在国际商事仲裁实践中,围绕仲裁庭的管辖权问题,仲裁条款的效力往往成为“兵家必争之地”。针对该问题,目前国际上普遍承认“仲裁庭自裁管辖权原则(the principle of Kompetenz-Kompetenz)”。该原则限制了法院对仲裁程序的介入权,即明确由仲裁庭自身作为判定其对于争议是否有管辖权(包括认定仲裁条款的效力)的第一发言人,而不需要事先的司法认定。

然而,在不少法域下,相关国内法仍旧赋予当事人在仲裁程序开始之初向法院申请以认定涉案仲裁条款的效力。由此就引发出一个实际问题——此时法院针对仲裁条款的审查权限有多大(为方便表述,以下将该种法院在案件初期对涉案仲裁条款的审查简称为“针对仲裁条款的初期司法审查”)?法院是否有权围绕仲裁条款的效力问题进行实质性(Full Review)审查(比如全面审查相关合同就仲裁条款的签订过程中是否存在欺诈、签订主体的适格性、约定事项可仲裁性等角度对仲裁条款进行全面审查),还是仅有权就仲裁条款的效力进行形式性(Prima Facie)审查(即,仅基于仲裁条款的文字表述审查其是否具备基本要件)?

本文试图以立法例和司法实践为切入点,参考一些主要法域下针对仲裁条款的初期司法审查所采标准,以求一窥针对仲裁条款的初期司法审查的国际实践。

  • 《联合国国际贸易法委员会国际商事仲裁示范法》

在国际层面,对各国国内仲裁法影响较大的法律文件为《联合国国际贸易法委员会国际商事仲裁示范法》(下称《示范法》)。《示范法》第8条第1款做了如下规定“就仲裁条款的标的向法院提起诉讼时,一方当事人在不迟于其就争议实体提出第一次申述时要求仲裁的,法院应让当事人诉诸仲裁,除非法院认定仲裁条款无效、不能实行或不能履行。(A court before which an action is brought in a matter which is the subject of an arbitration agreement shall, if a party so requests not later than when submitting his first statement on the substance of the dispute, refer the parties to arbitration unless it finds that the agreement is null and void, inoperative or incapable of being performed)”。

可见,该条款认可法院具备针对仲裁条款的初期司法审查权,但基于该条款措辞,无法判断《示范法》关于该种审查权之审查标准所采立场。然而,《示范法》第16条进一步承认了仲裁庭有权自行审查其管辖权,且当仲裁庭作出关于合同无效的决定时,在法律上不导致仲裁条款无效(the arbitral tribunal may rule on its own jurisdiction, including any objections with respect to the existence or validity of the arbitration agreement... A decision by the arbitral tribunal that the contract is null and void shall not entail ipso jure the invalidity of the arbitration clause)。

贸易法委员会秘书处在对《示范法》的解释说明中明确第16条第1款承认了“仲裁庭自裁管辖权原则”。考虑到《示范法》已被较多国家及地区直接采纳,或作为自身国内法的重要立法参考,故笔者尝试从已采纳《示范法》的法域之司法实践出发,进一步探求该类法域下针对仲裁条款的初期司法审查所采纳的审查标准。

  • 新加坡

作为亚洲区域仲裁中心乃至全球仲裁高地,新加坡无疑是极具代表性的仲裁实践,其已于1994年采纳《示范法》。

新加坡高等法院于2015年在Malini Ventura v Knight Capital Pte Ltd and others([2015] SGHC 225)一案中,确认“仲裁庭自裁管辖”不仅包括有权决定仲裁条款效力问题,也包括仲裁条款是否存在的问题。”

在该案的判决中,主审法官认为在《示范法》的框架下法院针对仲裁庭是否有管辖权的司法审查权应位列仲裁庭自我审查权之后,且仲裁庭就管辖权问题拥有宽泛的权力,包含对仲裁条款效力及仲裁条款是否存在的审查(I therefore accept that under the regime established by the Model Law, generally the court’s consideration of whether an arbitration tribunal has jurisdiction or not must come after the tribunal’s own examination of the issue. I also accept that the tribunal’s powers in relation to the issue are wide because it can consider not only validity but also the very existence of the arbitration agreement)。[1]

主审法官进一步指出,只要仲裁条款在形式上存在,则任何关于管辖权的问题将首先由仲裁庭决定(I consider that it would satisfy the rights of both parties if the party applying for the stay was able to show on a prima facie basis that the arbitration agreement existed. The matter would then go to the tribunal to decide whether such existence could be established on the usual civil standard…)。[2]

此外,新加坡高等法院和上诉法院在2013年的The “Titan Unity” ([2013] SGHCR 28)案和2015年的Tomolugen Holdings Ltd and another v Silica Investors Ltd and other appeals([2015] SGCA 57)案中亦明确表示就仲裁条款存在与否的问题,新加坡法院审查标准应为形式性审查。

  • 中国香港

与新加坡一同被誉为亚洲地区国际仲裁双子星的香港于2010年采纳了《示范法》,在这一问题上采取了一致的做法。在Pacific Crown Engineering Ltd v Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co Ltd([2003] 3 HKC 659)一案中,法院认为只要仲裁条款达到形式性审查的标准,当事方则受其约束(The proper test is therefore is there a prima facie or plainly arguable case that the parties were bound by an arbitration clause)。在Private Company “Triple V” Inc v Star (Universal) Co Ltd & Another([1995] 2 HKLR 62)一案(Triple V)中,法院认为在判断是否存在有效仲裁条款时,应采纳形式性标准(If the judge were to go into the matter more deeply, he would in effect be usurping the function of the arbitrator. Whilst, clearly, the judge had to make a judgment as to whether there existed an underlying agreement to arbitrate, he could do no more than to form a prima facie vie[3]

香港上诉法院后在PCCW Global Ltd v Interactive Communications Service Ltd([2007] 1 HKLRD 309)一案中也援引并支持了Triple V案中的立场,认为法院不侵犯仲裁庭的职责是非常重要的((It is important for the court not to usurp the function of the arbitrators, and unless the point is clear, the matter should be stayed for arbitration. … In Hong Kong, we do not believe the court should attempt to resolve that issue, even though under art. 16(3) of the Model Law, the court has the power to decide the question of jurisdiction after determination of the question by the arbitral tribunal as a preliminary question)。[4]

  • 加拿大

加拿大早在1986也已采纳《示范法》。在Dell Computer Corp. v. Union des consommateurs([2007] 2 S.C.R. 801)一案中,加拿大最高法院同样采纳了形式性的审查标准,并指出该原则在国际上的认可度不断上升(the prima facie analysis test that is increasingly gaining acceptance around the world)。[5]

该案下,加拿大最高院的主审法官认为原则上,针对仲裁庭是否有管辖权的问题应交由仲裁庭自行决断(a general rule that in any case involving an arbitration clause, a challenge to the arbitrator’s jurisdiction must be resolved first by the arbitrator)。[6]其将针对仲裁条款的初期司法审查分为三中情况:有关仲裁条款的效力仅涉及法律问题;有关仲裁条款的效力同时涉及法律及事实问题,但事实部分较为明显、简单,且仅基于书面材料即可判定;有关仲裁条款的效力涉及法律及事实问题。

加拿大最高院认为就第一种情况而言,由于仅涉及法律问题,而法院较之仲裁庭具有更高的法律专业度,故而更合适交由法院审查。第二种情况下,由于事实简单清楚,因此也可交由法院审查。而在第三种情况下,由于需要针对事实进行审理,则应交由仲裁庭自行决断。[7]

值得一提的是,加拿大最高院同时强调,当偏离仲裁庭自裁管辖权原则而将仲裁条款的审查交由法院之前,有一个前提条件必须满足,即法院应确认针对仲裁庭管辖权的异议并非是当事人的拖延策略,如果法院认为该类异议仅是当事人的拖延策略,则即便属于前述第一、第二种情况,法院仍应将案件移交仲裁庭自行决断(Before departing from the general rule of referral, the court must be satisfied that the challenge to the arbitrator’s jurisdiction is not a delaying tactic and that it will not unduly impair the conduct of the arbitration proceeding.  This means that even when considering one of the exceptions, the court might decide that to allow the arbitrator to rule first on his or her competence would be best for the arbitration process)。[8]

  • 印度

印度也在1996年采纳的《示范法》。印度最高法院在2005年的Shin-Etsu Chemical Co. Ltd v M/S Aksh Optifibre Ltd. & Anr (Appeal (civil) 5048 of 2005)一案中将仲裁条款效力审查标准与仲裁庭自裁管辖规则联系起来,认为法院针对仲裁条款的初期司法审查应限于形式性审查标准(… it would be preferable to hold that Section 45 requires only a prima facie view of the matter as to the absence of the vitiating factors contemplated therein[9]The application under Section 45 would have to be determined by the trial court after arriving at the prima facie satisfaction that there exists an arbitral agreement, which is "not null and void, inoperative or incapable of being performed". If the trial court finds thus, the parties shall be referred to arbitration[10])。

  • 澳大利亚

澳大利亚于2010年采纳了《示范法》,其多个州及地区也分别采纳了《示范法》。在联邦层面,澳大利亚联邦法院在Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd v Rinehart ([2017] FCAFC 170)一案中明确了针对仲裁条款的初期司法审查,法院应遵循形式性审查的标准。

在该案的初审阶段(初审案件名为Rinehart v Rinehart (No 3)([2016] FCA 539)),法官认为存在表面上有效的仲裁条款,且一些案涉争议问题确实落入了仲裁条款的范围内,但法官同时认为关于条款有效性的质疑,并不落在仲裁条款的范围内。换言之,针对仲裁条款的初期司法审查,初审法院采取了双重标准,即就仲裁条款是否存在采用形式性审标准,对仲裁条款的范围则采实质性审查标准。

对于初审法院的这一观点,上诉法院并未予以支持,反而明确针对仲裁条款的初期司法审查应采用形式性标准,并认为该标准符合澳大利亚的商事仲裁法及《示范法》(…aspects of the prima facie approach have much to commend them as an approach that gives support to the jurisdiction of the arbitrator and his or her competence, as recognized by the common law and by s 16 of the CA Act… Broadly, the approach is consonant with the structure of the CA Act and the Model Law)。[11]澳大利亚联邦上诉法院同时强调针对仲裁条款的初期司法审查,形式性标准是被《示范法》法域的法院所广泛采纳的(…approach taken largely by courts in what might be called “Model Law jurisdictions” is to give significant weight to the authority of the arbitrator and to the principle of Kompetenz-Kompetenz ... Under this approach, the Court does not reach a final view on the balance of probabilities …, including the scope of the arbitration agreement. If there appears to be a valid arbitration agreement which prima face covers the matters in dispute, the matter should be referred to the arbitrator to deal with questions of jurisdiction, including the scope of the arbitration agreement)。[12]

  • 评论

基于上述案例可知,目前在已采纳《示范法》的法域,针对仲裁条款的初期司法审查,越来越多的国家及地区均采纳形式性标准,且该种主流趋势已经被不少法域的地方法院甚至最高法院以判决书的形式加以明确承认。

在国际营商环境下,交易双方往往来自不同国际及地区,为避免一方当事人母国法院对其进行的地方保护,当事人之间往往更愿意采用较少司法干预的仲裁程序以解决纠纷。较之法院诉讼,仲裁独立于当地司法体系并更加注重当事人意思自治的特点以成为其被国际商事主体青睐的主要原因之一。而针对仲裁条款的初期司法审查以采纳形式性标准是对仲裁庭自裁管辖权原则的肯定,就法院介入仲裁程序的权力进行了一定的限制,进一步平衡了仲裁自治原则和国家司法主权之间的关系。

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