The issue that lies at the heart of the Hrvatska/Slovenia case is now specifically addressed in Guidelines 5 and 6 of the IBA Guidelines on Party Representation (the “IBA Guidelines”). According to the IBA Guidelines, also other forms of counsel misconduct may lead to sanctions set forth in Guideline 26. These include admonishment, the drawing of adverse inferences, and the allocation of costs. Interestingly, however, exclusion or disqualification of counsel is not explicitly mentioned as a remedy for other misconduct than breach of Guideline 5, which provides that “once the Arbitral Tribunal has been constituted, a person should not accept representation of a Party in the arbitration when a relationship exists between the person and an Arbitrator that would create a conflict of interest”. Still, exclusion of counsel arguably falls within the ambit of the general rule contained in Guideline 26(d), which gives the arbitral tribunal the power to “take any other appropriate measure in order to preserve the fairness and integrity of the proceedings”. This catch-all provision probably empowers the tribunal to disqualify a counsel in extreme instances of manifest misconduct, subject to any applicable mandatory rules.

In practice, requests for disqualification and exclusion of counsel have occasionally been made also in circumstances not directly covered by the IBA Guidelines. For example, in a recent case governed by the Arbitration Rules of the Finland Chamber of Commerce (the “FAI Rules”), Respondent B (i) first nominated Mr. X – counsel for Claimant A – as a fact witness in the arbitration on the grounds that Mr. X had also participated in the negotiation and drafting of the contract that constituted the subject-matter of the dispute, and (ii) then requested that the arbitral tribunal exclude him from appearing as Claimant’s counsel at the hearing where Respondent was going to ask questions to him.

The arbitral tribunal dismissed the request but ordered that, at the hearing, Mr. X shall be examined as the first fact witness immediately after the parties’ opening statements with a view to ensuring that Claimant will not enjoy any procedural advantage on account of Mr. X’s involvement in the contract negotiations. Below is an anonymized extract of the arbitral tribunal’s reasons and ultimate decision.

Reasons for the arbitral tribunal’s decision

In its Statement of Defence, Respondent B stated as follows: “B nominates Mr. X as one of its witnesses with the evidentiary themes noted later on (…) Mr. X has central first-hand information (he actually created a part of the central information) important to this arbitration. B’s position is that Mr. X cannot act as a counsel of A in the upcoming oral hearing. This is based on general procedural principles in western democracies related to fair trial, and the Finnish Procedural Code 17:50.2 §.”

Claimant A has objected to M. X not being able to represent Claimant at the hearing. In its submission of [date], Claimant states: “Mr. X is willing to testify on all non¬-privileged matters relating to the negotiations. A nevertheless respectfully requests the Arbitral Tribunal to order that Mr. X is allowed to be present during the Parties’ opening presentations [and that he] is examined as the first witness and thereafter allowed to be present in the hearing room (…) Respondent should not be allowed to interfere with A’s selection of its legal representation (…)”

The Parties have exchanged submissions on [dates]. In its submission of [date], Respondent, inter alia, makes the following statement: “Respondent notes that it is highly unusual that an attorney-at-law acts as counsel in both negotiating a contract and litigating the same contract. Normally a counsel negotiating a contract would act as a witness, and litigation would be handled by another counsel (…) Respondent does not dispute A’s freedom to choose its own representation. However, in case the representation chosen by Claimant limits Claimant’s options or has other consequences, those (…) shall be borne by Claimant.”

The Arbitral Tribunal has carefully considered the arguments relied on by the Parties and hereby unanimously renders the following decision regarding the possible exclusion of Mr. X to act as counsel to Claimant at the hearing and his presence at the hearing:

The Finnish Procedural Code (“FPC”) 17:50.2 § contains the following provision: “A person who has been called as a witness (…) may not be present during the consideration of the case beyond what is necessary for his or her examination”. First of all, the Arbitral Tribunal notes that the provisions in the FPC, including FPC 17:50.2 §, do not apply as such to this international arbitration. The Arbitral Tribunal further notes that neither the Finnish Arbitration Act nor the FAI Rules contain provisions similar to the FPC.

Moreover, it is a general and fundamental principle in international arbitration that a party may be represented by a legal representative chosen by that party. In this regard, the Arbitral Tribunal refers to e.g. Born: International Commercial Arbitration (2nd Ed 2014) at pages 2833 ff. and 2845 ff. This principle is acknowledged by Respondent in its letter of [date] (…) This entails that only if the representation violates the integrity of the arbitration, will an arbitral tribunal have reason to interfere in this regard. Furthermore, outside possible egregious instances of misconduct, it is not for an international arbitral tribunal to police any possible professional ethics rules (in casu bar ethics rules) applicable under the lex arbitri.

Although the Arbitral Tribunal agrees with Respondent that it is unusual for a person who has been involved in drafting and negotiating a commercial contract to appear as counsel to a party in a subsequent dispute relating to that same commercial contract, the Arbitral Tribunal does not find sufficient grounds for excluding Mr. X from acting as counsel to Claimant in the hearing and Mr. X may be present during the Parties’ opening statements which should, in any event, reflect the submissions made by the Parties in their written pleadings.

However, the Arbitral Tribunal is mindful that this should not entail that Claimant will enjoy any, even very remote or merely theoretical, procedural advantage during these proceedings. In order to dispose of any such risk arising from the fact that Claimant elects to be represented by Mr. X, who was also to a certain extent involved in the drafting and negotiation of the suite of documents, the construction/interpretation of which is at the centre of this dispute, entails that, at the hearing, Mr. X must be examined before any other witnesses, i.e. as the first witness of fact immediately after the opening statements.

After giving evidence, Mr. X may resume his role as counsel to Claimant and participate in the hearing, including making submissions etc. on behalf of Claimant. Moreover, Mr. X is not prevented from examining witnesses but he must, obviously, respect the different roles of a witness and counsel to one of the parties. Respondent’s counsel will be able to object to a certain line of questioning or the way a question is framed and the Arbitral Tribunal will be vigilant in making sure that due process is observed and adhered to by all parties and their counsel and expects and requests that counsel conduct themselves accordingly.

Decision

Mr. X may act as counsel to Claimant in the hearing and Mr. X may in this capacity be present during the Parties’ opening statements and subsequent parts of the hearing. Mr. X shall be examined as the first witness immediately after the Parties’ opening statements.

By Mika Savola