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仲裁庭未给予一方当事人机会应对对方新的主张以及未处理相关争议问题构成严重不规范
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来源:临时仲裁ADA 发布时间:2019-05-13 14:24:43

仲裁庭未给予一方当事人机会应对对方新的主张以及未处理相关争议问题构成严重不规范

2019年3月13日,在K and others v P and others[2019] EWHC 589 (Comm)一案中(判决请见:阅读原文),仲裁当事人对仲裁裁决提出异议,主张仲裁庭未给予其机会提出己方情况,并且未能处理一些本应该处理得问题,构成严重不规范,违反了《英国仲裁法》第68条的规定。英国商事法院对此作出认定:1)仲裁庭未能处理基于合同保证和赔偿条款所提索赔的问题,构成严重不规范,准予就此问题发回重审;2)仲裁庭关于净债务的认定违背了仲裁当事人的共识,且未通知当事人使得上诉人没有答辩的机会,构成严重不规范,准予就此问题发回重审;3)上诉人继续参加仲裁程序,不能被视为对相关权力的弃权;4)对仲裁庭未给予其机会就符合条件的出租土地的数额提出己方情况的主张不予支持。

一、案件事实

本案原告K(以下简称“买方”)与本案被告P(以下简称“卖方”)签订一份股份买卖合同,约定,买方以农业利益和财产为支付对价,向卖方购买其两家公司的股份。双方约定,卖价根据合同所列资产估价,并经过调整确定。调整应当在5个不同的检查点完成后进行,并且取决于符合条件的出租土地的数量,和检查点完成后的第180天的公司债务状况。该出租土地的数量以合同约定的确定日期的数量为准。(“The sale price was based on the valuation of the assets as set out in the MSPA and required adjustment following completion at 5 distinct "Check-points", depending on the number of "Qualifying Land Leases" ("QLL"), as defined in the MSPA on each of those dates, and the true state of indebtedness of the companies at 180 days following completion.”)同时,合同还约定了卖方的保证和赔偿责任(“warranties and indemnities”)。后来,双方就基于符合条件的出租土地的数量确定的价格调整数额,以及卖方违反了保证和赔偿责任的问题,发生了争议,并提交仲裁。

二、法院认定

1、关于符合条件的出租土地的数量(“Qualifying Land Leases (QLL)”)

在证人证言阶段,买方认为真实的QLL数量不超过24,107.26 ha,卖方认为QLL数量为39,644 ha。但是在结案陈词环节,卖方又根据之前各方提出的账户记录等信息,替代性地提出QLL的数量应该是66,347 ha。于是买方在结案陈词中主张,卖方新的提法缺少辩护材料,没有对相关账户信息进行举证。

仲裁庭认为,只有账户中可见的数据能够被认定为可以信赖的证据,其他的所有证据是不可信赖的和自私的。(“the only reliable evidence of QLL was to be found in the accounts and that all other evidence was unreliable and self-serving.”)仲裁庭认为账户中无形资产的记录仅仅反映的是本案所提到的面积,仅仅能够代表登记的出租土地的数量。(“the reference to "Intangible Assets" in those accounts of $33.174m could only reflect the hectare area referred to and could only represent registered leases.”)仲裁庭进一步认为,证据表明财务报表和决算认可的土地价值正是3月和6月账户所提到的土地面积的价值。(“the evidence showed that the Financial Statements and Accounts were recognising land value that corresponded with the value of the hectare areas referred to in the March and June accounts (totalling 66.603 in June) from which 8 ha fell to be deducted as government leased land which did not qualify as QLL.”)因此,仲裁庭支持了卖方基于账户所提的新的替代性的主张。

法院认定:买方在结案陈词当中对卖方新的主张所提的反对意见,是否被仲裁庭所忽略,这一点不得而知,但是考虑问题的历史以及买方争论卖方新主张的方式,仲裁庭支持了卖方新主张的裁定总的来说并不是令人惊讶的,也不能构成《英国仲裁法》第68条的严重不规范。(“Whether or not they overlooked paragraph 35 of the written closing is unknown, but, given the history of the matter and the manner in which the Buyers argued their position in respect of the new case, the decision to allow it is altogether unsurprising and cannot be said to constitute a serious irregularity within the meaning of section 68.”)

法院理由:1)买方在结案陈词当中唯一提到的是,卖方不能任意提出未被辩护的主张。即便这样,买方并未申请排除这样的情况。(The Buyers chose to deal with this new case and only in their final written submissions made any suggestion that it was not open to the Sellers to advance it because it had not been pleaded. Even then, there was no application to exclude the case or reliance upon it…)2)买方完全有机会回应卖方的替代性主张,以及买方在对Mr Kovalchuk进行交叉盘问过程的举证材料。但是,买方并没有申请排除关于账户的证据和MrKovalchuk的证言,也没有要求卖方修改其辩护,也向仲裁庭请求出示来自账户经管人员或者会计专家的事实证据。(“At no stage did the Buyers apply to exclude either the evidence of the accounts or the evidence of Mr Kovalchuk on the point (which would have been a nonstarter in the circumstances) nor require an amended pleading from the Sellers, nor seek permission to adduce factual evidence from those who prepared the accounts, nor expert accountancy on IFRS 3.”)3)仲裁庭要解决的实质问题是QLL的数量问题,他们确实也解决了。即使仲裁庭没有一个一个地解决所有被提出来的争论,但是不能认为仲裁庭没有解决实质争议。(“although it may be said that the Tribunal did not specifically determine each and every argument put forward, it cannot, in my judgement, be said that it failed to deal with an issue in the sense of an essential matter which had to be determined in order for the Tribunal properly to reach its conclusion.”)

2、关于保证和赔偿条款(“Warranties and Indemnities”)

买方依据合同当中的保证和赔偿条款向卖方索赔,仲裁庭认定,买方的索赔请求无法成立,理由在于,买方并未对所主张的索赔事项做出过付款。(“there could be no recovery for breach of warranty under the MSPA in circumstances where the Buyers had not made any payment in relation to Claims.”)

法院认定:仲裁庭通篇都没有指出,本合同特殊的支付方式,是否满足了损失定义当中的对实际支付的要求。(“Nowhere, however did the Arbitrators expressly deal with the point that payment under the MSPA of the purchase price might be enough to constitute actual payment for the purpose of the definition of Losses.”)法院进一步认定,仲裁庭的此项行为构成构成《英国仲裁法》第68条的严重不规范,造成了实质的不公平,准予对此问题发回重审。

法院理由:1)仲裁庭按照一般逻辑认为,为了主张索赔则支付应当被做出,但是,没有考虑到本合同下特殊的支付方式是否使得价款支付已经得到满足。(“TheTribunal held that "payment out" was required, having referred to the ordinary measure of damages for breach of warranty but did not consider whether the payment of money under the MSPA itself would suffice.”)2)这是一个争议的关键点,双方对此展开了大量的讨论。(“that was a key point of dispute between the parties upon which much turned.”)

3、关于筒仓(“The Yarmolintsi Silo”)

买卖合同约定的卖价基于合同所列资产的价值,其中包括一项价值$19.5 million的筒仓。卖方在保证和赔偿条款中保证了该项资产的状态并承诺赔偿其状态恢复的费用。买方基于此对筒仓不符合同约定主张索赔。在卖方书面结案陈词之前,双方一致认可,该筒仓的重建费用即为卖方违反该保证义务所应承担的赔偿数额,但是卖方在结案陈词当中,否认前述共识,认为,买方没有证明股票价值的变动就不能主张索赔。仲裁庭最终没有给买方应对这样一个新情况的机会。

法院认定:仲裁庭未能给买方机会去应对卖方在结案陈词中提出的新内容,买方没有机会去应对这样的新情况,也没有机会提出相应证据。法院进一步认定,仲裁庭的此项行为构成构成《英国仲裁法》第68条的严重不规范,造成了实质的不公平,准予对此问题发回重审。(“In the circumstances the Buyers had no opportunity to counter the new argument raised in the Sellers' written closing submissions or to adduce expert evidence on share valuation in the context of the MSPA and the asset valuation of the shares and the Tribunal in accepting this argument without any reference to the Buyers, acted unfairly and deprived them of the opportunity of meeting that case and of putting its own case”)

4、净债务(“The Net Debt”)

买方主张,仲裁庭没有给予当事人处理争议的机会。

法院认定:仲裁庭的裁定结论违背了当事人已达成的共识,并且在未给予买方应对机会的前提下径行做出。(“The Tribunal's conclusionat paragraph 403 was therefore arrived at contrary to the agreed position between the parties and was reached without giving any notice to the parties so that the Buyers had no opportunity of meeting it.”)仲裁庭的此项行为构成构成《英国仲裁法》第68条的严重不规范,造成了实质的不公平,准予对此问题发回重审。

5、弃权(“Waiver”)

卖方主张,买方拿起仲裁裁定以及继续参加仲裁程序的行为构成对相关权利的放弃。

法院认定,不能从相关论点中得出买方构成弃权的结论。理由在于,裁决书没有处理支付要求是否被满足的问题;尽管当事人先前有过对于违反保证造成损失的数额的共识,但仲裁庭却仍接受了卖方后来的争论;仲裁庭就卖方从未提出的净债务问题作出裁决,等等情况,买方都无法预见。(“The Buyers could not know until they collected the Award that the Tribunal had not determined the issue relating to satisfaction of the payment out requirement by payment of the MSPA price. Nor could they know that the Tribunal would adopt the course it did in accepting the Silo argument despite previous common ground between the partiesas to the measure of loss for breach of that warranty. Nor could they foresee that the Tribunal would come to a conclusion never put forward by the Sellers in relation to Net Debt. No waiver can therefore arise on these points.”)

三、评述

本案主要涉及《英国仲裁法》第68条“严重不规范”的适用。根据《英国仲裁法》第68条的目的,该条并不要求原告证明,如果其被给予就特定争议事项向仲裁庭提出抗辩的机会,一定或者极有可能会导致不同的认定结果;而是只要仲裁庭有可能会因此产生不同的观点就已足够。

值得一提的是,在认定买方是否未被给予机会应对卖方针对QLL数量问题的替代性地新的主张时,法院认为,仲裁庭不需要一个一个地解决当事人提出的各种主张或者抗辩,只要其解决了这些主张或者抗辩背后的实质性争议,便不构成《英国仲裁法》第68条“严重不规范”,不会造成实质的不公平,进而买方不能依据此要求仲裁庭重审。

(责任编辑:买园园)
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