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严重违规问题(Serious Irregularity)-仲裁庭未审理原告的费用分担主张

更新时间:2018-05-08 11:54:43  张振安 临时仲裁ADA 编辑:lianluobu  点击次数:339次

在P v D & Ors [2017] EWHC 3273 (Comm)一案中,伦敦商事法庭维持了一项针对伦敦国际商事仲裁中心(LCIA)裁决的上诉,理由是严重违犯了1996仲裁法s.68条的严重违规(serious irregularity)规定。申请人提出的撤销仲裁裁决的依据是仲裁庭未审理案件中所有的事项,特别是在诉讼程序中未能考量申请人的费用分担(contribution)主张,因此导致申请人遭受严重不公正。在该判决中,法院指出了仲裁庭裁决中的许多错误,并向伦敦国际商事仲裁中心仲裁庭提供了关于何时可以根据LCIA规则行使裁决后权力,更正裁决或作出额外裁决的指导性意见。

小笔记

2018/5/8

通常认为仲裁是“一裁终局”的争议解决方式,即仲裁裁决作出后立即生效而不能向法院上诉。世界上大多数国家也均认可仲裁的一裁终局,但英国仲裁法下存在对仲裁裁决的上诉制度。

英国1996年《仲裁法》规定了三种允许对仲裁裁决提起上诉的情况:(1)仲裁庭缺乏实体管辖权(substantive jurisdiction)(第67条);(2)仲裁庭,仲裁程序,或仲裁裁决存在严重违规的情况(第68条)[1];

(3)仲裁庭对仲裁裁决中所涉及的法律问题认定不准确(第69条)。

前两种撤裁的情况适用于程序上的瑕疵,而第三种情况适用于实体方面,即法律问题。


背景

上述伦敦国际商事仲裁中心

的仲裁案源于第一被申请人收购第三被申请人股权的合同安排, 该部分股权来自于申请人以及第二被申请人。申请人声称其没有获得转让的股权对价。第一被申请人则提出反请求称申请人未能转让特定商标权,因此申请人与第二被申请人作为卖方,对违反股权买卖协议中的保证条款应当承担共同和连带责任。


伦敦国际商事仲裁庭仲裁

该仲裁分成两个阶段。在仲裁裁决的第一个阶段中, 仲裁庭驳回了申请人的主要诉讼请求,并认定第一被申请人反请求中提出的违反保证责任成立。 裁决的第二阶段中支持了被申请人反请求中的金钱请求与其它请求。

第二被申请人积极参与了仲裁程序的第一阶段,但没有参与第二阶段。不过,第二被申请人在整个第二阶段都被完全记录在案,抄送所有相关的通信,并提供给所有的申请书和辩护意见,也拥有指定的代表人。在仲裁程序的第二阶段中,申请人的法定代表人进行了更换。由于各种原因,申请人也同意第二阶段将仅通过书面审理。

在仲裁程序第二阶段的开始,第一被申请人通过反请求要求申请人与第二被申请人承担共同连带责任。尽管第二被申请人没有积极参加这一阶段,没有迹象表明其承认或肯定了反请求中提出的共同连带责任。申请人对于案件的陈述中表明,如果第一被申请人的反请求得以支持,申请人对第二被申请人的分担主张也将应该支持。

在冗长的第二阶段仲裁裁决中,仲裁庭(在裁决的J部分中)列明了各方寻求的救济,以及(在K2部分中)列明了双方对第一被申请人反请求的各自立场的总结。在J部分中,仲裁员确认了申请人对第二被告提出的分担主张。K2 部分没有任何证据表明仲裁庭理解了申请人的反请求被撤回,被放弃或没有继续进行。此外,在裁决的(L部分)中,仲裁庭认定了第一被申请人的仲裁请求并裁定申请人向其支付1100万美元。L部分没有提及申请人的分担主张,但陈述到,“所有其它的仲裁请求和反请求都予以驳回。”

申请人请求仲裁庭行使其在LCIA规则27.1条(更正仲裁裁决的权力)或27.3条(作出另外裁决的权力)项下的权力,但是仲裁庭裁定其根据27条无权针对第二阶段裁决中的问题作出救济。

原告根据1996仲裁法s.68(2)(d)条对裁决提出了质疑,辩称仲裁庭未能对其分担主张进行考量,导致申请人遭受了严重不公正。

商事法庭判决

法官baker同意申请人的意见,即当前的争议事项不是裁决发生了错误,而是仲裁庭认识到了诉求的存在,而在裁决中却错误地没有对其给出任何考量。法院因此同意根据1996 仲裁法s.68条对裁决提出质疑。

法官baker指出,仲裁庭认定申请人的分担主张被新的法定代表人提交的辩护意见所取代。但是法官baker认为在这些辩护意见中,没有任何证据可以证明申请人放弃或撤回了分担主张-申请人的辩护意见仅仅是集中在辩称第一被申请人没有遭受损失。法官baker认定,任何对所请求的分担主张的忽略,充其量只能被描述为模棱两可,尤其是鉴于本案仅通过书面审理,将导致仲裁庭没有机会在最终听审中澄清相关事项。考虑到这一点,法官baker认定仲裁庭有责任澄清申请人的分担主张是否被放弃或撤回。法官baker对仲裁庭是否考虑到这一事项表示质疑,反之,他提出,在第二阶段中,申请人提出了仲裁请求并且要求进行考量,但之后出现的差错导致其没有在裁决中被探讨,分析或考量。

法院也对仲裁庭裁定的正确与否进行了考量,即仲裁庭无权根据LCIA规则第27条纠正第二阶段的裁决。法官baker认定仲裁庭对其第27条项下的权力作出的认定是正确的,因为本案的裁决并不是因为起草或表达中出现了错误。但是他认为仲裁庭错误地认定,未能处理当事人的仲裁请求不构成27.3条下所指的应当被更正的错误。仲裁庭是否有权根据此条款更正裁决取决于提交给仲裁庭的诉讼请求或反诉是否被纳入考量。在这些仲裁程序中,仲裁中提出仲裁请求与反请求的程序上没有任何缺陷,实体上没有任何决定性的裁决。这是因为阶段二的决定性条款通过以下语句对申请人的分担主张已经作出了裁定,“所有其它的仲裁请求和反请求都予以驳回。”因此,尽管法官baker不认同仲裁庭关于27.3条的说理,他还是同意仲裁庭的裁决,即在本案中仲裁庭无权依据LCIA规则进行更正。

法官baker指令做出合理的救济措施,即撤销仲裁庭的裁决并指令仲裁员对申请人的分担主张作出考量。

评论

该裁决强调了仅靠书面审理的风险,这可能会限制仲裁庭对当事人的诉求进行认定。该裁决也提供了27条项下关于仲裁庭更正裁决权的有用分析。如果仲裁中第二阶段的裁决不包括“所有的其它仲裁请求和反请求”,那么裁决依然待定,仲裁庭可以根据27.3条作出额外裁决。但在本案中,仲裁庭的错误导致法院认定其使申请人遭受了严重不公正。


38仲裁员评论

2018/5/8

1. 本案中可以看到仅仅通过书面审理会带来风险,可能导致当事人的诉求被仲裁庭遗漏或不予审理,但是尽管如此,仲裁庭在审理案件时,需要特别注意仲裁费用分摊的问题(这是基本的仲裁请求问题),因为第一被申请人的反请求是要求申请人和第二被申请人承担责任,那么也就涉及到第一被申请人主张的仲裁等费用由申请人和第二被申请人各自承担多少的问题,这个问题是申请人提出要求仲裁庭进行裁定而未予裁定的问题。
2. 本案 英国法院认定仲裁庭是否有权更正裁决取决于仲裁庭裁决是否遗漏了当事人的仲裁请求,如果遗漏,仲裁庭将有权在之后进行更正,而若没有遗漏,则无权再作出改变。因此建议当事人在提出诉请时应当明确,避免疑义,清晰无误地提出自己的仲裁请求,如果在申请书或反请求非常明确,则仲裁庭应对该请求作出裁决,否则,当事人有权在裁决作出之后申请撤销/更正裁决。

英文原文

Successful challenge on basis of serious irregularity – A tribunal’s failure to deal with contribution claim

13 April 2018 Sadie Buls, England & Wales

In P v D & Ors [2017] EWHC 3273 (Comm), London’s Commercial Court upheld a challenge to a London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) award brought under s.68 Arbitration Act 1996 (the AA 1996) for serious irregularity. The claimant sought remission of the award on the basis that the Tribunal failed to deal with all the issues that were put to it (in particular, it failed to consider the claimant’s contribution claim in the proceedings), thereby causing the claimant substantial injustice. In its judgment, the Court identified a number of errors in the Tribunal’s award and provided guidance on when a LCIA Tribunal can exercise post-award powers to make corrections or issue additional awards under the LCIA Rules.

Background

The underlying LCIA arbitration arose out of contractual arrangements relating to the acquisition by the first defendant of shares in the third defendant, a proportion of which came from the claimant and from the second defendant. The claimant alleged that it had not been paid in full for the shares. The first defendant counterclaimed that there had been a failure by the claimant to transfer certain trademarks, so as to put the claimant and the second defendant as sellers, jointly and severally, in breach of warranty under the share sale and purchase agreements. 

The LCIA Arbitration

The arbitration was divided into two phases. By the Phase 1 Award, the Tribunal dismissed the claimant’s primary claim and held that breach of warranty had been established on the first defendant’s counterclaim. Phase 2 of the arbitration was to cover the monetary or other relief to be granted on the finding on the defendant’s counterclaim.

The second defendant had played an active part in Phase 1 of the proceedings but did not do so in Phase 2. Nevertheless, it was fully on the record throughout Phase 2, was copied into all relevant correspondence, provided with all pleadings and submissions and had designated representatives. During the Phase 2 proceedings, the claimant’s legal representation changed.  It was also agreed, for various reasons, that Phase 2 would be determined on documents only.

Initially in the Phase 2 proceedings, the first defendant’s counterclaim was raised jointly and severally against the claimant and the second defendant. Although the second defendant played no active part, there was no indication that it had acknowledged or conceded joint and several liability in respect of the counterclaim. The claimant’s statement of case made clear that if the first defendant’s counterclaim was maintained, so too was the claimant’s contribution claim against the second defendant.

In the lengthy Phase 2 Award, the Tribunal set out (in what was named Part J of the award) the relief sought by the parties, and (in Part K2) a summary of the parties’ respective positions regarding the first defendant’s counterclaim. In Part J, the arbitrators identified that the claimant claimed contribution against the second defendant. Part K2 contained nothing to indicate that the Tribunal understood the claimant’s counterclaim to be withdrawn, abandoned or not pursued. Ultimately, in the dispositive section of the award (Part L), the Tribunal stated that it found in favour of the first defendant and ordered that the claimant pay it $11 million. Part L made no reference to the claimant’s contribution claim but stated, “All other claims and counterclaims are dismissed.”

The claimant applied to the Tribunal to exercise its powers under Article 27.1 (power to correct an award) or 27.3 (power to issue an additional award) of the LCIA Rules, but the Tribunal ruled that it did not have the power under Article 27 to remedy the problem with the Phase 2 award.

The claimant challenged the award under s.68(2)(d) AA 1996, arguing that the Tribunal’s failure to consider the contribution claim caused the claimant substantial injustice.

Commercial Court Decision

Mr Justice Baker agreed with the claimant that the matter before him was not an erroneous decision but an “erroneous failure” by the Tribunal to appreciate that there was a claim live before it which was not given any conscious consideration in the award at all. It was therefore appropriate that the challenge be brought under s.68 AA 1996. 

Baker J noted that the Tribunal considered the claimant’s contribution claim to have been superseded by the written submissions of its new legal representative. However, Baker J found there was nothing in those submissions which could even arguably have been thought to amount to an abandonment or withdrawal of the contribution claim - the claimant’s submissions were simply focussed on its continued argument that no loss had been suffered by the first defendant. Baker J held that any omission of a mention of the pleaded contribution claim could, at best, be described as only ambiguous, particularly given that the matter was dealt with on documents alone, with no opportunity for the Tribunal to clarify issues at a final hearing. In light of that, Baker J found that it was “incumbent” on the Tribunal to clarify whether the claimant’s contribution claim was being abandoned or withdrawn. Baker J doubted that this is what the Tribunal had believed; rather, he noted that Phase 2 recorded the claim as being raised and requiring determination, something which then - in error - was not carried through to discussion, analysis or consideration in the award.

The Court also considered whether the Tribunal had been correct to rule that it did not have the power to remedy the problem with the Phase 2 award under Article 27 of the LCIA Rules. Baker J found that the Tribunal was correct in relation to its decision on its power under Article 27.1 as this was not a case of the award failing as a result of error in its drafting or articulation. However, he found that the Tribunal had erred in concluding that a matter of failing to deal with an issue put before it would not constitute an error capable of correction under Art.27.3. Whether or not a Tribunal can correct an award under that rule would depend on whether a claim or counterclaim put before the Tribunal has failed to be determined. In these arbitration proceedings, there was no lacuna, by way of claim or counterclaim which was presented in the arbitration and in respect of which there was no dispositive award. This was because Phase 2’s dispositive provisions did determine the claimant’s contribution claim by way of the sentence, “All other claims and counterclaims are dismissed.” Accordingly, although Baker J disagreed with the Tribunal’s reasoning in relation to Article 27.3, he agreed with the decision that it did not, in this instance, have the power to act under that provision of the LCIA Rules.

Baker J ordered that the appropriate relief was to remit the award to the Tribunal with a direction that the arbitrators give due consideration to the claimant’s contribution claim.

Comment

2018/5/8

This judgment highlights the perils of document only decisions which can limit a Tribunal’s opportunity to clarify matters with the parties. The judgment also provides a helpful analysis of the powers available to a Tribunal to correct an award under Article 27.  If the Phase 2 award in this arbitration had not disposed of “all other claims and counterclaims”, it appears it would have remained open to the Tribunal to make an additional award under Article 27.3. Instead, the Tribunal’s errors led the Court to conclude that it was satisfied that substantial injustice had been caused to the claimant.