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刘晓春:《纽约公约》与中国仲裁国际化 ——《纽约公约》六十周年与“一带一路”研讨会实录稿(三)

2018-08-02 09:51:44     来源:     
 

编者按:2018年5月15日,联合国国际贸易法委员会(UNCITRAL)与深圳国际仲裁院(深圳仲裁委员会)联合主办的第八届中国华南企业法律论坛“《纽约公约》六十周年与‘一带一路’”研讨会在深圳举行。本微信公众号将分期推出该研讨会的中英文实录稿。本期推出的实录稿内容为深圳国际仲裁院院长刘晓春在研讨会上发表的主题演讲。

 

 

 

深圳国际仲裁院院长刘晓春在《纽约公约》

六十周年与“一带一路”研讨会上的

主题演讲


 

尊敬的安娜•乔宾•布莱特(Anna Joubin-Bret)秘书长、梁爱诗女士、袁国强先生、各位来宾、各位朋友们:

大家上午好!首先我想代表本次研讨会的主办方深圳国际仲裁院(SCIA)和联合国贸法会,向最高人民法院、商务部和深圳市政府的特别支持表示衷心的感谢,向出席本次会议的嘉宾表示热烈的欢迎。

正如前面几位嘉宾所讲,今天研讨会的主题与中国深圳以及SCIA有特殊的渊源。大家齐聚深圳,在我的演讲之前,让我们一起再次简要回顾《纽约公约》与特区国际仲裁在中国改革开放背景下走过的历史。

60年前的1958年,在纽约召开的联合国会议上,《承认及执行外国仲裁裁决公约》(《纽约公约》)诞生,迄今为止已有159个缔约国,涵盖了世界上主要的贸易国,已经成为最成功的国际公约之一。

40年前的1978年,中国开启了改革开放的大幕。

38年前的1980年,中国第一个经济特区在深圳成立。

36年前的1982年,中国深圳经济特区开始借鉴国际惯例,筹建特区国际仲裁机构,以适应改革开放的需要、特区建设的需要和粤港澳合作的需要。

35年前的1983年4月19日,深圳国际仲裁院(即华南国际经济贸易仲裁委员会,英文简称SCIA)成立,成为粤港澳大湾区第一个仲裁机构(曾名“中国国际经济贸易仲裁委员会深圳分会”、“中国国际经济贸易仲裁委员会华南分会”等)。

32年前的1986年12月2日,全国人大常委会作出中国加入《纽约公约》的决定。次年4月,《纽约公约》对中国正式生效。

30年前的1988年7月,SCIA作出的一个里程碑式的裁决,在1989年6月获得香港高等法院的执行,开创中国仲裁裁决按照《纽约公约》在境外获得执行的先例,中国的仲裁裁决从此走出国门。

21年前的1997年7月,香港回归中国,实行“一国两制”,仲裁裁决在中国内地和香港的执行和《纽约公约》的适用面临新问题,但这个问题在两年后获得圆满解决。

19年前的1999年6月,香港特别行政区政府律政司首任司长梁爱诗女士(也是我们SCIA的理事)与时任最高人民法院副院长沈德咏先生分别代表香港特别行政区政府和最高人民法院在深圳签署了《关于内地与香港特别行政区相互执行仲裁裁决的安排》(《两地安排》)。这一安排承继了《纽约公约》的精神,符合“一国两制”的实际需要,为保持香港繁荣稳定和改革开放的顺利推进发挥了积极作用。可以说《安排》是《纽约公约》在中国创新实践的成果,为《纽约公约》在类似国家和地区的普遍适用积累了经验。

基于以上情况,联合国贸法会把全球首场《纽约公约》六十周年纪念活动,放在深圳,与SCIA合办,充分体现了中国深圳与《纽约公约》之间特别的缘分。尤其是在“一带一路”国际合作深入推进的背景下,我们更应该主动发出国际规则的中国声音。深圳作为中国改革开放的先锋城市和海上丝绸之路桥头堡,有义务也有能力在国际经贸关系新规则和新秩序的发展中承担更多的责任。我相信,当《纽约公约》遇上“一带一路”,一定会有不一样的精彩。

我今天的主题演讲主要分为三个部分:《纽约公约》与特区国际仲裁的联系;中国仲裁裁决境外执行情况;《纽约公约》与中国国际仲裁在未来的互动。


 

第一部分《纽约公约》与特区国际仲裁的联系

——从中国首个境外执行案例出发

 

 

首先我想与大家分享中国国际仲裁历史上里程碑式的案件:广东粤海进出口公司诉香港捷达实业公司案。本案双方当事人于1986年11月1日签订仲裁协议;深圳国际仲裁院于1987年受理此案;1988年2月29日,该案在深圳开庭审理;1988年7月12日仲裁庭作出仲裁裁决。随后原告(即仲裁案件中的申请人)向香港高等法院申请执行,被告(即仲裁案件中的被申请人)向香港高等法院提出两点反对执行的理由。本案主审法官Nazareth判决被申请人方两点理由均不能成立,认定由SCIA作出的仲裁裁决属于当时香港《仲裁条例》规定的“(纽约)公约裁决”,因此应该得到执行。这个案件开创了两个先例:不仅是中国仲裁裁决按照《纽约公约》在境外获得执行的第一案,也是当时香港法院按照《纽约公约》执行境外仲裁裁决的第一案。

本案被告提出的两点反对执行的理由虽然不能成立,但是却反映了仲裁裁决承认和执行中的典型问题。以第一点反对执行的理由为例,被告主张:由于仲裁裁决并非由仲裁协议约定的仲裁员作出,根据香港《仲裁条例》第44节第(2)项第(e)段的规定“仲裁庭的组成若不符合约定,则该等裁决不得予以执行”,所以本案的仲裁裁决不应当得到执行。其实这里涉及是约定的仲裁机构名称变更的问题。

本案双方当事人签订的仲裁协议之中约定的是深圳国际仲裁机构的前称,仲裁机构在受理案件之后以变更后的新名称作出了仲裁裁决。这实际上还是由同一仲裁机构作出的裁决,变更的只是机构名称。本案主审法官对此认定:尽管仲裁机构的名称发生变更,但是作出仲裁裁决的仍然是当事人双方约定的仲裁机构,因此被告的第一项反对理由不能成立。在这里顺便指出,回归后的香港司法机构对于仲裁机构的名称变更问题也采取了与本案法官一致的立场,即认为仲裁机构的名称变更不涉及机构的变化,变更名称的仲裁机构还是同一个机构,这在历年香港司法机构提供的承认与执行境外仲裁裁决的统计数据中都有体现。

本案被告反对执行的第二点反对理由是:香港《仲裁条例》第2节对“(纽约)公约裁决”的定义是“在除香港外的缔约国或领土依据仲裁协议作出的裁决”,这里的“缔约国或领土”修饰的是“仲裁协议”而不是“裁决”。也就是说,被告认为,不论裁决作出时裁决所属国是否是《纽约公约》缔约国,仲裁协议签订时,裁决所属国必须是《纽约公约》的缔约国,否则该裁决便不是《仲裁条例》第2节规定“(纽约)公约裁决。”本案的事实是:双方当事人于1986年11月1日签订仲裁协议,《纽约公约》于1987年4月对中国生效,仲裁庭于1988年7月12日作出仲裁裁决。被告指出,在仲裁协议签订之时,中国尚未成为《纽约公约》的缔约国,即使仲裁庭作出裁决时《纽约公约》已对中国生效,这一裁决也不是《仲裁条例》第2节规定“(纽约)公约裁决”;如果作相反解释,《仲裁条例》则会产生溯及既往的效力,涵盖原本不属于“(纽约)公约裁决”定义的裁决。因此,被告认为,法院不应执行本案的仲裁裁决。

主审法官Nazareth从三个方面驳斥了被告的意见。第一,法官认为香港《仲裁条例》第2节“(纽约)公约裁决”的定义中,“缔约国或领土”指向的恰是“裁决”而不是“仲裁协议”。《仲裁条例》关于执行“(纽约)公约裁决”的章节属于程序性事项,并且仅对中国成为《纽约公约》成员国后仲裁裁决的执行程序产生影响。认定“缔约国或领土”指向的是“裁决”,并不会导致《仲裁条例》产生溯及既往的效力,将原本不属于“(纽约)公约裁决”定义的裁决纳入进来。第二,与被告主张的解释方法相比,法院的解释方法更符合整个《仲裁条例》的目的,而且就《纽约公约》而言,实质性关注的是裁决,而非仲裁协议(It is the award that is material, rather than the agreement)。第三,即使法院的解释方法会使得《仲裁条例》产生溯及既往的效力(但法院已经一再强调并非如此),这一解释方法也是符合《仲裁条例》字面意义及其必然含义的。

以上就是中国国际仲裁历史上里程碑式案件的详细情况。我们可以看到早在29年前的1989年,香港高等法院就已经对仲裁机构的更名问题以及仲裁裁决的所属地问题作出了明确的分析和认定,这对稳定市场预期、理解《纽约公约》的精神和含义、促进裁决的跨境承认与执行,都具有重要作用。Nazareth法官的条分缕析至今仍然值得我们深入研究。

 

 

第二部分  中国仲裁裁决境外执行情况

——以SCIA裁决在香港执行为视角

 

 

在这一里程碑式的案件之后,内地与香港仲裁裁决的相互承认和执行主要依据《纽约公约》进行,执行情况良好。据统计,香港回归前,中国内地150多件裁决大多都在香港高等法院得到执行,仅有2件由于某种程序上的原因被拒绝执行;内地法院在香港回归前,根据《纽约公约》受理执行香港仲裁裁决的申请26件,约执行了其中的50%。

1997年7月1日香港回归后,两地间仲裁裁决的承认与执行己经变为一个主权国家内不同法律区域间的安排,不再适用《纽约公约》。在1998年Ng Fung Hong Limited(五丰行有限公司)诉ABC案中,内地仲裁裁决不再被香港法院视为公约裁决,但也不能被认定属于香港“本地”裁决,以致引发裁决定性和法律适用的不明确。与此同时,内地法院也陆续收到当事人执行香港仲裁裁决的申请,但为慎重起见,内地法院未对香港仲裁裁决执行与否作出判决。此后一段时间内,内地与香港特区相互执行对方仲裁裁决几乎处于真空状态。因此,如何适应实际需要,尽快在两地建立起方便、快捷的执行仲裁裁决新机制,在当时就显得十分迫切和重要。在两地仲裁实务界、理论界的共同期盼下,1999年6月,《两地安排》在深圳签署,两地仲裁司法协助重归正轨,并迈入新的历史阶段。

《两地安排》是根据《纽约公约》的精神而制定的,保持了连续性和稳定性。从具体内容上看,《两地安排》也基本上保持了《纽约公约》的原貌,特别是体现在以下四个方面。

第一,关于相互执行仲裁裁决的范围问题。根据《纽约公约》第1条的规定,承认和执行的范围应当是“所在国以外国家领土内作出的仲裁裁决”,而非根据仲裁机构作出的裁决。对于香港而言,即只要是内地作出的仲裁裁决,不论是国内仲裁机构还是涉外仲裁机构,只要符合执行条件的,都应予以执行。体现在《两地安排》中,即“香港特区法院同意执行内地仲裁机构(名单由国务院法制办公室经国务院港澳事务办公室提供)依据《中华人民共和国仲裁法》所作出的裁决,内地人民法院同意执行在香港特区按香港特区《仲裁条例》所作出的裁决”。

第二,商事保留问题。由于《两地安排》基本上体现了《纽约公约》的主要内容,因此在内地执行香港特区仲裁裁决时,对于中国在加入《纽约公约》时所作的商事保留还是应当继续适用的,即执行仲裁裁决的范围是对按照内地法律属于契约性和非契约性商事法律关系而引起的争议所作出的仲裁裁决。

第三,执行仲裁裁决的申请问题。内地与香港特区作出的仲裁裁决需要到对方区域执行的,只要当事人的申请符合《两地安排》第3条、第4条的要求,有关法院就应当受理。根据《两地安排》第3条的规定,申请人提出执行申请时,应当提供下列材料:一是执行申请书。向内地法院申请执行的,执行申请书必须以中文文本提出;向香港法院提出申请的,执行申请书中、英文均可。二是仲裁裁决书。三是仲裁协议书,基本上与《纽约公约》第4条规定一致。

第四,关于拒绝执行仲裁裁决的问题。《两地安排》第7条规定了拒绝执行的几种情形基本上属于程序性的问题,第(1)项是仲裁协议无效、仲裁协议当事人无行为能力;第(2)项、第(4)项是仲裁严重违反规定,限制或者剥夺了当事人依据仲裁规则所应当享有的权利;第(3)项是仲裁裁决的内容超出了当事人的授权范围;第(5)项是裁决未生效、被撤销或者停止执行。这些规定与《纽约公约》第5条的规定完全一致。由此可见,《两地安排》对于仲裁裁决在认定事实和适用法律方面是否有错误是不予审查的,其对仲裁裁决的审查只是程序审查。此外,《两地安排》虽然规定了公共秩序条款,但香港回归后,两地关系发生了根本性的变化,一国之内相互提供协助应当比国与国之间更全面、有效,因此公共秩序条款的适用也会受到严格限制。总之,《两地安排》没有引入比《纽约公约》第5条规定更多的审查要求,对执行内地或者香港特区仲裁裁决采取的是一种较为宽松和务实的态度,这更有利于切实维护两地当事人的合法权益,保持香港繁荣稳定,促进两地经济发展。 

在此后近二十年中,两地主要依照《两地安排》互予执行仲裁裁决,其中,SCIA的相关数据较为瞩目。

根据香港司法机构公布的数据,2011年至2015年,SCIA裁决在香港执行的情况如下:


 

上表显示,2012年至2015年间,SCIA被执行的裁决数量占被执行的内地裁决总数的31.4%,居内地各仲裁机构之首。根据最新公布的2017年数据,SCIA在香港被执行的裁决数量占被执行的内地裁决总数的41.2%,占被执行的全球所有仲裁机构裁决总数的31.8%,位居全球所有仲裁机构之首。事实上,自香港回归以来,没有一宗SCIA裁决被香港法院依《两地安排》裁定不予执行。

 


第三部分  《纽约公约》与中国国际仲裁

在未来的互动

——从SCIA的规则创新再出发

 

 

35年来,SCIA为中外经贸纠纷的解决积累了丰富的经验,截至目前,仲裁和调解当事人来源国已经达到了116个。在中国推动形成全面开放新格局的背景下,在改善投资和市场环境,营造稳定公平透明、可预期的营商环境方面,深圳经济特区被赋予了更高的期望与要求。2016年,《深圳国际仲裁院关于适用〈联合国国际贸易法委员会仲裁规则〉的程序指引》(《UNCITRAL Rules指引》)应运而生。

《UNCITRAL Rules指引》的亮点之一就是其第三条的规定:“当事人对仲裁地有约定的,从其约定。当事人没有约定的,仲裁地为香港,除非仲裁庭另有决定。”这种设计,既高度尊重当事人意思自治原则,也鼓励当事人选择以香港为仲裁地,契合了在“一带一路”国际合作背景下的市场需求。众所周知,中国已经成为全球第一贸易大国,中国企业不断走出去,对外投资势头强劲,同时,外商在华投资也在逐步增长。相应地,国际商事争议和投资争端也可能大幅增长。立足于作为粤港澳大湾区的引擎城市和海上丝绸之路桥头堡的深圳,SCIA在中国率先制定《UNCITRAL Rules指引》,与国际通行的规则接轨,可以预见,将可能有更多的国际商事纠纷选择在中国深圳经济特区仲裁,而以香港或外国为仲裁地。因此,可以期待,《纽约公约》与中国国际仲裁未来的互动具有广阔的前景。

在特区仲裁国际化的创新探索中,我们也面临着一些前瞻性的、尚未明晰的重大问题。这些新问题以仲裁地为因素,突出表现在以下六个方面:

第一,选择SCIA仲裁,仲裁地为香港,当事人是否可以向中国内地或香港的法院申请保全?

这里涉及到仲裁程序的管辖法律。如果认为应由中国内地法律管辖,根据香港《仲裁条例》第45条规定,香港法院会予以准许;在中国内地根据《仲裁法》、《民事诉讼法》申请仲裁前/中保全也不存在障碍。

如果认为应由香港法律管辖,根据香港《仲裁条例》第45条规定,香港法院当然也会予以准许。但是在内地,境外当事人无法依据《仲裁法》、《民事诉讼法》申请保全。

因此SCIA建议,为了促进粤港澳大湾区建设,内地立法和司法可以采取更积极、更宽松的态度,保障两地仲裁申请保全的渠道畅通。

第二,选择SCIA仲裁,仲裁地为香港,当事人是否可以向中国内地或香港的法院申请执行裁决?

这里涉及到裁决的籍属。如果认为裁决是香港裁决,在香港则按照香港《仲裁条例》申请执行;在内地,则依据《两地安排》申请执行。

如果认为是内地裁决,在香港,则依据《两地安排》申请执行;在内地,则依据《民事诉讼法》申请执行。

第三,选择SCIA仲裁,仲裁地为香港,当事人是否可以向中国内地或香港的法院申请撤销裁决?

这里也涉及到裁决的籍属。如果认为是香港裁决,则裁决的撤销应由香港法院管辖。如果认为是内地裁决,则裁决的撤销应由内地法院管辖。

关于以上第二点和第三点,SCIA都建议中国内地的立法和司法解释应当偏向仲裁地主义原则,这样更符合《纽约公约》的精神。

第四,适用《UNCITRAL Rules》,由SCIA指定仲裁员,即SCIA只是作为Appointing Authority,仲裁地为香港,当事人是否可以向中国内地或香港的法院申请保全?

这里涉及的其实是临时仲裁程序的管辖法律。如果采取仲裁地主义标准,应由香港法律管辖,临时仲裁在香港申请保全没有障碍,而在内地会面临和前面第一点类似的困难。

如果由内地法律管辖,在香港申请保全没有障碍;但是内地法律原则上没有承认临时仲裁,此类仲裁的保全问题如何处理?虽然最高院印发了《关于为自由贸易试验区建设提供司法保障的意见》,允许在自贸区内的临时仲裁,但是这也存在很大局限。

因此SCIA建议,内地立法和司法可以采取更积极、更宽松而且更稳妥的态度,支持广东自贸区仲裁机构在粤港澳大湾区试点探索临时仲裁。

第五,适用《UNCITRAL Rules》,由SCIA指定仲裁员,即SCIA只是作为Appointing Authority,仲裁地为香港,当事人是否可以向中国内地或香港的法院申请执行裁决?

这里涉及的其实是临时仲裁的籍属。如果认为裁决是香港裁决,在香港则按照《仲裁条例》申请执行;在内地,则依据《两地安排》申请执行。

如果认为是内地自贸区内的裁决,在内地,则按《民事诉讼法》申请执行;在香港,理应依据《两地安排》申请执行,但是《两地安排》只认可内地仲裁机构作出的裁决,这一问题该如何处理?

因此SCIA建议,应当按照《纽约公约》精神,采取仲裁地主义标准,在香港放开对此类内地临时仲裁的执行申请。

第六,适用《UNCITRAL Rules》,由SCIA指定仲裁员,即SCIA只是作为Appointing Authority,仲裁地为香港,当事人是否可以向中国内地或香港的法院申请撤销裁决?

这里涉及的其实也是临时仲裁的籍属。如果认为是香港裁决,则裁决的撤销应由香港法院管辖。如果认为是内地裁决,则裁决的撤销应由内地法院管辖。

在此SCIA也建议中国内地的立法和司法解释按照《纽约公约》的精神,采取偏向仲裁地主义原则的立场。

最后,如果当事人选择SCIA仲裁,或者选择SCIA作为Appointing Authority,仲裁地为《纽约公约》的其他缔约国,在保全、执行、撤销等方面,也会存在与上述问题一样的复杂情形,但在这里就不一一深入探讨了。但我们认为,《纽约公约》都能够为解决这些问题提供钥匙。

SCIA和联合国贸法会与大家一起在深圳共同纪念《纽约公约》60周年、中国改革开放40周年和深圳特区国际仲裁35周年,就是要从深圳再出发,共同探讨国际争议解决规则的前沿问题。让我们一起努力。

我今天的演讲就到这里,谢谢各位!


 

 

 

Keynote Speech on the 60th Anniversary of New York Convention and “One Belt and One Road” Conference

by Dr. LIU Xiaochun, President of SCIA

 

Distinguished Ms. Anna Joubin-Bret, Ms. Elsie Leung and Mr. Rimsky Yuen, guests, ladies and gentlemen:

Good morning! At the very beginning, on behalf of the organizers of this seminar, SCIA and UNCITRAL, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Supreme People’s Court, the Ministry of Commerce, and the Shenzhen Municipal Government, for their special support to this conference, and also I would like to extend my gratitude to the guests present at this meeting. Welcome!

As the speakers in last session said, the theme of today’s seminar has a special connection with Shenzhen. As we are gathering in Shenzhen, before I move forward to the next chapter, let us take a brief review of the history that the New York Convention and the SEZ’s international arbitration have been through under the background of China’s reform and opening up.

60 years ago, in 1958, at the UN conference held in New York, the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards(New York Convention) was born. Up until now, it has 159 contracting states covering the major trading states all over the world and become one of the most successful international conventions.

40 years ago, in 1978, China launched the reform and opening up.

38 years ago, in 1980, China's first special economic zone was established in Shenzhen.

36 years ago, in 1982, the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone (SEZ) of China prepared to establish an international arbitration institution for SEZ in line with international practices to accommodate the needs for the reform and opening up, the development of SEZ, and the cooperation between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao.

35 years ago, on April 19, 1983, Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration (i.e. South China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission, formerly known as China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission Shenzhen Sub-commission and China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission South China Sub-commission; hereinafter “SCIA”) was established as the first arbitration institution in Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao Greater Bay Area.

32 years ago, on December 2, 1986, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China made a decision on China’s accession to the New York Convention. In April of the following year, the New York Convention became into effect in China.

30 years ago, in July 1988, SCIA made a landmark arbitral award which was later enforced by the High Court of Hong Kong in June 1989, setting the precedent for Chinese arbitral awards being enforced overseas according to the New York Convention. China’s arbitral award went overseas.

21 years ago, in July 1997, Hong Kong returned to China and implemented “One Country, Two Systems”. The enforcement of arbitral awards in mainland China and Hong Kong and the application of the New York Convention faced new problems. However, this issue was successfully resolved two years later.

19 years ago, in June 1999, Ms. Elsie Leung, the first Secretary of Justice of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government (also a Council Member of SCIA) and Mr. Shen Deyong, the then Vice Chief Justice of the Supreme People's Court, respectively on behalf of Hong Kong SAR Government and Supreme People's Court, signed the “Arrangement on the Mutual Enforcement of Arbitral Awards between the Mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region” (Arrangement) in Shenzhen. This arrangement inherited the spirit of the New York Convention and accommodated the actual needs of "One Country, Two Systems". It has played a positive role in maintaining the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and the smooth progress of reform and opening up. It can be said that the Arrangement is the result of the innovative practice of New York Convention in China and has provided experience for the universal application of the New York Convention in other similar countries and regions.

For the above reasons, the first commemoration of the 60th anniversary of New York Convention co-organized by SCIA and UNCITRAL was held in Shenzhen to reflect the special coincidence between Shenzhen and the New York Convention. Especially in the context of the further progress of the “One Belt and One Road” international cooperation, we should take the initiative to issue the Chinese voice of international rules. As the pioneering city of China’s reform and opening up and the bridgehead at the Maritime Silk Road, Shenzhen has the obligation and ability to assume more responsibilities in the development of new rules and new orders for international economic and trade relations. I believe that when the New York Convention meets the “One Belt and One Road” it will certainly be extraordinarily different.

My keynote speech today covers three parts: the link between the New York Convention and SEZ’s international arbitration; overseas enforcement of China’s arbitral awards; and prospect of future interaction of the New York Convention and China’s international arbitration.

 

 

Part I The Link between the New York Convention and SEZ’s International Arbitration

—— China’s First Arbitral Award Enforced Overseas

 

To begin with, I would like to share with you the landmark case in the history of China’s international arbitration: Guang Dong Yue Hai Import and Export Corporation and Delta Industrial Corp. The arbitration agreement was signed by both parties on 1 November 1986; the case was accepted by SCIA in 1987; the arbitral award was rendered on 12 July 1988 following the hearing in Shenzhen on 29 February 1988. Afterwards, plaintiff, i.e. claimant in the arbitration proceeding, sought leave to enforce the arbitral award before the High Court of Hong Kong and defendant, i.e. respondent in the arbitration proceeding, raised two reasons for objecting enforcement, both of which were rejected by the judge of this case, G.P. Nazareth. The judge found that the arbitral award rendered by SCIA is the “(New York) Convention Award” as defined by the Arbitration Ordinance of Hong Kong and therefore should be enforced. This case is significant in two senses: it is not only the first China’s arbitral award enforced overseas according to the New York Convention but also the very first New York Convention Award enforced by the courts of Hong Kong.

Notwithstanding that the two grounds raised by the defendant for opposing enforcement failed, it does reflect two typical issues recurrently occurred in the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards. To take the first opposing ground for example, the defendant contended that the award was not made by the arbitrators provided for in the relevant arbitration agreement and should therefore be refused under Section 44(2)(e) of the Arbitration Ordinance which provides that “enforcement may be refused if the composition of the arbitral authority was not in accordance with the agreement.” In fact, it involves the issue of the change in the name of the agreed arbitration institution.

Both parties actually agreed upon the Shenzhen international arbitration institution in its former name but afterwards the arbitral award was rendered under the new name of the agreed arbitration institution. It is actually an award made by the same arbitration institution only with its name changed. The judge concluded that the defendant’s first objection failed because the arbitral award was rendered by the same arbitration institution as agreed upon by both parties, regardless of the change in the name of that arbitration institution. What is worth mentioning here is that, after the return of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Judiciary has also taken the same position as the judge of this case regarding the change in the name of the arbitration institution, meaning the change in the name does not mean the change of the institution and the institution remains unchanged even it changes its name. This position has been constantly reflected in the statistics released by the Hong Kong Judiciary in relation to the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards

The second objection raised by the defendant is that Section 2 of the Arbitration Ordinance defines “Convention Award” as “an award made in pursuance of an arbitration agreement in a State or territory, other than Hong Kong, which is a party to the New York Convention” and in this definition, the words “in a State or territory” qualify “arbitration agreement” and not “an award”. In other words, the defendant was of the opinion that an award can only be regarded as a Convention Award so long as when the arbitration agreement was concluded the State or territory where the award was made is already a party to the New York Convention. The facts of this case are as follows: both parties concluded the arbitration agreement on 1 November 1986; New York Convention become into effective in China in April 1987; and the arbitral award was rendered on 12 July 1988. The defendant pointed out that when the arbitration agreement was concluded, China was yet to be a party to the New York Convention and the arbitral award is not a “Convention Award” as per Section 2 of Arbitration Ordinance even if New York Convention is binding on China at the time when the arbitral award was made. If a contrary interpretation was taken, the Arbitration Ordinance would have acquired the retrospective effect to cover awards that fall outside the definition of “Convention Award”. For these reasons, the defendant requested the court to not enforce the arbitral award in question.

Judge Nazareth dismissed the defendant’s objection for three reasons. First, the court found that regarding the definition of “Convention Award” in Section 2 of the Arbitration Ordinance, the words “in a State or territory” qualify “an award” rather than “arbitration agreement”. The provisions in the Arbitration Ordinance relating to enforcement of “Convention Award” are procedural and of effect to the enforcement procedure after China became a party to the New York Convention. Clarifying the words “in a State or territory” qualify “an award” would not give the retrospective effect. Second, the construction approach taken by the court, as compare to that of the defendant, was more consistent with the object of the Arbitration Ordinance. When it comes to the New York Convention, it is the award that is material, rather than the agreement. Third, if the construction favored by the court did indeed give the ordinance retrospective operation (the court repeatedly denied that), such construction is both clear upon the words and arises by necessary implication.

The above-mentioned is the details of this landmark case in the history of Chinese international arbitration. It is clear that as early as in 1989, the High Court of Hong Kong has already given an unequivocal analysis and determination on the issues of change in name of arbitration institution and the place where the arbitral award was made, which is of great importance to stabilizing the market expectations, understanding the New York convention, facilitating the cross-border recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards. The analysis of Judge Nazareth still deserves an in-depth research. 

 

 

Part II Overseas Enforcement of Chinese Arbitration Awards

--From the perspective of the enforcement of SCIA’s arbitration awards in Hong Kong

 

Since this milestone case, the mutual recognition and enforcement of arbitration awards between mainland China and Hong Kong are mainly carried out in accordance with the New York Convention, and the enforcement is fairly effective. Statistics show that, before the return of Hong Kong, more than 150 arbitral awards made in mainland China had been enforced by the High Court of Hong Kong, and only 2 arbitral awards had been rejected from enforcement due to certain procedural irregularities; while there were 26 arbitration awards which had been made in Hong Kong applying to courts of mainland China for enforcement in accordance with the New York Convention, and about 50% had been actually enforced.

After the return of Hong Kong on July 1, 1997, the recognition and enforcement of arbitration awards between Hong Kong and mainland China has become an issue between two different jurisdictions under the same sovereignty, therefore the New York Convention is no longer applicable. In Ng Fung Hong Limited v. ABC of 1998, the arbitral award made in mainland China was not recognized by the High Court of Hong Kong as a Convention Award, neither it was a “domestic” award of Hong Kong; as a result, the nature and application of law related to the arbitration award were not clear. At the same time, the mainland courts also has received some applications for enforcing arbitral awards made in Hong Kong, but the mainland court did not make any judgment on whether these arbitral awards should be enforced or not. For some period of time afterwards, there was no enforcement of arbitral awards between mainland China and Hong Kong. Therefore, it was very urgent and important, at that time, to establish a new mechanism of convenience and efficiency on the enforcement of arbitration awards to meet the practical demand. In June 1999, the Arrangement on the Mutual Enforcement of Arbitration Awards between Mainland China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Arrangement) was formally signed in Shenzhen, so the judicial assistance for arbitration between mainland China and Hong Kong was able to return to the right track and move into a new historical stage.

The Arrangement was formulated in the spirit of the New York Convention to maintain the continuity and stability of these legal instruments. As for the specific content, the Arrangement also inherited the basic rules of the New York Convention, especially in the following four aspects.

First, scope of mutual enforcement of arbitration awards. According to Article 1 of the New York Convention, the scope of recognition and enforcement shall be “arbitral awards made in the territory of a State other than the State where the recognition and enforcement of such awards are sought”, rather than arbitral awards made by arbitration institutions. As regards Hong Kong, all the arbitral awards made in mainland China, no matter by domestic arbitration institutions or foreign-related arbitration institutions, shall be enforced as long as they satisfy the conditions of enforcement. This principle has been reflected in the following provision of the Arrangement: “ the Courts of the HKSAR agree to enforce the awards made pursuant to the Arbitration Law of the Peoples Republic of China by the arbitral authorities in the Mainland (the list to be supplied by the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council through the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office the State Council) and the Peoples Courts of the Mainland agree to enforce the awards made in the HKSAR pursuant to the Arbitration Ordinance of the HKSAR”.

Second, issue of commercial reservation. As the Arrangement reflects the main content of the New York Convention, therefore, when an arbitral award made in Hong Kong seeks to be enforced in Mainland China, the commercial reservation of Chinese government which has been made while acceding to the New York Convention shall continue to apply; in other words, the scope of arbitration enforcement shall be limited on those disputes which arising from contractual and non-contractual commercial legal relationship as be identified in the law of the People’s Republic of China.

Third, application for the enforcement of arbitration award. When a mainland party applies for the enforcement of an arbitration award in Hong Kong or vice versa, the relevant court shall accept the application as long as it satisfies Articles 3 and 4 of the Arrangement. Article 3 of the Arrangement makes it clear that, to apply for the enforcement of an arbitration award, the applicant shall provide the following documents: (1) An application for enforcement. To apply to the courts of mainland China for enforcement, the application for enforcement must be in Chinese; and to apply to the courts of Hong Kong SAR for enforcement, the application for enforcement may be in Chinese or English. (2) The arbitration award. (3) The arbitration agreement, which is generally in consistence with Article 4 of the New York Convention.

Fourth, rejection of enforcement of arbitration awards. The circumstances of rejection of enforcement listed in Article 7 of the Arrangement are basically related to procedural issues. The first issue is that the arbitration agreement is invalid, and a party to the arbitration agreement are under some incapacity. The second and fourth issues are serious breaches of the arbitration rules, restricting or depriving the parties of their rights under the arbitration rules; The third issue is that the arbitral award exceeds the scope of the party’s request; The fifth issue is that the award has not been effective or has been set aside or suspended. These provisions are basically the same as the Article 5 of the New York Convention. It can thus be seen that the Arrangement only requires a procedural review. In addition, the Arrangement provides “public order” clauses, but after the return of Hong Kong, the relationship between Hong Kong and Mainland has undergone a fundamental change, and mutual assistance within one country should be more comprehensive and effective than that between countries. Therefore, the public order clause will be strictly limited. The Arrangement adopts a flexible and practical attitude to the enforcement of arbitration awards made in Mainland China or Hong Kong and does not contain any additional requirement on review of arbitration awards excerpt for those requirements prescribed in Article 5 of the New York Convention. This will facilitate the protection of the rights of parties from Mainland China and Hong Kong, so as to maintain Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability and promote the economic development of both Hong Kong and Mainland China.

In the two decades thereafter, both Hong Kong and Mainland China has enforced the arbitration awards mainly in accordance with the Arrangement, and the data related to the SCIA are very conspicuous.

 

According to the statistics released by the judiciary of Hong Kong, the enforcement of the SCIA’s arbitration awards in Hong Kong during the period of 2011 to 2015 is as follows: 

 

 

 

As indicated in the above table, from 2012 to 2015, the SCIA occupies 31.4% among the total number of enforced arbitral awards of mainland China, ranking the highest among all the arbitration institutions of mainland China. According to the latest statistics of 2017, SCIA accounts for 41.2% of the total number of enforced arbitral awards of mainland China, 31.8% of the total number of enforced arbitral awards of all arbitration institutions, ranking the highest among all arbitration institutions all over the world. Actually, the SCIA does not have any arbitral award that has been rejected by the Hong Kong courts in accordance with the Arrangement on Mutual Enforcement.

 

Part III Prospect of Future Interaction between the New York Convention and China’s International Arbitration

--Restart from the innovation of the SCIA’s Arbitration Rules

 

Over the past 35 years, the SCIA has accumulated rich experience in the resolution of domestic and foreign economic and trade disputes and the total number of countries and/or regions where the parties came from has reached 116 by now. In 2016, the Guidelines for the Administration of Arbitration under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules (hereinafter the “Guidelines”) was adopted.

One innovation of the Guidelines can be seen in Article 3: “Where the parties have agreed on the place of arbitration, the parties’ agreement shall prevail. Where the parties have not agreed on the place of arbitration, unless otherwise determined by the arbitral tribunal, the place of arbitration shall be Hong Kong.” This arrangement not only respects the autonomy of the parties, but also encourages the parties to choose Hong Kong as the place of arbitration, which is consistent with the market demand in the background of international cooperation arising from the “Belt and Road” strategy. As we all know, China has become the largest trading power in the world, the outbound investment is booming as more and more enterprises go out, and inbound investment also grows steadily. Accordingly, the international commercial disputes and investment controversies will also grow considerably. As an arbitration institution located in Shenzhen, the leading city of the Great Bay of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau and the bridgehead at the Maritime Silk Road, the SCIA takes the lead in China in formulating the Guidelines for the Administration of Arbitration under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules to accommodate the rules generally accepted in the international practice. It is expected that more and more international commercial disputes will be resolved in Shenzhen SEZ through arbitration by choosing Hong Kong or a foreign country as the seat of arbitration. Therefore, we expect there will be a lot of interaction between the New York Convention and China’s international arbitration in the future.

Yet, during the SCIA’s innovative exploration of the international arbitration, we also face some significant issues that are cutting-edge and unclear. The focus of these new issues is the seat of arbitration and mainly involves the following six aspects:

First, when the parties choose arbitration by the SCIA with the seat of arbitration being Hong Kong, can the parties apply to the courts of Mainland China or Hong Kong for interim measures?

This involves the governing law of the arbitration procedure. If the law of Mainland China is taken as the governing law, the court of Hong Kong will grant the interim measures in accordance with Article 45 of the Arbitration Ordinance; and the parties do not have any impediment to apply for interim measures prior to or during the arbitration procedure in mainland China pursuant to the Arbitration Law and/or the Civil Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China.

If the law of Hong Kong is taken as the governing law, the court of Hong Kong will surely grant the interim measures in accordance with Article 45 of the Arbitration Ordinance. But in mainland China, the foreign party is unable to apply for interim measure pursuant to the Arbitration Law and/or the Civil Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China.

Therefore, the SCIA recommends that, to promote the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, the mainland legislative and judicial authorities should take more active and flexible attitude to ensure the application for interim measures for arbitrations involving mainland China and Hong Kong.

Second, when the parties choose arbitration by the SCIA with the seat of arbitration being Hong Kong, can the parties apply to the courts of Mainland China or Hong Kong for enforcement of the arbitration awards?

This involves the nationality of an arbitral award. If it is deemed as an arbitration award of Hong Kong, it will be enforced in Hong Kong in accordance with the Arbitration Ordinance; while in Mainland China, it shall be enforced in accordance with the Arrangement.

If it is deemed as an arbitration award of Mainland China, it will be enforced in Hong Kong in accordance with the Arrangement on Mutual Enforcement, while in Mainland China, it shall be enforced in accordance with the Civil Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China.

Third, when the parties choose arbitration by the SCIA with the seat of arbitration being Hong Kong, can the parties apply to the courts of Mainland China or Hong Kong for setting aside the arbitration awards?

It also involves the nationality of an arbitration award. If it is deemed as an arbitration award of Hong Kong, the court of Hong Kong shall have jurisdiction over the setting aside of the arbitration award. If it is deemed as an arbitration award of mainland China, then the mainland court shall have jurisdiction over the setting aside of the arbitration award.

As regards the second and the third points, the SCIA recommends the legislative and judicial interpretation to decide the nationality of arbitration awards according to the seat of arbitration, so that it is consistent with the spirit of New York Convention.

Fourth, when the parties choose to apply the UNCITRAL Rules with arbitrators appointed by the SCIA, i.e. the SCIA acts as the appointing authority only, and the seat of arbitration is Hong Kong, can the parties apply to the courts of Mainland China or Hong Kong for interim measures?

This issue involves the governing law of the ad hoc arbitration procedure. If we decide the nationality of arbitration awards according to the seat of arbitration, it shall be governed by the law of Hong Kong, and the parties to an ad hoc arbitration do not have any impediment to apply for interim measures in Hong Kong, but they will face the difficulty in Mainland China just as described in the first point.

If it is governed by the law of Mainland China, the parties do not have any impediment to apply for interim measures; but as the law of Mainland China does not recognize ad hoc arbitration in principle, how should the application for interim measures be handled under this kind of arbitration? Although the Supreme People’s Court has issued the Opinion on the Judicial Measures for Safeguarding the Construction of the Free Trade Trial Zones that allows ad hoc arbitration in the free trade zones, it is still very limited.

Therefore, the SCIA recommends that the legislative and judicial authorities of Mainland China may adopt more active, flexible and stable attitude to support the arbitration institutions of Guangdong Free Trade Zone to explore ad hoc arbitration in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area.

Fifth, when the parties choose to apply the UNCITRAL Rules with arbitrators appointed by the SCIA, i.e. the SCIA acts as the appointing authority only, and the seat of arbitration is Hong Kong, can the parties apply to the courts of Mainland China or Hong Kong for enforcement?

This involves the nationality of an ad hoc arbitration. If it is deemed as an arbitral award of Hong Kong, it will be enforced in Hong Kong in accordance with the Arbitration Ordinance; while in Mainland China, it shall be enforced in accordance with the Arrangement.

If it is deemed as an arbitration award of the free trade zone of mainland China, it will be enforced in accordance with the Civil Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China in mainland China; while in Hong Kong, it shall be enforced in accordance with the Arrangement, but the Arrangement recognizes arbitration awards by arbitration institutions if they are made in Mainland China, how should this issue be resolved?

Therefore, the SCIA recommends that we should decide the nationality of arbitration awards according to the seat of arbitration, which is consistent with the New York Convention and allows Hong Kong courts to enforce ad hoc arbitration awards made in Mainland China.

Sixth, when the parties choose to apply the UNCITRAL Rules with arbitrators appointed by the SCIA, i.e. the SCIA acts as the appointing authority only, and the seat of arbitration is Hong Kong, can the parties apply to the courts of Mainland China or Hong Kong for setting aside the arbitration awards?

It also involves the nationality of an ad hoc arbitration. If it is deemed as an arbitration award of Hong Kong, the court of Hong Kong will have jurisdiction to set aside the arbitration award. If it is deemed as an arbitration award of Mainland China, then the mainland court will have jurisdiction to set aside the arbitration award.

Once again, the SCIA recommends the legislative and judicial interpretation to decide the nationality of arbitration awards according to the seat of arbitration, so that it is consistent with the New York Convention.

Lastly, when the parties choose arbitration by the SCIA or choose the SCIA as the appointing authority only, if the seat of arbitration is another state to the New York Convention, the interim measures, enforcement or setting aside of arbitration awards will also encounter similar issues as described above, but we will not discuss them in depth here. Yet, we believe that the New York Convention will provide us with a key to solve these issues.

Today, the SCIA and UNCITRAL commemorate the 60th anniversary of the New York Convention, the 40th anniversary of China’s Reform and Opening-up, and the 35th anniversary of the Shenzhen SEZ’s international arbitration together with you in Shenzhen to jointly explore the frontier issues of international dispute resolution rules. Let us work together.

 

That concludes my speech. Thank you!