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德国联邦最高法院对“Achmea案”再作决定
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来源:临时仲裁ADA发布时间:2019-05-14 15:43:36

2019年1月24日,在Achmea BV v. Slowakische Republik (Slovak Republic)一案中,德国联邦最高法院对“Achmea案”再作决定。2018年10月31日,根据欧盟法院对该案作出的预先裁决(preliminary ruling),德国联邦最高法院最终做出裁决,决定撤销投资仲裁庭作出的仲裁裁决。对此,荷兰公司Achmea BV以其相关权利受到侵害为由提出申诉,德国联邦最高法院全部予以驳回。

一、德国联邦最高法院的相关认定

本案是“Achmea案”的后续申诉程序。所谓申诉程序,是指在德国法院体系中,当一方当事人不能再对法院判决提出进一步上诉,但其宪法权利因该判决将受到侵害时,则其可向德国联邦宪法法院提出申诉(compliant)。在本案中,因德国联邦最高院的撤销判决受不利影响的荷兰公司Achmea BV(以下简称“Achmea”)再次提出以下三项异议,主张德国联邦最高院未能充分处理其提交的材料,其撤销判决构成:(1)对有效法律保护的拒绝和合法预期的侵害;(2)对荷兰国家豁免原则的违反;(3)对国际习惯法的违背(“that the BGH had failed to adequately address its submissions on: a)the denial of effective legal protection and the protection of legitimate expectations, b)the state immunity of the Netherlands, and c) customary international law.”)。对此,德国联邦最高法院一一作出回应:

1.关于有效法律保护和合法预期

Achmea提出,德国联邦最高院未能考虑其意见,即欧盟法院的预先裁决剥夺了其有效的法律保护,为保护期合法预期,其应当为已作出裁决的仲裁程序提出过渡性规定(“that the BGH had not taken into account its submission that the ECJ's decision denied it effective legal protection and that the protection of legitimate expectations required providing transitional provisions for arbitral proceedings in which an award has already been rendered.”)。对此,最高院却指出,其于2018年10月作出的裁决已指出,根据欧盟法院的预先裁决,Achmea可以再斯洛伐克的国内法院获得有效法律保护,因此不会被剥夺其提出实质性主张的权利(“The BGH, however, pointed to its previous ruling in October 2018 that – in line with the ECJ ruling – Achmea could obtain effective legal protection before the Slovak courts and was thereby not deprived of its substantive claims.”)。关于Achmea提出的关于斯洛伐克国内法院结构存在缺陷的异议,德国联邦最高院仍认为,其不会使最高院偏离欧盟法院的决定。

2.关于荷兰的国家主权豁免问题

关于Achmea根据国际法提出的国家豁免原则,其指出,一国法院不得审查另一国的主权行为,故德国联邦最高法院的撤销判决违背了国家主权豁免原则(“that the BGH had not sufficiently addressed its submission on the principle of state immunity under international law, according to which the courts of one state may not review the sovereign acts of another state, was equally unsuccessful.”)。对此,德国联邦最高院却指出,撤销程序的主体并非斯洛伐克共和国与荷兰之间缔结的双边投资协定的有效性,其仅针对的是仲裁裁决本身,据此,双边投资协定仲裁条款的有效性属于国家豁免原则未涵盖的一个初步问题(“that the subject of the set-aside proceedings was not the validity of the bilateral investment treaty (BIT) concluded between the Slovak Republic and the Netherlands, but the invalidity of the arbitral award. In this context, the validity of the BIT's arbitration clause was only a preliminary question not covered by the principleof state immunity.”)。

3.关于国际习惯法的问题

Achmea主张,由于德国联邦最高院在其撤销判决中提出,欧盟法院的预先裁决等同于国际法的一般规则,根据德国宪法,作为联邦法律的组成部分,这一裁决可提交至德国联邦宪法法院审理。并主张,基于其领土有限的效力,欧盟法院的决定缺乏国际习惯法的普遍质量(“In its decision of 31October 2018, the BGH had already addressed Achmea's argument that the ECJ ruling amounted to a general rule of international law, which – as a component of federal law pursuant to the German Constitution – could be the subject of are ferral to the German Federal Constitutional Court. It held that, due to its territorially limited effect, a decision of the ECJ lacks the universal quality of customary international law.”),故其认为德国法院基于欧盟预先裁决的判决违反了国际习惯法的规定。

对此,德国联邦最高法院却认为,成员国加入欧盟后,当相关法律与欧盟法律相冲突的情况下,其视为已互相放弃国际法规定的权利。故成员国之间不可能存在违反欧盟法律的国际习惯法(“by acceding to the EU, member states waived their rights under international law among each other when such rights are in conflict with EU law. Accordingly, there can be no customary international law between the member states that contradicts EU law.”)。换句话说,对于欧盟成员国来说,相较于国际习惯法,欧盟法律的效力更应当优先考虑。所以,针对Achmea提出的最高院的撤销判决违反了国际习惯法主张,德国联邦最高院同样予以驳回。

根据德国联邦最高法院这一裁决可知,法院坚持其在“Achmea案”中作出的决定,而Achmea向德国联邦宪法法院提出的违宪申诉,目前正在审理中。

二、“Achmea案”案情回顾

1.案情简介

2006年,斯洛伐克颁布了一项法律,禁止在该国经营的私营医疗保险公司向其股东分配利润,以此限制私营医疗保险公司在该国开展经营活动。2008年10月,荷兰公司Achmea主张斯洛伐克违反了其与荷兰两国签订的双边投资保护协定,向UNCITRAL提起了投资仲裁,仲裁地为德国法兰克福(Frankfurt am Main)。在仲裁过程中,斯洛伐克就仲裁庭管辖权提出异议,认为由于该国已加入欧盟,因此双边投资协定中的仲裁条款违反欧盟法律。

2010年10月26日,仲裁庭作出关于管辖权的中间裁决,认定其具有审理双方争议的管辖权。斯洛伐克在德国法院提起撤销仲裁裁决之诉,但一审二审均败诉。

2012年,仲裁庭作出裁决认定斯洛伐克违反了双边投资协定,应向Achmea公司就其损失进行赔偿。对此,斯洛伐克再次向法兰克福地区高级法院(Higher Regional Court, Frankfurt am Main)提起撤销仲裁裁决之诉,被驳回后上诉至德国联邦最高法院。联邦最高法院认为该案涉及欧盟法的解释问题,故提交至欧盟法院以确定相关仲裁条款是否违反欧盟法律。

2.欧盟法院(ECJ)针对“Achmea案”作出的预先裁决

2018年3月6日,根据德国最高院的请求,欧盟法院针对Slowakische Republik (Slovak Republic) v. Achmea BV一案作出预先裁决。CJEU认为,《欧盟运行条约》(Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,以下简称“TFEU”)的第267条和第344条应当解释为,若一项国际协定规定,一成员国的投资者在其对第二个成员国的投资发生争议时,可对该成员国提起仲裁程序,该成员国必须接受该仲裁庭的管辖权,那么该类规定应当被排除(“The CJEU answered the questions of the German court by concluding that articles 267 and 344 TFEU shall be interpreted to preclude such provisions in an international agreement between Member States under which an investor in one Member State, when a dispute arises regarding its investment in a second Member State, may initiate arbitral proceedings against the second Member State, where the tribunal’s jurisdiction must be accepted by that Member State (Achmea ruling, item 60).”)。

“Achmea案”中投资协定的仲裁条款在缔约国之间建立了解决投资者-东道国争议解决机制,即使相关争议可能涉及欧盟法的解释或适用,但是该机制并不能确保欧盟法的充分效力(“The CJEU held that the Member States that were parties to article 8 in the treaty, by entering into that treaty had established a mechanism for resolving disputes between an investor and a Member State which could mean that those disputes were resolved in a manner that failed to ensure the full effectiveness of EU law, even when these disputes could involve interpretation or application of EU law (Achmea ruling, item 56).”)。故CJEU得出结论,TFEU的第267条和第344条应当解释为排除此类争议解决条款(“The CJEU answered the questions of the German court by concluding that articles 267 and 344 TFEU shall be interpreted to preclude such provisions in an international agreement between Member States under which an investor in one Member State, when a dispute arises regarding its investment in a second Member State, may in itiatearbitral proceedings against the second Member State, where the tribunal’s jurisdiction must be accepted by that Member State (Achmea ruling, item 60).”)。

3.德国联邦最高法院的判决

根据CJEU在其预先裁决中提出的观点,即“Achmea案”中的投资仲裁条款与欧盟法律相违背,故根据斯洛伐克的请求,决定撤销投资仲裁庭作出的仲裁裁决。

三、评析

作为欧盟投资仲裁的关键性案件,“Achmea案”的案件发展一直颇受外界关注,由该案引发的仲裁仲裁争议解决机制的重大危机也逐渐浮出水面。一方面,仲裁庭对援引“Achmea案”提出的众多案件的管辖权异议作出了不同的处理:在Masdar Solar v. Spain(ICSID案号:ARB/14/1)一案中,仲裁庭驳回了西班牙要求沿袭Achmea一案的做法进行重启仲裁的请求;在Gavrilovic v. Republicof Croatia一案中(ICSID案号:ARB/12/39),ICSID仲裁庭在认定中援引了“Achmea案”,根据双方签订的双边投资协定,认定由于克罗地亚较晚介入并被限制就问题进行正式审查,故驳回了克罗地亚关于欧盟成员国之间仲裁的反对意见;瓦滕福仲裁庭则明确指出,欧盟法不具有优先性。另一方面,欧盟各国国内法院也对“Achmea案”作出回应,其中最具有代表性的是瑞典上诉法院在Republic of Poland v. PL Holdings S.á.r.l.,SCC Case No. V 2014/163一案中对“Achmea案”的援引,详情可见本公众号推送的文章《瑞典上诉法院对“Achmea案”的适用问题再作解释》。本案中,德国联邦最高法院通过对Achmea公司提出申诉请求的回应,进一步坚定了其维护欧盟法院在“Achmea案”一案中表明的欧盟法具有优先性的观点,其后续还会如何发展,值得我们保持密切关注。

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