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Notice of the Supreme People's Court on Issuing the Twenty-First Group of Guiding Cases [Effective]
最高人民法院关于发布第21批指导性案例的通知 [现行有效]
【法宝引证码】

Notice of the Supreme People's Court on Issuing the Twenty-First Group of Guiding Cases 

最高人民法院关于发布第21批指导性案例的通知

(No. 3 [2019] of the Supreme People's Court) (法〔2019〕3号)

The higher people's courts of all provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government; the Military Court of the People's Liberation Army; and the Production and Construction Corps Branch of the Higher People's Court of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region: 各省、自治区、直辖市高级人民法院,解放军军事法院,新疆维吾尔自治区高级人民法院生产建设兵团分院:
Upon deliberation and decision of the Judicial Committee of the Supreme People's Court, six cases (Guiding Cases No. 107-112) including Sinochem International (Overseas) Pte. Ltd v. ThyssenKrupp Metallurgical Products GmbH (dispute over a contract for the international sale of goods) are hereby issued as the twenty-first group of guiding cases for reference in trial of similar cases. 经最高人民法院审判委员会讨论决定,现将中化国际(新加坡)有限公司诉蒂森克虏伯冶金产品有限责任公司国际货物买卖合同纠纷案等六个案例(指导案例107-112号),作为第21批指导性案例发布,供在审判类似案件时参照。
Supreme People's Court 最高人民法院
February 25, 2019 2019年2月25日
Guiding Case No. 107 指导案例107号
Sinochem International (Overseas) Pte. Ltd v. ThyssenKrupp Metallurgical Products GmbH (dispute over a contract for the international sale of goods 中化国际(新加坡)有限公司诉蒂森克虏伯冶金产品有限责任公司国际货物买卖合同纠纷案
(Issued on February 25, 2019 as deliberated and adopted by the Judicial Committee of the Supreme People's Court) (最高人民法院审判委员会讨论通过 2019年2月25日发布)
Keywords 关键词
Civil; a contract for international sale of goods; United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods; application of law; fundamental breach of contract 民事/国际货物买卖合同/联合国国际货物销售合同公约/法律适用/根本违约
Key Points of Judgment 裁判要点
1. Where the countries of the parties to a contract for the international sale of goods are contracting countries of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG), the provisions of the CISG should preferentially apply. For the content where there are no provisions in the CISG, the law as agreed in the contract shall apply. Where the parties have explicitly excluded the application of the CISG in the contract for international sale of goods, the CISG shall not apply. 1.国际货物买卖合同的当事各方所在国为《联合国国际货物销售合同公约》的缔约国,应优先适用公约的规定,公约没有规定的内容,适用合同中约定适用的法律。国际货物买卖合同中当事人明确排除适用《联合国国际货物销售合同公约》的,则不应适用该公约。
2. In the contract for international sale of goods, although the goods delivered by the seller have defects, as long as the buyer can use or resell them after making reasonable efforts, it shall not be deemed as fundamental breach of contract as prescribed in the CISG. 2.在国际货物买卖合同中,卖方交付的货物虽然存在缺陷,但只要买方经过合理努力就能使用货物或转售货物,不应视为构成《联合国国际货物销售合同公约》规定的根本违约的情形。
Legal Provisions 相关法条
Article 145来自北大法宝 of the General Principles of the Civil Law of the People's Republic of China 中华人民共和国民法通则》第145条

Articles 1 and 25 of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods

 联合国国际货物销售合同公约》第1条、第25条
Basic Facts 基本案情
On April 11, 2008, Sinochem International (Overseas) Pte. Ltd (hereinafter referred to as “Sinochem Pte. Ltd”) and Thyssen Krupp Metallurgical Products GmbH (hereinafter referred to as “Krupp GmbH”) concluded a Purchase Contract for petroleum coke, stipulating that this Contract should be concluded, under the jurisdiction of, and interpreted in accordance with the then effective law of the New York State, U.S.A. Sinochem Pte. Ltd made the payment for goods in full amount as agreed, but the HGI of the petroleum coke delivered by Krupp GmbH was only 32, which was inconsistent with the typical value of the HGI ranging from 36 to 46 as agreed in the Contract. Sinochem Pte. Ltd held the opinion that the act of Krupp GmbH constituted fundamental breach of contract and it requested the Court to order the rescission of the Contract and Krupp GmbH's refund of the payment for goods and compensation for losses. 2008年4月11日,中化国际(新加坡)有限公司(以下简称中化新加坡公司)与蒂森克虏伯冶金产品有限责任公司(以下简称德国克虏伯公司)签订了购买石油焦的《采购合同》,约定本合同应当根据美国纽约州当时有效的法律订立、管辖和解释。中化新加坡公司按约支付了全部货款,但德国克虏伯公司交付的石油焦HGI指数仅为32,与合同中约定的HGI指数典型值为36-46之间不符。中化新加坡公司认为德国克虏伯公司构成根本违约,请求判令解除合同,要求德国克虏伯公司返还货款并赔偿损失。
Judgment 裁判结果
In the trial of first instance, the Higher People's Court of Jiangsu Province held that in accordance with the relevant provisions of the CISG, the HGI of the petroleum coke provided by Krupp GmbH was far below the standard as agreed in the Contract, resulting in failure to sell such petroleum coke at the domestic market and realize the expected objective when the sale contract was concluded. Therefore, the act of Krupp GmbH constituted fundamental breach of contract. On December 19, 2012, the Higher People's Court of Jiangsu Province entered a Civil Judgment (No. 0004 [2009], First, Civil Division III, HPC, Jiangsu) that: (1) The Purchase Contract concluded by and between Sinochem Pte. Ltd and Krupp GmbH on April 11, 2008 should be declared invalid. (2) Krupp GmbH should, within 30 days after this Judgment came into force, refund the payment for goods of USD2,684,302.9 made by Sinochem Pte. Ltd and pay the interest from September 25, 2008 to the date of payment as determined in this Judgment. (3) Krupp GmbH should, within 30 days after this Judgment came into force, pay Sinochem Pte. Ltd USD520,339.77 as compensation for losses. 江苏省高级人民法院一审认为,根据《联合国国际货物销售合同公约》的有关规定,德国克虏伯公司提供的石油焦HGI指数远低于合同约定标准,导致石油焦难以在国内市场销售,签订买卖合同时的预期目的无法实现,故德国克虏伯公司的行为构成根本违约。江苏省高级人民法院于2012年12月19日作出(2009)苏民三初字第0004号民事判决:一、宣告蒂森克虏伯冶金产品有限责任公司与中化国际(新加坡)有限公司于2008年4月11日签订的《采购合同》无效。二、蒂森克虏伯冶金产品有限责任公司于本判决生效之日起三十日内返还中化国际(新加坡)有限公司货款2684302.9美元并支付自2008年9月25日至本判决确定的给付之日的利息。三、蒂森克虏伯冶金产品有限责任公司于本判决生效之日起三十日内赔偿中化国际(新加坡)有限公司损失520339.77美元。
After the judgment was pronounced, Krupp GmbH refused to accept the judgment of first instance and appealed to the Supreme People's Court, contending that the judgment of first instance was erroneous in the determination of the applicable law in this case. The Supreme People's Court held that the fact-finding in the judgment of first instance was basically clear, but partial application of law was erroneous and the determination of liabilities was inappropriate, which should be corrected. On June 30, 2014, the Supreme People's Court entered a Civil Judgment (No. 35 [2013], Final, Civil Division IV, SPC) that: (1) Item (1) of the Civil Judgment (No. 0004 [2009], First, Civil Division III, HPC, Jiangsu) entered by the Higher People's Court of Jiangsu Province should be set aside. (2) Item (2) of the Civil Judgment (No. 0004 [2009], First, Civil Division III, HPC, Jiangsu) entered by the Higher People's Court of Jiangsu Province should be altered and Krupp GmbH should, within 30 days after this Judgment came into force, pay Sinochem Pte. Ltd USD1,610,581.74 as compensation for losses to the payment for goods and pay the interest from September 25, 2008 to the date of payment as determined in this Judgment. (3) Item (3) of the Civil Judgment (No. 0004 [2009], First, Civil Division III, HPC, Jiangsu) entered by the Higher People's Court of Jiangsu Province should be altered and Krupp GmbH should, within 30 days after this Judgment came into force, pay Sinochem Pte. Ltd USD98,442.79 as compensation for losses arising from the storage charges. (4) Other claims of Sinochem Pte. Ltd should be dismissed. 宣判后,德国克虏伯公司不服一审判决,向最高人民法院提起上诉,认为一审判决对本案适用法律认定错误。最高人民法院认为一审判决认定事实基本清楚,但部分法律适用错误,责任认定不当,应当予以纠正。最高人民法院于2014年6月30日作出(2013)民四终字第35号民事判决:一、撤销江苏省高级人民法院(2009)苏民三初字第0004号民事判决第一项。二、变更江苏省高级人民法院(2009)苏民三初字第0004号民事判决第二项为蒂森克虏伯冶金产品有限责任公司于本判决生效之日起三十日内赔偿中化国际(新加坡)有限公司货款损失1610581.74美元并支付自2008年9月25日至本判决确定的给付之日的利息。三、变更江苏省高级人民法院(2009)苏民三初字第0004号民事判决第三项为蒂森克虏伯冶金产品有限责任公司于本判决生效之日起三十日内赔偿中化国际(新加坡)有限公司堆存费损失98442.79美元。四、驳回中化国际(新加坡)有限公司的其他诉讼请求。
Judgment's Reasoning 裁判理由
The Supreme People's Court held that, this case was about dispute over a contract for the international sale of goods, both parties were foreign companies, and it involved foreign-related factors. Article 2 of the Interpretation of the Supreme People's Court on Several Issues concerning the Application of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Choice of Law for Foreign-Related Civil Relationships (I) provided for that “For any foreign-related civil relationship occurring before the implementation of the Law on Choice of Law for Foreign-Related Civil Relationships, the people's courts shall determine the applicable laws in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations at the time of the occurrence of such foreign-related civil relationship; in case there were no applicable laws at that time, the applicable laws may be determined with reference to the Law on Choice of Law for Foreign-Related Civil Relationships.” The Purchase Contract involved was concluded on April 11, 2008, which was earlier than the time of implementation of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Choice of Law for Foreign-Related Civil Relationships (hereinafter referred to as the “Law on Choice of Law for Foreign-Related Civil Relationships”). Article 145 of the General Principles of the Civil Law of the People's Republic of China at the time when the parties concluded the Purchase Contract provided that “The parties to a foreign-related contract may choose the applicable law for resolution of the contractual disputes, unless otherwise provided by the law. Where the parties to a foreign-related contract does not choose a law, the law of the country with the closest relationship with the contract shall apply.” Both parties to this case agreed in the Contract that it should be concluded, under the jurisdiction of, and interpreted in accordance with the then effective laws of New York State, U.S.A. and the agreement did not violate legal provisions and should be determined as valid. Since Singapore and Germany, the countries where the business places of both parties were located, were contracting parties to the CISG, the U.S.A. was also the contracting party to the CISG, and both parties chose the CISG as the basis for determining their rights and obligations and the application of the CISG was not excluded in the trial of first instance, it was accurate for the Higher People's Court of Jiangsu Province to try this case by applying the CISG. For issues involved in the trial of this case where there were no provisions in the CISG, the law of New York State, the U.S.A. chosen by the parties should apply. The Digest of Case Law on the CISG was not a part of the CISG and it could not serve as the legal basis for trying this case. However, it may serve as an appropriate reference material for how to accurately comprehend definitions of the relevant clauses of the CISG. 最高人民法院认为,本案为国际货物买卖合同纠纷,双方当事人均为外国公司,案件具有涉外因素。《最高人民法院关于适用〈中华人民共和国涉外民事关系法律适用法〉若干问题的解释(一)》第二条规定:“涉外民事关系法律适用法实施以前发生的涉外民事关系,人民法院应当根据该涉外民事关系发生时的有关法律规定确定应当适用的法律;当时法律没有规定的,可以参照涉外民事关系法律适用法的规定确定。”案涉《采购合同》签订于2008年4月11日,在《中华人民共和国涉外民事关系法律适用法》实施之前,当事人签订《采购合同》时的《中华人民共和国民法通则》第一百四十五条规定:“涉外合同的当事人可以选择处理合同争议所适用的法律,法律另有规定的除外。涉外合同的当事人没有选择的,适用与合同有最密切联系的国家的法律。”本案双方当事人在合同中约定应当根据美国纽约州当时有效的法律订立、管辖和解释,该约定不违反法律规定,应认定有效。由于本案当事人营业地所在国新加坡和德国均为《联合国国际货物销售合同公约》缔约国,美国亦为《联合国国际货物销售合同公约》缔约国,且在一审审理期间双方当事人一致选择适用《联合国国际货物销售合同公约》作为确定其权利义务的依据,并未排除《联合国国际货物销售合同公约》的适用,江苏省高级人民法院适用《联合国国际货物销售合同公约》审理本案是正确的。而对于审理案件中涉及到的问题《联合国国际货物销售合同公约》没有规定的,应当适用当事人选择的美国纽约州法律。《〈联合国国际货物销售合同公约〉判例法摘要汇编》并非《联合国国际货物销售合同公约》的组成部分,其不能作为审理本案的法律依据。但在如何准确理解《联合国国际货物销售合同公约》相关条款的含义方面,其可以作为适当的参考资料。
The typical value of the HGI of petroleum coke as agreed by both parties in the Purchase Contract was from 36 to 46. However, the HGI of petroleum coke actually delivered by Krupp GmbH was 32, which was lower than the minimum typical value of the HGI as agreed by both parties and did not conform to the contractual stipulations. It was accurate for the Higher People's Court of Jiangsu Province to hold that the act of Krupp GmbH constituted fundamental breach of contract. 双方当事人在《采购合同》中约定的石油焦HGI指数典型值在36-46之间,而德国克虏伯公司实际交付的石油焦HGI指数为32,低于双方约定的HGI指数典型值的最低值,不符合合同约定。江苏省高级人民法院认定德国克虏伯公司构成违约是正确的。
With respect to whether the aforesaid act of Krupp GmbH constituted fundamental breach of contract, first, from both parties' agreement on the chemical and physical characteristics and specifications that petroleum coke should satisfy in the Contract, the moisture rate, sulphur content, ash content, volatile content, size, calorific value, and HGI of petroleum coke were agreed in the Contract. Based on the current facts, for the petroleum coke delivered by Krupp GmbH, Sinochem Pte. Ltd deemed that only the HGI did not conform to the Contract and it raised no objection to other six indicators. In light of the testimonies of witnesses and the statements made by witnesses in court as submitted by the parties, the HGI referred to the grinding index of petroleum coke. The lower the HGI was, the higher the hardness of petroleum coke was, and the more difficult the grinding was. However, the explanation of the School of Materials Science and Engineering of Shanghai University issued by Sinochem Pte. Ltd did not deny that petroleum coke with the HGI of 32 could be used and it was deemed that the purposes of such petroleum coke would be limited. Therefore, it may be determined that although the HGI of the petroleum coke involved was inconsistent with the value as agreed in the Contract, this batch of petroleum coke still had use value. Second, in the trial of first instance, for the purpose of reducing losses, Sinochem Pte. Ltd made great efforts to resell the petroleum coke involved and in the letters on the relevant issues sent to Krupp GmbH, Sinochem Pte. Ltd explicitly stated that the resale price of the petroleum coke involved “was not lower than the reasonable price at the market.” This fact explained that the petroleum coke involved may be sold at a reasonable price. Third, by taking into full account of the comprehension of clauses of the CISG on fundamental breach of contract in judgments of other countries, non-conformity of quality was not fundamental breach of contract as long as the buyer could use or resell the goods or even sell such goods at a discount after making reasonable efforts. Therefore, the act of Krupp GmbH of delivering petroleum coke with the HGI of 32 did not constitute fundamental breach of contract. The determination of the Higher People's Court of Jiangsu Province that the act of Krupp GmbH constituted fundamental breach of contract and the Purchase Contract was invalid was erroneous in the application of law and should be corrected. 关于德国克虏伯公司的上述违约行为是否构成根本违约的问题。首先,从双方当事人在合同中对石油焦需符合的化学和物理特性规格约定的内容看,合同对石油焦的受潮率、硫含量、灰含量、挥发物含量、尺寸、热值、硬度(HGI值)等七个方面作出了约定。而从目前事实看,对于德国克虏伯公司交付的石油焦,中化新加坡公司仅认为HGI指数一项不符合合同约定,而对于其他六项指标,中化新加坡公司并未提出异议。结合当事人提交的证人证言以及证人出庭的陈述,HGI指数表示石油焦的研磨指数,指数越低,石油焦的硬度越大,研磨难度越大。但中化新加坡公司一方提交的上海大学材料科学与工程学院出具的说明亦不否认HGI指数为32的石油焦可以使用,只是认为其用途有限。故可以认定虽然案涉石油焦HGI指数与合同约定不符,但该批石油焦仍然具有使用价值。其次,本案一审审理期间,中化新加坡公司为减少损失,经过积极的努力将案涉石油焦予以转售,且其在就将相关问题致德国克虏伯公司的函件中明确表示该批石油焦转售的价格“未低于市场合理价格”。这一事实说明案涉石油焦是可以以合理价格予以销售的。第三,综合考量其他国家裁判对《联合国国际货物销售合同公约》中关于根本违约条款的理解,只要买方经过合理努力就能使用货物或转售货物,甚至打些折扣,质量不符依然不是根本违约。故应当认为德国克虏伯公司交付HGI指数为32的石油焦的行为,并不构成根本违约。江苏省高级人民法院认定德国克虏伯公司构成根本违约并判决宣告《采购合同》无效,适用法律错误,应予以纠正。
(Judges of the effective judgment: Ren Xuefeng, Cheng Mingzhu, and Zhu Ke) (生效裁判审判人员:任雪峰、成明珠、朱科)
Guiding Case No. 108 指导案例108号
Zhejiang Longda Stainless Steel Co., Ltd. v. A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S (dispute over a contract for the carriage of goods by sea) 浙江隆达不锈钢有限公司诉A.P.穆勒-马士基有限公司海上货物运输合同纠纷案
(Issued on February 25, 2019 as deliberated and adopted by the Judicial Committee of the Supreme People's Court) (最高人民法院审判委员会讨论通过 2019年2月25日发布)
Keywords 关键词
Civil; a contract for the carriage of goods by sea; alteration of contract; alteration of port; withdrawal of goods; right of defense 民事/海上货物运输合同/合同变更/改港/退运/抗辩权
Key Points of Judgment 裁判要点
In a contract for the carriage of goods by sea, in accordance with the provisions of Article 308 of the Contract Law of the People's Republic of China (hereinafter referred to as the “Contract Law”), before the carrier delivers the goods to the consignee, the consignor enjoys the right to claim for alternation of the carriage contract. However, both parties should still observe the principle of fairness as prescribed in Article 5 of the Contract Law to determine the rights and obligations of all parties. When the consignor exercises such right, the carrier may correspondingly exercise some right of defense. If it is difficult to realize the alternation of the carriage contract or alternation of the carriage contract will seriously affect the normal operation of the carrier, the carrier may reject the consignor's claim for alteration of port or withdrawal of goods, but it should, in a timely manner, notify the consignor of the reasons therefor. 在海上货物运输合同中,依据合同法三百零八条的规定,承运人将货物交付收货人之前,托运人享有要求变更运输合同的权利,但双方当事人仍要遵循合同法五条规定的公平原则确定各方的权利和义务。托运人行使此项权利时,承运人也可相应行使一定的抗辩权。如果变更海上货物运输合同难以实现或者将严重影响承运人正常营运,承运人可以拒绝托运人改港或者退运的请求,但应当及时通知托运人不能变更的原因。
Legal Provisions 相关法条
Article 308 of the Contract Law of the People's Republic of China 中华人民共和国合同法》第308条

装完逼就跑

Article 86 of the Maritime Law of the People's Republic of China 中华人民共和国海商法》第86条
Basic Facts 基本案情
In June 2014, Zhejiang Longda Stainless Steel Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “Longda Company”) exported a batch of stainless steel seamless products to Colombo Port of Sri Lanka from Ningbo Port of China, with the customs value of USD366,918.97. Longda Company booked cargo space from A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S (hereinafter referred to as “Maersk A/S”). The goods invovled were loaded in four containers and the shipment started on June 28 of the same year. Longda Compnay required telex-release in the shipment. On July 9, 2014, through the freight forwarder, Longda Company sent an email to Maersk A/S and claimed for alteration of port or withdrawal of goods since the destination of the goods invovled was erroneous. On the same day, Maersk A/S made a reply that since there were less than two days before the arrival of the goods involved, it was impossible to arrange alteration of port. If withdrawal of goods was necessary, Maersk A/S needed to make a reply after confirmation with the destination port. On the subsequent day, the freight forwarder of Longda Company inquired whether the goods invovled could be brought back in the same ship. On the same day, Maersk A/S replied that “It is not operational to bright the goods back in the same ship. After the discharge of the goods at the destination port, the consignee should conduct customs clearance at the destination port and then apply for withdrawal of goods to the local Customs. With the approval of the Customs, the withdrawal of goods may be arranged.” On July 10, 2014, Longda Company claimed that “The withdrawal of goods should be arranged. Since the customs clearance failed, they should be returned to Ningbo City. Is there any other option?” Afterwards, Maersk A/S did not reply any emails any more. 2014年6月,浙江隆达不锈钢有限公司(以下简称隆达公司)由中国宁波港出口一批不锈钢无缝产品至斯里兰卡科伦坡港,货物报关价值为366918.97美元。隆达公司通过货代向A.P.穆勒-马士基有限公司(以下简称马士基公司)订舱,涉案货物于同年6月28日装载于4个集装箱内装船出运,出运时隆达公司要求做电放处理。2014年7月9日,隆达公司通过货代向马士基公司发邮件称,发现货物运错目的地要求改港或者退运。马士基公司于同日回复,因货物距抵达目的港不足2天,无法安排改港,如需退运则需与目的港确认后回复。次日,隆达公司的货代询问货物退运是否可以原船带回,马士基公司于当日回复“原船退回不具有操作性,货物在目的港卸货后,需要由现在的收货人在目的港清关后,再向当地海关申请退运。海关批准后,才可以安排退运事宜”。2014年7月10日,隆达公司又提出“这个货要安排退运,就是因为清关清不了,所以才退回宁波的,有其他办法吗”。此后,马士基公司再未回复邮件。
Around July 12, 2014, the goods involved arrived at the destination port. On January 19, 2015, at the request of Longda Company, Maersk A/S issued the full set of original bill of lading (No. 603386880) to Longda Company. According to the bill of lading, Longda Company was the consignor, Venus Steel Pvt. Ltd. was the consignee and notifying party, Ningbo of China was the port of shipment, and Colombo of Sri Lanka was the port of unloading. On May 19, 2015, Longda Company sent to Maersk A/S an email that it has applied for withdrawal of goods according to the requirements of Maersk A/S. Soon afterwards, Maersk A/S notified Longda Company that the goods involved have been auctioned. 涉案货物于2014年7月12日左右到达目的港。马士基公司应隆达公司的要求于2015年1月29日向其签发了编号603386880的全套正本提单。根据提单记载,托运人为隆达公司,收货人及通知方均为VENUSSTEEL PVT LTD,起运港中国宁波,卸货港科伦坡。2015年5月19日,隆达公司向马士基公司发邮件表示已按马士基公司要求申请退运。马士基公司随后告知隆达公司涉案货物已被拍卖。
Judgment 裁判结果
On March 4, 2016, the Ningbo Maritime Court entered a Civil Judgment (No. 534 [2015], First, Commercial Division, Ningbo) that since Longda Company failed to voluntarily take delivery of the goods and adopt other effective measures, the goods involved were auctioned by the Customs and the corresponding risks of damage should be assumed by Longda Company. Therefore, the Ningbo Maritime Court dismissed the claims of Longda Company. After the judgment of first instance was pronounced, Longda Company appealed. On September 29, 2016, the Higher People's Court of Zhejiang Province entered a Civil Judgment (No. 222 [2016], Final, Civil Division, HPC, Zhejiang) that the judgment of first instance should be set aside; and Maersk A/S should, within ten days after this judgment was served, compensate Longda Company USD183,459.49 for damage of goods and the interest thereof. The court of second instance held that in accordance with Article 308 of the Contract Law, Longda Company had the right to claim for alteration of port or withdrawal of goods before Maersk A/S delivered the goods. After Longda Company raised a claim for withdrawal of goods, Maersk A/S neither expressly refused to arrange the withdrawal of goods nor notified Longda Company of handling such goods by itself. Therefore, Maersk A/S should assume the corresponding compensation liability for the damage of the goods involved and the proportion of liability should be determined as 50%. Maersk A/S refused to accept the judgment of second instance and filed an application for retrial with the Supreme People's Court. On December 29, 2017, the Supreme People's Court entered a Civil Judgment (No. 412 [2017], Retrial, Civil Division, SPC) to set aside the judgment of second instance and affirm the judgment of first instance. 宁波海事法院于2016年3月4日作出(2015)甬海法商初字第534号民事判决,认为隆达公司因未采取自行提货等有效措施导致涉案货物被海关拍卖,相应货损风险应由该公司承担,故驳回隆达公司的诉讼请求。一审判决后,隆达公司提出上诉。浙江省高级人民法院于2016年9月29日作出(2016)浙民终222号民事判决:撤销一审判决;马士基公司于判决送达之日起十日内赔偿隆达公司货物损失183459.49美元及利息。二审法院认为依据合同法三百零八条,隆达公司在马士基公司交付货物前享有请求改港或退运的权利。在隆达公司提出退运要求后,马士基公司既未明确拒绝安排退运,也未通知隆达公司自行处理,对涉案货损应承担相应的赔偿责任,酌定责任比例为50%。马士基公司不服二审判决,向最高人民法院申请再审。最高人民法院于2017年12月29日作出(2017)最高法民再412号民事判决:撤销二审判决;维持一审判决。
Judgment's Reasoning 裁判理由
The Supreme People's Court held that the provisions of the Contract Law and the Maritime Law of the People's Republic of China (hereinafter referred to as the “Maritime Law”) on the adjustment of relations arising from the carriage by sea and relations of vessels were of the relations of a general law and a special law. In accordance with the provisions of Article 89 of the Maritime Law, before a vessel set sail at the port of loading, the consignor may claim for rescission of the contract. In this case, Longda Company claimed for the carrier's withdrawal of goods or alteration of port in the transit of carriage of the goods invovled by sea. Since there were no provisions on the right of the consignor to claim for alteration of the carriage contract during the voyage, the provisions of Article 308 of the Contract Law on the right of the consignor to claim for alteration of the carriage contract may apply to this case. Based on the fundamental principle for application of law where priority should be given to a special law, Article 308 of the Contract Law provide for general carriage contracts. Under the circumstance where the said provisions are applicable to contracts for the carriage of goods by sea, they should be subject to the basic value orientation and limitation of the compulsory provisions of the Maritime Law. The consignor's claim for alteration of the carriage contract in accordance with Article 308 of the Contract Law may not result in obvious unfairness of all parties to the contract for the carriage of goods by sea or the carrier's violation of its obligations including arrangement of reasonable routes for other consignors or deprival of the carrier's corresponding right of defense regarding alteration matters in the performance of the contract for the carriage of goods by sea. 最高人民法院认为,合同法海商法有关调整海上运输关系、船舶关系的规定属于普通法与特别法的关系。根据海商法八十九条的规定,船舶在装货港开航前,托运人可以要求解除合同。本案中,隆达公司在涉案货物海上运输途中请求承运人进行退运或者改港,因海商法未就航程中托运人要求变更运输合同的权利进行规定,故本案可适用合同法三百零八条关于托运人要求变更运输合同权利的规定。基于特别法优先适用于普通法的法律适用基本原则,合同法三百零八条规定的是一般运输合同,该条规定在适用于海上货物运输合同的情况下,应该受到海商法基本价值取向及强制性规定的限制。托运人依据合同法三百零八条主张变更运输合同的权利不得致使海上货物运输合同中各方当事人利益显失公平,也不得使承运人违反对其他托运人承担的安排合理航线等义务,或剥夺承运人关于履行海上货物运输合同变更事项的相应抗辩权。
The basic principles as prescribed in the General Provisions of the Contract Law are the norms for the legislation of the Contract Law, the norms applicable to all fields of the Contract Law, and the basis for specific rules and specifications of the Contract Law. In accordance with the provisions of Article 308 of the Contract Law, before the carrier delivered the goods to the consignee, the consignor enjoyed the right to claim for alteration of the carriage contract, but both parties should still observe the principle of fairness as prescribed in Article 5 of the Contract Law to determine their rights and obligations. The carriage of goods by sea has such particularities as a large transport volume, advanced preparation of voyage, and relatively fixed route. Sometimes, a consignor's claim for alteration of port or withdrawal of goods is not operable and hinders the normal operation of the carrier or causes major damage to consignors or consignees of other goods. Under this circumstance, if the carrier is required to unconditionally obey the claim of a consignor for alteration of the carriage contract, it will be obviously unfair. Therefore, in a contract for the carriage of goods by sea, a consignor cannot exercise the right to claim for alteration in an unlimited manner and a carrier cannot unconditionally obey the consignor's claim for alteration under any circumstance. In order to reasonably balance the interests of parties to the contract for the carriage of goods by sea, when the consignor exercises the right of claiming for alteration of the contract, the carrier should correspondingly enjoy some right of defense. If it is difficult to realize alteration of the carriage contract or alteration of the carriage contract will seriously affect the normal operation of the carrier, the carrier may reject the consignor's claim for alteration of port or withdrawal of goods, but the carrier should, in a timely manner, notify the consignor of the reasons therefor. If the defense of the carrier for failure to execute the consignor's claim for alteration of port or withdrawal of goods is tenable, the carrier's failure to execute such claim according to the instructions of the consignor should not be inappropriate. 合同法总则规定的基本原则是合同法立法的准则,是适用于合同法全部领域的准则,也是合同法具体制度及规范的依据。依据合同法三百零八条的规定,在承运人将货物交付收货人之前,托运人享有要求变更运输合同的权利,但双方当事人仍要遵循合同法五条规定的公平原则确定各方的权利和义务。海上货物运输具有运输量大、航程预先拟定、航线相对固定等特殊性,托运人要求改港或者退运的请求有时不仅不易操作,还会妨碍承运人的正常营运或者给其他货物的托运人或收货人带来较大损害。在此情况下,如果要求承运人无条件服从托运人变更运输合同的请求,显失公平。因此,在海上货物运输合同下,托运人并非可以无限制地行使请求变更的权利,承运人也并非在任何情况下都应无条件服从托运人请求变更的指示。为合理平衡海上货物运输合同中各方当事人利益之平衡,在托运人行使要求变更权利的同时,承运人也相应地享有一定的抗辩权利。如果变更运输合同难以实现或者将严重影响承运人正常营运,承运人可以拒绝托运人改港或者退运的要求,但应当及时通知托运人不能执行的原因。如果承运人关于不能执行原因等抗辩成立,承运人未按照托运人退运或改港的指示执行则并无不当。
The goods invovled adopted the international liner transport. Besides the four containers consigned by Longda Company, the carrying vessel carried many goods consigned by other owners of goods. The shipment of the goods involved started on June 28, 2014 and the goods invovled arrived at the destination port around July 12, 2014. On July 9, 2014, Longda Company required Maersk A/S to withdraw the goods invovled or alter the port of destination. The defense raised by Maersk A/S that when the voyage has been half over, and there were only two or three days to the arrival of the port of destination, it was impossible for Maersk A/Sto arrange alteration of port due to voyage and other reasons, and withdrawal of goods in the same ship was not operable complied with the case facts and was tenable. The failure of Maersk A/S to arrange the withdrawal of goods or alteration of port was not inappropriate. 涉案货物采用的是国际班轮运输,载货船舶除运载隆达公司托运的4个集装箱外,还运载了其他货主托运的众多货物。涉案货物于2014年6月28日装船出运,于2014年7月12日左右到达目的港。隆达公司于2014年7月9日才要求马士基公司退运或者改港。马士基公司在航程已过大半,距离到达目的港只有两三天的时间,以航程等原因无法安排改港、原船退回不具有操作性为抗辩事由,符合案件事实情况,该抗辩事由成立,马士基公司未安排退运或者改港并无不当。
After the goods invovled carried by Maersk A/S arrived at the port of destination, since there was no one to take delivery of the goods invovled, Maersk A/S unloaded them at the port of destination complied with the provisions of Article 86 of the Maritime Law. On July 9, 2014, Maersk A/S replied Longda Company in an email that there were less than two days to the arrival of the destination port. Longda Company has learned the general time of arrival of the goods at the port and knew that there was no one at the port of destination to take delivery of the goods invovled; however, in the next eight months, it did not take any measure to dispose of the goods invovled, resulting in the auction of the goods invovled by the Customs. Although Longda Company claimed that Maersk A/S did not perform the obligation of managing the goods invovled in a prudent manner, it did not bear the burden of proving the inappropriate management of the goods involved by Maersk A/S. This claim of Longda Company lacked basis. In accordance with the provisions of Article 86 of the Maritime Law, the expenses and risks arising from the unloading by Maersk A/S should be borne by the consignee and it was unnecessary for Maersk A/S, as the carrier, to assume the corresponding risks. 马士基公司将涉案货物运至目的港后,因无人提货,将货物卸载至目的港码头符合海商法八十六条的规定。马士基公司于2014年7月9日通过邮件回复隆达公司距抵达目的港不足2日。隆达公司已了解货物到港的大体时间并明知涉案货物在目的港无人提货,但在长达8个月的时间里未采取措施处理涉案货物致其被海关拍卖。隆达公司虽主张马士基公司未尽到谨慎管货义务,但并未举证证明马士基公司存在管货不当的事实。隆达公司的该项主张缺乏依据。依据海商法八十六条的规定,马士基公司卸货后所产生的费用和风险应由收货人承担,马士基公司作为承运人无需承担相应的风险。
(Judges of the effective judgment: Wang Shumei, Yu Xiaohan, and Huang Xiwu) (生效判决审判人员:王淑梅、余晓汉、黄西武)
Guiding Case No. 109 指导案例109号
Anhui Foreign Economic Construction (Group) Co., Ltd. v. Inmobiliaria Palacio Oriental S.A. (dispute over guarantee fraud) 安徽省外经建设(集团)有限公司诉东方置业房地产有限公司保函欺诈纠纷案
(Issued on February 25, 2019 as deliberated and adopted by the Judicial Committee of the Supreme People's Court) (最高人民法院审判委员会讨论通过 2019年2月25日发布)
Keywords 关键词
Civil; guarantee fraud; review of underlying transactions; principle of limitation and necessity; independent counter guarantee 民事/保函欺诈/基础交易审查/有限及必要原则/独立反担保函
Key Points of Judgment 裁判要点
1. Where it is necessary to review the underlying transaction for determination of an independent guarantee fraud, the principle of limitation and necessity should be followed and the review scope should be limited to whether the beneficiary knows that the opposing party of the underlying contract does not breach the contract under the underlying contract and whether the beneficiary knows that it does not have the right of claim for payment. 1.认定构成独立保函欺诈需对基础交易进行审查时,应坚持有限及必要原则,审查范围应限于受益人是否明知基础合同的相对人并不存在基础合同项下的违约事实,以及是否存在受益人明知自己没有付款请求权的事实。
2. The breach of contract by the beneficiary under the underlying contract does not affect the beneficiary's right to present documents and raise a claim in accordance with the provisions on an independent L/G. 2.受益人在基础合同项下的违约情形,并不影响其按照独立保函的规定提交单据并进行索款的权利。
3. In identifying whether there is a fraud under an independent counter guarantee L/G, even if there is a fraud under the independent L/G, where the bona fide payment has been made under the independent L/G, the people's court is not allowed to ruleto stop the payment of the fund under the independent counter guarantee L/G. 3.认定独立反担保函项下是否存在欺诈时,即使独立保函存在欺诈情形,独立保函项下已经善意付款的,人民法院亦不得裁定止付独立反担保函项下款项。
Legal Provisions 相关法条
Articles 8 and 44 of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Choice of Law for Foreign-Related Civil Relationships 中华人民共和国涉外民事关系法律适用法》第8条、第44条
Basic Facts 基本案情
On January 16, 2010, Inmobiliaria Palacio Oriental S.A. (hereinafter referred to as “Oriental S.A.”) as the developer, Anhui Foreign Economic Construction (Group) Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “AFECC”) as the contractor, and Chinafecc Central América S.A. as the construction party concluded a Contract for the Construction of the Lakeside Mansion Project (hereinafter referred to as the “Construction Contract”) in Costa Rica in San Jose, the Republic of Costa Rica and it was agreed in the Construction Contract that the contractor executed the construction of three 14-floored comprehensive commercial and residential buildings. On May 26, 2010, AFECC filed an application with Anhui Branch of China Construction Bank Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “Anhui Branch of CCB”) for issuing a performance guarantee to the beneficiary Oriental S.A. with Bank of Costa Rica as the reissuing bank and the guaranty matter being the Lakeside Mansion Project in Costa Rica. On May 28, 2010, Bank of Costa Rica issued a performance guarantee (No. G051225) with Anhui Branch of CCB as the guarantor, AFECC as the principal, and Oriental S.A. as the beneficiary, and the amount of guarantee was USD2,008,000, valid until October 12, 2011 and extended to February 12, 2012. Notes on the guarantee: It is an unconditional, irrevocable, obligatory, and demand guarantee. To perform this guarantee, the beneficiary should submit a credential in duplicate to the Department of Foreign Trade under the Central Office of Bank of Costa Rica, indicating the grounds for performing the guarantee. In addition, the beneficiary should issue a notarized statement, indicating the date when Chinafecc Central América S.A. was notified of this claim for breach of contract, affixed with the original guarantee and the issued modified version. Anhui Branch of CCB simultaneously issued a counter guarantee (No. 34147020000289) to Bank of Costa Rica and promised that it would pay the fund under the guarantee within 20 days upon receipt of the notice of Bank of Costa Rica. The counter guarantee was “unconditional and irrevocable, and demanded payment at any time” and it was agreed that it “should observe the Uniform Rules for Demand Guarantees (URDG458) published by the International Chamber of Commerce.” 2010年1月16日,东方置业房地产有限公司(以下简称东方置业公司)作为开发方,与作为承包方的安徽省外经建设(集团)有限公司(以下简称外经集团公司)、作为施工方的安徽外经建设中美洲有限公司(以下简称外经中美洲公司)在哥斯达黎加共和国圣何塞市签订了《哥斯达黎加湖畔华府项目施工合同》(以下简称《施工合同》),约定承包方为三栋各十四层综合商住楼施工。外经集团公司于2010年5月26日向中国建设银行股份有限公司安徽省分行(以下简称建行安徽省分行)提出申请,并以哥斯达黎加银行作为转开行,向作为受益人的东方置业公司开立履约保函,保证事项为哥斯达黎加湖畔华府项目。2010年5月28日,哥斯达黎加银行开立编号为G051225的履约保函,担保人为建行安徽省分行,委托人为外经集团公司,受益人为东方置业公司,担保金额为2008000美元,有效期至2011年10月12日,后延期至2012年2月12日。保函说明:无条件的、不可撤销的、必须的、见索即付的保函。执行此保函需要受益人给哥斯达黎加银行中央办公室外贸部提交一式两份的证明文件,指明执行此保函的理由,另外由受益人出具公证过的声明指出通知外经中美洲公司因为违约而产生此请求的日期,并附上保函证明原件和已经出具过的修改件。建行安徽省分行同时向哥斯达黎加银行开具编号为34147020000289的反担保函,承诺自收到哥斯达黎加银行通知后二十日内支付保函项下的款项。反担保函是“无条件的、不可撤销的、随时要求支付的”,并约定“遵守国际商会出版的458号《见索即付保函统一规则》”。
In the performance of the Construction Contract, on January 23, 2012, architects Jose Brenes and Mauricio Mora issued the Project Construction Inspection Report, which determined that there were “poor construction” and “inferior quality” in the construction project and circumstances where modification or repair was required. On February 7, 2012, with Oriental S.A. as the respondent, Chinafecc Central América S.A. submitted an arbitration claim to the Dispute Resolution Center of the Union of Architects and Engineers in Costa Rica, alleged that Oriental S.A. was in arrears of the payable project funds for the completed construction and the corresponding interest, and requested the rescission of the Construction Contract and the adjudication on Oriental S.A.'s compensation for losses. On February 8, Oriental S.A. submitted to Bank of Costa Rica such guarantee payment documents as the statement on the claim, the notice on breach of contract, and the Project Construction Inspection Report and required the performance of guarantee. On February 10, Bank of Costa Rica issued to Anhui Branch of CCB a teletext, stating that Oriental S.A. raised a claim for payment of the fund of USD2,008,000 under the bank guarantee (No. G051225) and Bank of Costa Rica thus required that Anhui Branch of CCB should pay the aforesaid fund before February 16, 2012. On February 12, upon application of Chinafecc Central América S.A., the No. 2 Tribunal of the Administrative Litigation Court of the Republic of Costa Rica issued the injunction of interim protection measure and ruled that Bank of Costa Rica should suspend the performance of the performance guarantee (No. G051225). 《施工合同》履行过程中,2012年1月23日,建筑师 Jose Brenes和Mauricio Mora出具《项目工程检验报告》。该报告认定了施工项目存在“施工不良”“品质低劣”且需要修改或修理的情形。2012年2月7日,外经中美洲公司以东方置业公司为被申请人向哥斯达黎加建筑师和工程师联合协会争议解决中心提交仲裁请求,认为东方置业公司拖欠应支付之已完成施工量的工程款及相应利息,请求解除合同并裁决东方置业公司赔偿损失。2月8日,东方置业公司向哥斯达黎加银行提交索赔声明、违约通知书、违约声明、《项目工程检验报告》等保函兑付文件,要求执行保函。2月10日,哥斯达黎加银行向建行安徽省分行发出电文,称东方置业公司提出索赔,要求支付G051225号银行保函项下2008000美元的款项,哥斯达黎加银行进而要求建行安徽省分行须于2012年2月16日前支付上述款项。2月12日,应外经中美洲公司申请,哥斯达黎加共和国行政诉讼法院第二法庭下达临时保护措施禁令,裁定哥斯达黎加银行暂停执行G051225号履约保函。
On February 23, AFECC filed a lawsuit about dispute over guarantee fraud with the Intermediate People's Court of Hefei City, Anhui Province and applied for suspending the payment of the fund under the guarantees (No. G051225 and No. 34147020000289). On February 27, the court of first instance entered a ruling (No. 00005-1 [2012], First, Civil Division IV, IPC, Hefei) that the payment of the fund under the guarantees (No. G051225 and No. 34147020000289) should be suspended. On February 28, it served the aforesaid ruling upon Anhui Branch of CCB. On February 29, Anhui Branch of CCB sent a teletext to Bank of Costa Rica and notified Bank of Costa Rica of the matters in the ruling and on the same day, it mailed the duplicate of the aforesaid ruling to Bank of Costa Rica. On March 5, Bank of Costa Rica received the duplicate of the aforesaid ruling. 2月23日,外经集团公司向合肥市中级人民法院提起保函欺诈纠纷诉讼,同时申请中止支付G051225号保函、34147020000289号保函项下款项。一审法院于2月27日作出(2012)合民四初字第00005-1号裁定,裁定中止支付G051225号保函及34147020000289号保函项下款项,并于2月28日向建行安徽省分行送达了上述裁定。2月29日,建行安徽省分行向哥斯达黎加银行发送电文告知了一审法院已作出的裁定事由,并于当日向哥斯达黎加银行寄送了上述裁定书的复印件,哥斯达黎加银行于3月5日收到上述裁定书复印件。
On March 6, the No. 2 Tribunal of the Administrative Litigation Court of the Republic of Costa Rica entered a judgment that Chinafecc Central América S.A. lost the lawsuit regarding its application for the preventive measure and the injunction of interim protection measure was relieved. On March 20, as required by Bank of Costa Rica, Anhui Branch of CCB extended the validity term of the guarantee (No. 34147020000289). On March 21, Bank of Costa Rica paid Oriental S.A. the fund under the guarantee (No. G051225). 3月6日,哥斯达黎加共和国行政诉讼法院第二法庭判决外经中美洲公司申请预防性措施败诉,解除了临时保护措施禁令。3月20日,应哥斯达黎加银行的要求,建行安徽省分行延长了34147020000289号保函的有效期。 3月21日,哥斯达黎加银行向东方置业公司支付了G051225号保函项下款项。
On July 9, 2013, the Union of Architects and Engineers in Costa Rica entered an arbitral award, which determined that Oriental S.A. has seriously breached the contract in the performance of contract and ruled to terminate the Construction Contract, Oriental S.A. should pay Chinafecc Central América S.A. the progress payments for projects No. 1 to No. 18, a total of USD800,058.45 and the interest thereof; since the project No. 19 was not accepted by the developer, the relevant claim for the project fund was not supported; since the fund under the guarantee (No. G051225) has been paid, the claim of Chinafecc Central América S.A. for returning the guarantee should not be supported. 2013年7月9日,哥斯达黎加建筑师和工程师联合协会做出仲裁裁决,该仲裁裁决认定东方置业公司在履行合同过程中严重违约,并裁决终止《施工合同》,东方置业公司向外经中美洲公司支付1号至18号工程进度款共计800058.45美元及利息;第19号工程因未获得开发商验收,相关工程款请求未予支持;因G051225号保函项下款项已经支付,不支持外经中美洲公司退还保函的请求。
Judgment 裁判结果
On April 9, 2014, the Intermediate People's Court of Hefei City, Anhui Province entered a Civil Judgment (No. 00005 [2012], First, Civil Division IV, IPC, Hefei) that: (1) the claim of Oriental S.A. against the performance guarantee (No. G051225) constituted a fraud; (2) Anhui Branch of CCB should terminate the payment of the fund of USD2,008,000 under the bank guarantee (No. 34147020000289) to Bank of Costa Rica; and (3) other claims of AFECC should be dismissed. Oriental S.A. refused to accept the judgment of first instance and appealed. On March 19, 2015, the Higher People's Court of Anhui Province entered a Civil Judgment (No. 00389 [2014], Final, Civil Division II, HPC, Anhui) to dismiss the appeal and affirm the original judgment. Oriental S.A. refused to accept the judgment of second instance and filed an application for retrial with the Supreme People's Court. On December 14, 2016, the Supreme People's Court entered a Civil Judgment (No. 134 [2017], Retrial, Civil Division, SPC) that: (1) the Civil Judgment (No. 00389 [2014], Final, Civil Division II, HPC, Anhui) entered by the Higher People's Court of Anhui Province and the Civil Judgment (No. 00005 [2012], First, Civil Division IV, IPC, Hefei) entered by the Intermediate People's Court of Hefei City, Anhui Province should be set aside; and (2) the claims of AFECC should be dismissed. 安徽省合肥市中级人民法院于2014年4月9日作出(2012)合民四初字第00005号民事判决:一、东方置业公司针对G051225号履约保函的索赔行为构成欺诈;二、建行安徽省分行终止向哥斯达黎加银行支付编号为34147020000289的银行保函项下2008000美元的款项;三、驳回外经集团公司的其他诉讼请求。东方置业公司不服一审判决,提起上诉。安徽省高级人民法院于2015年3月19日作出(2014)皖民二终字第00389号民事判决:驳回上诉,维持原判。东方置业公司不服二审判决,向最高人民法院申请再审。最高人民法院于2017年12月14日作出(2017)最高法民再134号民事判决:一、撤销安徽省高级人民法院(2014)皖民二终字第00389号、安徽省合肥市中级人民法院(2012)合民四初字第00005号民事判决;二、驳回外经集团公司的诉讼请求。
Judgment's Reasoning 裁判理由
The Supreme People's Court held that, first, with respect to issues concerning the basis for identifying a case about independent guarantee fraud, jurisdiction, and application of law involved in this case. Since the habitual residences of the parties to the dispute involved, Oriental S.A. and Bank of Costa Rica, were not within the territory of China and this case was about foreign-related commercial dispute. In accordance with the provisions of Article 8 of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Choice of Law for Foreign-Related Civil Relationships (hereinafter referred to as the “the Law on Choice of Law for Foreign-Related Civil Relationships”) that “The law of the court shall apply to the determination on the nature of foreign-related civil relations,” as the parent company of Chinafecc Central América S.A. in China, AFECC was the applicant for issuance of the guarantee involved. It filed an application with Anhui Branch of CCB for issuing a counter demand guarantee to Bank of Costa Rica, which then reissued a performance guarantee to the beneficiary Oriental S.A. In accordance with the text of the guarantee, the payment obligations of Bank of Costa Rica and Anhui Branch of CCB were independent from the underlying transaction relation and the legal relation of guarantee application. Therefore, the aforesaid guarantee may be determined as an independent demand guarantee and the aforesaid counter guarantee may be determined as an independent counter demand guarantee. AFECC filed a lawsuit with the court of first instance on the ground of guarantee fraud and the nature of this case was dispute over guarantee fraud. The independent counter guarantee, the payment of which was claimed to be suspended, was issued by Anhui Branch of CCB and the place where Anhui Branch of CCB was located should be determined as the place where the tort occurred. As a court in the place where the tort occurred, the court of first instance had jurisdiction over this case. Since it was specified in the guarantee involved that the Uniform Rules for Demand Guarantees should apply, it should be determined that the content of the aforesaid Rules constituted a component of the guarantee in dispute. In accordance with the provisions of Article 44 of the Law on Choice of Law for Foreign-Related Civil Relationships that “the laws at the place of tort shall apply to liabilities for tort,” the laws of the People's Republic of China should apply to the standards for determination of a guarantee fraud not involved in the Uniform Rules for Demand Guarantees. Since China does not join the United Nations Convention on Independent Guarantees and Stand-by Letters of Credit and the parties in this case did not agree on the application of the aforesaid Convention or include the relevant content of the aforesaid Convention in the guarantee as the international trading rules, under the principle of autonomy, the United Nations Convention on Independent Guarantees and Stand-by Letters of Credit should not apply. 最高人民法院认为:第一,关于本案涉及的独立保函欺诈案件的识别依据、管辖权以及法律适用问题。本案争议的当事方东方置业公司及哥斯达黎加银行的经常居所地位于我国领域外,本案系涉外商事纠纷。根据《中华人民共和国涉外民事关系法律适用法来自北大法宝》第八条“涉外民事关系的定性,适用法院地法”的规定,外经集团公司作为外经中美洲公司在国内的母公司,是涉案保函的开立申请人,其申请建行安徽省分行向哥斯达黎加银行开立见索即付的反担保保函,由哥斯达黎加银行向受益人东方置业公司转开履约保函。根据保函文本内容,哥斯达黎加银行与建行安徽省分行的付款义务均独立于基础交易关系及保函申请法律关系,因此,上述保函可以确定为见索即付独立保函,上述反担保保函可以确定为见索即付独立反担保函。外经集团公司以保函欺诈为由向一审法院提起诉讼,本案性质为保函欺诈纠纷。被请求止付的独立反担保函由建行安徽省分行开具,该分行所在地应当认定为外经集团公司主张的侵权结果发生地。一审法院作为侵权行为地法院对本案具有管辖权。因涉案保函载明适用《见索即付保函统一规则》,应当认定上述规则的内容构成争议保函的组成部分。根据《中华人民共和国涉外民事关系法律适用法》第四十四条“侵权责任,适用侵权行为地法律”的规定,《见索即付保函统一规则》未予涉及的保函欺诈之认定标准应适用中华人民共和国法律。我国没有加入《联合国独立保证与备用信用证公约》,本案当事人亦未约定适用上述公约或将公约有关内容作为国际交易规则订入保函,依据意思自治原则,《联合国独立保证与备用信用证公约》不应适用。
Second, with respect to the issue concerning whether the beneficiary Oriental S.A. had preliminary evidence under the underlying contract to prove that its claim had factual basis. 第二,关于东方置业公司作为受益人是否具有基础合同项下的初步证据证明其索赔请求具有事实依据的问题。
When the people's court tried a case involving an independent guarantee and a counter guarantee related to the independent guarantee, in the review of underlying transactions, the people's court should follow the principle of limitation and necessity and the scope of review should be limited to whether the beneficiary knew that the opposing party of the underlying contract did not breach the contract under the underlying contract or did not commit other act resulting in payment of the fund under the independent guarantee. Otherwise, the review of the underlying contract would shake the institutional value of independent guarantee, namely, “demand guarantee.” 人民法院在审理独立保函及与独立保函相关的反担保案件时,对基础交易的审查,应当坚持有限原则和必要原则,审查的范围应当限于受益人是否明知基础合同的相对人并不存在基础合同项下的违约事实或者不存在其他导致独立保函付款的事实。否则,对基础合同的审查将会动摇独立保函“见索即付”的制度价值。
In accordance with the provisions of Article 68 of the Opinions of the Supreme People's Court on Several Issues concerning the Implementation of the General Principles of the Civil Law of the People's Republic of China (for Trial Implementation), a fraud is mainly manifested as making up facts and concealing truth. According to the facts found in the retrial, Bank of Costa Rica issued a performance guarantee (No. G051225), specifying that to perform this guarantee, the following documents should be submitted: the credential with grounds for performing the guarantee, the date when Chinafecc Central América S.A. was notified of performing the guarantee claim, the original guarantee and the issued modified version. Since AFECC alleged that the act of Oriental S.A. constituted a fraud under the independent guarantee, it should produce evidence to prove that Oriental S.A. committed any of the following acts in the performance of the independent guarantee: (1) Oriental S.A. submitted a false or forged document in the claim; or (2) the claim of Oriental S.A. totally had no factual basis or reliable basis. In this case, what was guaranteed under the guarantee included “quality and tolerance of materials used in the construction, losses arising from compensation, and/or compensation for the contractor's failure to perform obligations.” In other words, what was guaranteed under the guarantee included construction quality and other behaviors breaching the contract. Therefore, the beneficiary only needed to submit the preliminary evidence on the existence of construction quality problems so as to satisfy the requirement for performance of the guarantee, namely, “the credential indicating the grounds for performing the guarantee.” In the performance of the underlying contract, on January 23, 2012, Jose Brenes and Mauricio Mora, project supervisors of Oriental S.A., issued the Project Construction Inspection Report, which determined that there were “poor construction” and “inferior quality” in the construction project and circumstances where modification or repair was required. Therefore, the Project Construction Inspection Report was preliminary evidence proving that there were construction quality problems. 根据《最高人民法院关于贯彻执行〈中华人民共和国民法通则〉若干问题的意见(试行)》第六十八条的规定,欺诈主要表现为虚构事实与隐瞒真相。根据再审查明的事实,哥斯达黎加银行开立编号为G051225的履约保函,该履约保函明确规定了实现保函需要提交的文件为:说明执行保函理由的证明文件、通知外经中美洲公司执行保函请求的日期、保函证明原件和已经出具过的修改件。外经集团公司主张东方置业公司的行为构成独立保函项下的欺诈,应当提交证据证明东方置业公司在实现独立保函时具有下列行为之一:1.为索赔提交内容虚假或者伪造的单据;2.索赔请求完全没有事实基础和可信依据。本案中,保函担保的是“施工期间材料使用的质量和耐性,赔偿或补偿造成的损失,和/或承包方未履行义务的赔付”,意即,保函担保的是施工质量和其他违约行为。因此,受益人只需提交能够证明存在施工质量问题的初步证据,即可满足保函实现所要求的“说明执行保函理由的证明文件”。本案基础合同履行过程中,东方置业公司的项目监理人员Jose Brenes和Mauricio Mora于2012年1月23日出具《项目工程检验报告》。该报告认定了施工项目存在“施工不良”、“品质低劣”且需要修改或修理的情形,该《项目工程检验报告》构成证明存在施工质量问题的初步证据。
In the Construction Contract and under the guarantee, the parties involved did not explicitly agree that the Project Construction Inspection Report should be submitted to Bank of Costa Rica for performing the guarantee. Therefore, Oriental S.A. had the right to independently determine the type of credential “indicating the grounds for performing the guarantee” submitted to Bank of Costa Rica and whether it submitted the Project Construction Inspection Report to Bank of Costa Rica did not affect the exercise of rights under the guarantee. In addition, the Construction Contract and the guarantee did not stipulate that the aforesaid Report must be issued by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) or personnel with international membership of the AIA. Therefore, whether Jose Brenes and Mauricio Mora had the international membership of the AIA did not affect their issuance of the Project Construction Inspection Report as project supervisors of the contract-issuing party. AFECC knew that Jose Brenes and Mauricio Mora were project supervisors of the contract-issuing party and it recognized the identities of Jose Brenes and Mauricio Mora as project supervisors when they issued the Project Construction Inspection Report and received the project funds. AFECC used evidence it recognized that could prove the identities of Jose Brenes and Mauricio Mora as project supervisors as reverse proof that the Project Construction Inspection Report issued by Jose Brenes and Mauricio Mora was false, which was not logically self-consistent. Since AFECC failed to produce other evidence to prove that Oriental S.A.'s performance of the guarantee involved totally lacked factual basis or Oriental S.A. submitted false or forged document, Oriental S.A.'s application to Bank of Costa Rica for realizing the guarantee rights had legal basis. 本案当事方在《施工合同》中以及在保函项下并未明确约定实现保函时应向哥斯达黎加银行提交《项目工程检验报告》,因此,东方置业公司有权自主选择向哥斯达黎加银行提交“证明执行保函理由”之证明文件的类型,其是否向哥斯达黎加银行提交该报告不影响其保函项下权利的实现。另外,《施工合同》以及保函亦未规定上述报告须由AIA国际建筑师事务所或者具有美国建筑师协会国际会员身份的人员出具,因此,JoseBrenes和Mauricio Mora是否具有美国建筑师协会国际会员身份并不影响其作为发包方的项目监理人员出具《项目工程检验报告》。外经集团公司对Jose Brenes和Mauricio Mora均为发包方的项目监理人员身份是明知的,在其出具《项目工程检验报告》并领取工程款项时对Jose Brenes和Mauricio Mora的监理身份是认可的,其以自身认可的足以证明Jose Brenes和Mauricio Mora监理身份的证据反证Jose Brenes和Mauricio Mora出具的《项目工程检验报告》虚假,逻辑上无法自洽。因外经集团公司未能提供其他证据证明东方置业公司实现案涉保函完全没有事实基础或者提交虚假或伪造的文件,东方置业公司据此向哥斯达黎加银行申请实现保函权利具有事实依据。
In conclusion, the Project Construction Inspection Report was preliminary evidence proving the breach of contract committed by AFECC under the underlying contract and the evidence produced by AFECC was insufficient to prove that the aforesaid Report was false or forged and that Oriental S.A. required the performance of the guarantee knowing that the opposing party to the underlying contract did not breach the contract under the underlying contract or carry out other act resulting in the payment of the fund under the independent guarantee. On the basis of AFECC's breach of contract under the underlying contract and in accordance with the stipulations of the contract, Oriental S.A.'s claim for exercise of rights under the independent guarantee did not constitute a guarantee fraud. 综上,《项目工程检验报告》构成证明外经集团公司基础合同项下违约行为的初步证据,外经集团公司提供的证据不足以证明上述报告存在虚假或者伪造,亦不足以证明东方置业公司明知基础合同的相对人并不存在基础合同项下的违约事实或者不存在其他导致独立保函付款的事实而要求实现保函。东方置业公司基于外经集团公司基础合同项下的违约行为,依据合同的规定,提出实现独立保函项下的权利不构成保函欺诈。
Third, with respect to whether the breach of contract by the beneficiary of the independent guarantee under the underlying contract necessarily constituted a fraudulent claim under the independent guarantee. 第三,关于独立保函受益人基础合同项下的违约情形,是否必然构成独立保函项下的欺诈索款问题。
In the view of AFECC, in accordance with the provisions of items (3), (4), and (5) of Article 12 of the Provisions of the Supreme People's Court on Several Issues concerning the Trial of Independent Guarantee Dispute Cases (hereinafter referred to as the “judicial interpretation on independent guarantees”), it should be determined that the act of Oriental S.A. constituted an independent guarantee fraud. In accordance with the provisions of Article 25 of the judicial interpretation on independent guarantees, upon interpretation in the court trial, AFECC still insisted that the handling of this case should not violate the spirit of the judicial interpretation on independent guarantees. In light of AFECC's allegation, the Supreme People's Court further interpreted the aforesaid relevant issues involving the judicial interpretation on independent guarantees. 外经集团公司认为,根据《最高人民法院关于审理独立保函纠纷案件若干问题的规定》(以下简称独立保函司法解释)第十二条第三项、第四项、第五项,应当认定东方置业公司构成独立保函欺诈。根据独立保函司法解释第二十五条的规定,经庭审释明,外经集团公司仍坚持认为本案处理不应违反独立保函司法解释的规定精神。结合外经集团公司的主张,最高人民法院对上述涉及独立保函司法解释的相关问题作出进一步阐释。
An independent guarantee was independent of the underlying transaction between the principal and the beneficiary. The bank issuing the independent guarantee was only responsible for reviewing whether the documents submitted by the beneficiary conformed to the stipulations of the guarantee clauses and it had the right to decide whether to make payment. The guarantor bank's payment obligation was not affected by the rights of defense of the principal and the beneficiary under the underlying transactions. When Oriental S.A. produced the preliminary evidence proving the existence of construction quality problems as the beneficiary, even though it did not initiate any of such dispute resolution procedures as litigation or arbitration and confirm that the opposing party breached the contract upon the aforesaid procedure, the realization of Oriental S.A.'s guarantee rights was not affected. Even though there was an ongoing litigation or arbitration procedure for the underlying contract, as long as the final determination that the underlying transaction debtor was not liable for payment or compensation was not made in the relevnat dispute resolution procedure, it did not affect the realization of guarantee rights of the beneficiary, either. In a word, even though an effective judgment or arbitral award determined that the act of the beneficiary constituted breach of contract under the underlying contract, such breach of contract was not necessarily the necessary and sufficient condition for the constitution of a guarantee “fraud.” 独立保函独立于委托人和受益人之间的基础交易,出具独立保函的银行只负责审查受益人提交的单据是否符合保函条款的规定并有权自行决定是否付款,担保行的付款义务不受委托人与受益人之间基础交易项下抗辩权的影响。东方置业公司作为受益人,在提交证明存在工程质量问题的初步证据时,即使未启动任何诸如诉讼或者仲裁等争议解决程序并经上述程序确认相对方违约,都不影响其保函权利的实现。即使基础合同存在正在进行的诉讼或者仲裁程序,只要相关争议解决程序尚未做出基础交易债务人没有付款或者赔偿责任的最终认定,亦不影响受益人保函权利的实现。进而言之,即使生效判决或者仲裁裁决认定受益人构成基础合同项下的违约,该违约事实的存在亦不必然成为构成保函“欺诈”的充分必要条件。
In this case, the guaranteed matters in the guarantee included construction quality and other acts of breaching of contract and there was no causal relationship in logic between the beneficiary's breach of contract for failing to pay the project fund and the construction quality problem. The breach of contract of Oriental S.A. as the beneficiary in the performance of the underlying contract did not necessarily constitute a fraudulent claim under the independent guarantee. In accordance with the provisions of item (3) of Article 12 of the judicial interpretation on independent guarantee, the requirement for determination of an independent guarantee fraud was limited to that “the debtor under the underlying transaction is deemed to be free of payment or indemnity liability by the court decision or arbitral award.” Therefore, unless otherwise agreed in the guarantee, the review of the underlying contract should be limited to performance matters within the scope of the guarantee and we should be prudent when incorporating whether the beneficiary breached the contract in the underlying contract into the review scope of a guarantee fraud. Although the Union of Architects and Engineers in Costa Rica entered an arbitral award, which determined that Oriental S.A. breached the contract in the performance of the contract, the aforesaid arbitration procedure was launched by AFECC on February 7, 2012, Oriental S.A. raised no counter claim, the arbitral award entered on July 9, 2013 determined that Oriental S.A. breached the contract only with respect to the claim matter of AFECC and it did not determine that AFECC was exempted from the obligation for payment or compensation due to the opposing party's breach of contract. Therefore, it could not be determined according to the aforesaid arbitral award that the act of Oriental S.A. constituted a guarantee fraud as prescribed in item (3) of Article 12 of the judicial interpretation on independent guarantees. 本案中,保函担保的事项是施工质量和其他违约行为,而受益人未支付工程款项的违约事实与工程质量出现问题不存在逻辑上的因果关系,东方置业公司作为受益人,其自身在基础合同履行中存在的违约情形,并不必然构成独立保函项下的欺诈索款。独立保函司法解释第十二条第三项的规定内容,将独立保函欺诈认定的条件限定为“法院判决或仲裁裁决认定基础交易债务人没有付款或赔偿责任”,因此,除非保函另有约定,对基础合同的审查应当限定在保函担保范围内的履约事项,在将受益人自身在基础合同中是否存在违约行为纳入保函欺诈的审查范围时应当十分审慎。虽然哥斯达黎加建筑师和工程师联合协会做出仲裁裁决,认定东方置业公司在履行合同过程中违约,但上述仲裁程序于2012年2月7日由外经集团公司发动,东方置业公司并未提出反请求,2013年7月9日做出的仲裁裁决仅针对外经集团公司的请求事项认定东方置业公司违约,但并未认定外经集团公司因对方违约行为的存在而免除付款或者赔偿责任。因此,不能依据上述仲裁裁决的内容认定东方置业公司构成独立保函司法解释第十二条第三项规定的保函欺诈。
In addition, the fact that both parties had dispute over the project quality and some descriptions of project quality issues in the Arbitral Award issued by the Dispute Resolution Center of the Union of Architects and Engineers in Costa Rica could support each other. The obligations of Chinafecc Central América S.A. under the Construction Contract have not been fully performed and this case did not fall under the circumstances where Oriental S.A. confirmed the full performance of the underlying transaction debts or the non-occurrence of due payment. Nor could the existing evidence prove that Oriental S.A. knowingly abused the right of claim for payment while it did not possess such right. As the beneficiary, Oriental S.A. breached the contract in the performance of the underlying contract. Although the arbitral award confirmed such breach of contract, AFECC's obligation for payment or compensation was not thus exempted. In conclusion, even if the judicial interpretation on independent guarantees applied according to the allegation of AFECC, the circumstances in this case did not constitute a guarantee fraud. 另外,双方对工程质量发生争议的事实以及哥斯达黎加建筑师和工程师联合协会争议解决中心作出的《仲裁裁决书》中涉及工程质量问题部分的表述能够佐证,外经中美洲公司在《施工合同》项下的义务尚未完全履行,本案并不存在东方置业公司确认基础交易债务已经完全履行或者付款到期事件并未发生的情形。现有证据亦不能证明东方置业公司明知其没有付款请求权仍滥用权利。东方置业公司作为受益人,其自身在基础合同履行中存在的违约情形,虽经仲裁裁决确认但并未因此免除外经集团公司的付款或者赔偿责任。综上,即使按照外经集团公司的主张适用独立保函司法解释,本案情形亦不构成保函欺诈。
Fourth, with respect to the independent counter guarantee related to the independent guarantee involved in this case. 第四,关于本案涉及的与独立保函有关的独立反担保函问题。
Based on the characteristics of an independent guarantee, besides the debtor, the guarantor was liable for direct payment to the beneficiary and there was no subordination between the independent guarantee and the principal debts in terms of the right of defense. Even though the debtor exercised the right of defense in certain dispute resolution procedure, it did not necessarily enable the independent guarantor to obtain the benefit of the defense. In addition, even though there were circumstancesof fraudulent demand by the beneficiary under the independent guarantee, it could not be presumed that the act of the guarantor bank constituted a fraudulent demand under the independent counter guarantee. Only when the guarantor bank knew that the beneficiary was making fraudulent demands for payment and violated, and claimed the payment of fund under the independent counter guarantee to the counter guarantor bank, could it be determined that the guarantor bank constituted a fraudulent demand under the independent counter guarantee. 基于独立保函的特点,担保人于债务人之外构成对受益人的直接支付责任,独立保函与主债务之间没有抗辩权上的从属性,即使债务人在某一争议解决程序中行使抗辩权,并不当然使独立担保人获得该抗辩利益。另外,即使存在受益人在独立保函项下的欺诈性索款情形,亦不能推定担保行在独立反担保函项下构成欺诈性索款。只有担保行明知受益人系欺诈性索款且违反诚实信用原则付款,并向反担保行主张独立反担保函项下款项时,才能认定担保行构成独立反担保函项下的欺诈性索款。
Since AFECC filed this lawsuit on the ground of a guarantee fraud, it should bear the burden of proving that Bank of Costa Rica knew that there were circumstances of independent guarantee fraud committed by Oriental S.A., still made a payment in violation of the principle of good faith , and then raised a claim for payment of the fund under the demand counter guarantee in the identity of the beneficiary, and its act constituted a fraudulent demand under the counter guarantee. Now, AFECC was not only unable to prove that Bank of Costa Rica committed a fraud in its payment of the fund under the independent guarantee to Oriental S.A., but also failed to prove that Bank of Costa Rica committed a fraudulent demand under the independent counter guarantee. Therefore, its claim for suspended payment of the fund under the independent counter guarantee lacked factual basis. 外经集团公司以保函欺诈为由提起本案诉讼,其应当举证证明哥斯达黎加银行明知东方置业公司存在独立保函欺诈情形,仍然违反诚信原则予以付款,并进而以受益人身份在见索即付独立反担保函项下提出索款请求并构成反担保函项下的欺诈性索款。现外经集团公司不仅不能证明哥斯达黎加银行向东方置业公司支付独立保函项下款项存在欺诈,亦没有举证证明哥斯达黎加银行在独立反担保函项下存在欺诈性索款情形,其主张止付独立反担保函项下款项没有事实依据。
(Judges of the effective judgment: Chen Jizhong, Yang Honglei, and Yang Xingye) (生效裁判审判人员:陈纪忠、杨弘磊、杨兴业)
Guiding Case No. 110 指导案例110号
Nanhai Rescue Bureau of the Ministry of Transport v. Archangelos Investments E.N.E. and Shanghai Representative Office of Hong Kong Andaousen Co., Ltd. (dispute over a salvage contract) 交通运输部南海救助局诉阿昌格罗斯投资公司、香港安达欧森有限公司上海代表处海难救助合同纠纷案
(Issued on February 25, 2019 as deliberated and adopted by the Judicial Committee of the Supreme People's Court) (最高人民法院审判委员会讨论通过 2019年2月25日发布)
Keywords 关键词
Civil; salvage contract; employed salvage; salvage reward 民事/海难救助合同/雇佣救助/救助报酬
Key Points of Judgment 裁判要点
1. The International Convention on Salvage 1989 and the Maritime Law of the People's Republic of China (hereinafter referred to as the “Maritime Law”) prescribe the principle of “no cure, no pay” for salvage contracts, but they allow the parties to separately agree on the salvage reward. If the parties explicitly agree that the party salved should pay reward no matter whether the salvage is successful and the input per HP hour and the manual input for the salvage of the salved vessel should serve as the standards for calculating the salvage reward, the contract is an employed salvage contract rather than a salvage contract as prescribed in the aforesaid international convention and the Maritime Law. 1.《1989年国际救助公约》和我国海商法规定救助合同“无效果无报酬”,但均允许当事人对救助报酬的确定可以另行约定。若当事人明确约定,无论救助是否成功,被救助方均应支付报酬,且以救助船舶每马力小时和人工投入等作为计算报酬的标准时,则该合同系雇佣救助合同,而非上述国际公约和我国海商法规定的救助合同。
2. Where there are no specific provisions on an employed salvage contract in the International Convention on Salvage 1989 and the Maritime Law, the relevant provisions of the Contract Law should apply to determine the rights and obligations of the parties. 2.在《1989年国际救助公约》和我国海商法对雇佣救助合同没有具体规定的情况下,可以适用我国合同法的相关规定确定当事人的权利义务。
Legal Provisions 相关法条
Articles 8 and 107 of the Contract Law of the People's Republic of China 中华人民共和国合同法》第8条、第107条
Article 179 of the Maritime Law of the People's Republic of China 中华人民共和国海商法》第179条
Basic Facts 基本案情
The Nanhai Rescue Bureau of the Ministry of Transport (hereinafter referred to as the “Nanhai Rescue Bureau”) alleged that: After the oil tanker “Archangelos Gabriel” got stranded in the Qiongzhou Strait, authorized by Archangelos Investments E.N.E. (hereinafter referred to as “Archangelos Investments”), the Nanhai Rescue Bureau provided such services as salvage, transport, and guarding, but Archangelos Investments has not paid the salvage reward yet. The Nanhai Rescue Bureau requested the Guangzhou Maritime Court to order that Archangelos Investments and Shanghai Representative Office of Hong Kong Andaousen Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as the “Shanghai Representative Office”) should jointly and severally pay the salvage reward of CNY7,240,998.24 and the interest thereof. 交通运输部南海救助局(以下简称南海救助局)诉称:“加百利”轮在琼州海峡搁浅后,南海救助局受阿昌格罗斯投资公司(以下简称投资公司)委托提供救助、交通、守护等服务,但投资公司一直未付救助费用。请求法院判令投资公司和香港安达欧森有限公司上海代表处(以下简称上海代表处)连带支付救助费用7240998.24元及利息。
The Guangzhou Maritime Court found upon trial that “Archangelos Gabriel” owned by Archangelos Investments was a Greek oil tanker, which carried 54,580 tons of Cabinda crude oil. Around 05:00 on August 12, 2011, the tanker got stranded nearby the north water channel of the Qiongzhou Strait and both the tanker and the carried goods were in danger, which has seriously endangered the environmental safety of the waters. After the accident occurred, Archangelos Investments immediately authorized the Shanghai Representative Office to send an emergency email to the Nanhai Rescue Bureau on matters concerning the stranding of the tanker “Archangelos Gabriel,” requested the Nanhai Rescue Bureau to arrange two towing vessels to provide salvage services according to its experience, and consented to the quotation of the Nanhai Rescue Bureau. 法院经审理查明:投资公司所属“加百利”轮系希腊籍油轮,载有卡宾达原油54580吨。2011年8月12日5时左右在琼州海峡北水道附近搁浅,船舶及船载货物处于危险状态,严重威胁海域环境安全。事故发生后,投资公司立即授权上海代表处就“加百利”轮搁浅事宜向南海救助局发出紧急邮件,请南海救助局根据经验安排两艘拖轮进行救助,并表示同意南海救助局的报价。
Around 20:40 on August 12, the Shanghai Representative Office submitted a letter of authorization to the Nanhai Rescue Bureau through an email, authorized the Nanhai Rescue Bureau to dispatch the vessels “Nanhai Rescue 116” and “Nanhai Rescue 101” to the scene for assisting in refloating the tanker “Archangelos Gabriel,” and promised that it consented to pay the bill at the rate of CNY3.2 per HP per hour no matter whether the Nanhai Rescue Bureau succeeded in assisting in the refloating, the billing cycle started from getting the towing vessels on duty ready at the standby location to notifying the task completion by the Shanghai Representative Office and returning to the original standby location. The vessels “Nanhai Rescue 116” and “Nanhai Rescue 101” were only responsible for conducting towing operation and it was unnecessary for the Nanhai Rescue Bureau to be liable for any accident occurring in the process of refloating of the tanker “Archangelos Gabriel.” In addition, the Shanghai Representative Office requested the Nanhai Rescue Bureau to dispatch a team of divers to the tanker “Archangelos Gabriel” to conduct exploration and the fees were as follows: CNY10,000 for land dispatch; CNY55,000 for water traffic; CNY40,000 per eight hours for operation, with the billing cycle starting from the divers' boarding the commuter to the debarkation after completing the operation and leaving the commuter. On August 13, Archangelos Investments also put forward the rental of the vessel “Nanhai Rescue 201” to transport two representatives from Haikou to the tanker “Archangelos Gabriel.” The Nanhai Rescue Bureau sent an email to the Shanghai Representative Office, stating that the rate of the vessel “Nanhai Rescue 201” was CNY1.5 per HP per hour and the total fee would be calculated according to the rental duration. 8月12日20:40,上海代表处通过电子邮件向南海救助局提交委托书,委托南海救助局派出“南海救116”轮和“南海救101”轮到现场协助“加百利”轮出浅,承诺无论能否成功协助出浅,均同意按每马力小时3.2元的费率付费,计费周期为拖轮自其各自的值班待命点备车开始起算至上海代表处通知任务结束、拖轮回到原值班待命点为止。“南海救116”轮和“南海救101”轮只负责拖带作业,“加百利”轮脱浅作业过程中如发生任何意外南海救助局无需负责。另,请南海救助局派遣一组潜水队员前往“加百利”轮探摸,费用为:陆地调遣费10000元;水上交通费55000元;作业费每8小时40000元,计费周期为潜水员登上交通船开始起算,到作业完毕离开交通船上岸为止。8月13日,投资公司还提出租用“南海救201”轮将其两名代表从海口运送至“加百利”轮。南海救助局向上海代表处发邮件称,“南海救201”轮费率为每马力小时1.5元,根据租用时间计算总费用。
At the same time, in order to prevent the dangerous situation from further deteriorating and causing marine pollution, the Zhanjiang Maritime Bureau decided to adopt the measure of compulsory lightering, deloading, and refloating against the tanker “Archangelos Gabriel.” Upon organization and arrangement of the Zhanjiang Maritime Bureau, on August 8, the tanker “Archangelos Gabriel” successfully got refloated by making use of high tides and it afterwards safely arrived at the destination port, Qinzhou Port of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. 与此同时,为预防危险局面进一步恶化造成海上污染,湛江海事局决定对“加百利”轮采取强制过驳减载脱浅措施。经湛江海事局组织安排,8月18日“加百利”轮利用高潮乘潮成功脱浅,之后安全到达目的港广西钦州港。
The salvage activities in which the Nanhai Rescue Bureau was actually engaged were as follows: 南海救助局实际参与的救助情况如下:
The vessel “Nanhai Rescue 116” owned by the Nanhai Rescue Bureau had the gross tonnage of 3,681 tons and the gross power of 9,000 kw (12,240 HP). After the vessel “Nanhai Rescue 116” arrived at the scene of the accident, according to the instructions of Archangelos Investments, it has been guarding “Archangelos Gabriel” for a total of 155.58 hours. 南海救助局所属“南海救116”轮总吨为3681,总功率为9000千瓦(12240马力)。“南海救116”轮到达事故现场后,根据投资公司的指示,一直在事故现场对“加百利”轮进行守护,共工作155.58小时。
The vessel “Nanhai Rescue 101” owned by the Nanhai Rescue Bureau had the gross tonnage of 4,091 tons and the gross power of 13,860 kw (18,850 HP). This vessel made a return voyage before arriving at the scene of the accident. The Nanhai Rescue Bureau claimed that the working hours of this vessel were 13.58. 南海救助局所属“南海救101”轮总吨为4091,总功率为13860千瓦(18850马力)。该轮未到达事故现场即返航。南海救助局主张该轮工作时间共计13.58小时。
The vessel “Nanhai Rescue 201” owned by the Nanhai Rescue Bureau had the gross tonnage of 552 tons and the gross power of 4,480 kw (6,093 HP). On August 13, this vessel transported two shipowner's representatives to board the stranded tanker, with the working time of 7.83 hours. On August 16, this vessel transported the relevant personnel and equipment to board the stranded tanker, with the working time of 7.75 hours. On August 18, this vessel transported the relevant personnel and luggage to board the stranded tanker, with the working time of 8.83 hours. 南海救助局所属“南海救201”轮总吨为552,总功率为4480千瓦(6093马力)。8月13日,该轮运送2名船东代表登上搁浅船,工作时间为7.83小时。8月16日,该轮运送相关人员及设备至搁浅船,工作时间为7.75小时。8月18日,该轮将相关人员及行李运送上过驳船,工作时间为8.83小时。
The divers did not actually conduct the underwater operation, with the working time of 8 hours. 潜水队员未实际下水作业,工作时间为8小时。
It was also found that the salvage value of the tanker involved was USD30,531,856, that of the goods was USD48,053,870, and the salvage value of the tanker invovled accounted for 38.85% of the entire salvage value. 另查明涉案船舶的获救价值为30531856美元,货物的获救价值为48053870美元,船舶的获救价值占全部获救价值的比例为38.85%。
Judgment 裁判结果
On March 28, 2014, the Guangzhou Maritime Court entered a Civil Judgment (No. 898 [2012], First, Guangzhou) that: (1) Archangelos Investments should pay the Nanhai Rescue Bureau the salvage reward of CNY6,592,913.58 and the interest thereof; and (2) other claims of the Nanhai Rescue Bureau should be dismissed. Archangelos Investments refused to accept the judgment of first instance and appealed. On June 16, 2015, the Higher People's Court of Guangdong Province entered a Civil Judgment (No. 117 [2014], Final, Civil Division IV, HPC, Guangdong) that: (1) The Civil Judgment (No. 898 [2012], First, Guangzhou) entered by the Guangzhou Maritime Court should be set aside; (2) Archangelos Investments should pay the Nanhai Rescue Bureau the salvage reward of CNY2,561,346.93 and the interest thereof; and (3) other claims of the Nanhai Rescue Bureau should be dismissed. The Nanhai Rescue Bureau refused to accept the judgment of second instance and filed an application for retrial with the Supreme People's Court. On July 7, 2016, the Supreme People's Court entered a Civil Judgment (No. 61 [2016], Retrial, Civil Division, SPC) that: (1) the Civil Judgment (No. 117 [2014], Final, Civil Division IV, HPC, Guangdong) entered by the Higher People's Court of Guangdong Province should be set aside; and (2) the Civil Judgment (No. 898 [2012], First, Guangzhou) entered by the Guangzhou Maritime Court should be affirmed. 广州海事法院于2014年3月28日作出(2012)广海法初字第898号民事判决:一、投资公司向南海救助局支付救助报酬6592913.58元及利息;二、驳回南海救助局的其他诉讼请求。投资公司不服一审判决,提起上诉。广东省高级人民法院于2015年6月16日作出(2014)粤高法民四终字第117号民事判决:一、撤销广州海事法院(2012)广海法初字第898号民事判决;二、投资公司向南海救助局支付救助报酬2561346.93元及利息;三、驳回南海救助局的其他诉讼请求。南海救助局不服二审判决,申请再审。最高人民法院于2016年7月7日作出(2016)最高法民再61号民事判决:一、撤销广东省高级人民法院(2014)粤高法民四终字第117号民事判决;二、维持广州海事法院(2012)广海法初字第898号民事判决。
Judgment's Reasoning 裁判理由
The Supreme People's Court held that, this case was about dispute over a salvage contract. China joined the International Convention on Salvage 1989 (hereinafter referred to as the “Convention on Salvage”) and the purposes of the Convention on Salvage should be followed in this case. Since Archangelos Investments was a Greek company and “Archangelos Gabriel” was a Greek oil tanker, this case involved foreign elements. In the proceedings, all parties unanimously chose the law of the People's Republic of China. In accordance with the provisions of Article 3 of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Choice of Law for Foreign-Related Civil Relationships, the law of the People's Republic of China should apply in the trial of this case. As a special law for adjusting the relations arising from the carriage by sea and relations of vessels, the Maritime Law should preferentially apply. Where there are no provisions in the Maritime Law, the Contract Law of the People's Republic of China and other relevant laws should apply. 最高人民法院认为,本案系海难救助合同纠纷。中华人民共和国加入了《1989年国际救助公约》(以下简称救助公约),救助公约所确立的宗旨在本案中应予遵循。因投资公司是希腊公司,“加百利”轮为希腊籍油轮,本案具有涉外因素。各方当事人在诉讼中一致选择适用中华人民共和国法律,根据《中华人民共和国涉外民事关系法律适用法》第三条的规定,适用中华人民共和国法律对本案进行审理。我国海商法作为调整海上运输关系、船舶关系的特别法,应优先适用。海商法没有规定的,适用我国合同法等相关法律的规定。
Salvage is a conventional international maritime legal system and there are special provisions on salvage in both the Convention on Salvage and the Maritime Law. Article 12 of the Convention on Salvage and Article 179 of the Maritime Law prescribe the salvage reward payment principle of “no cure, no pay” and Article 13 of the Convention on Salvage and Articles 180 and 183 of the Maritime Law further prescribe the reward evaluation standards and the specific assumption based on this principle. The aforesaid clauses are specific provisions on a salvage contract where the parties determine the salvage reward based on the principle of “no cure, no pay.” At the same time, both the Convention on Salvage and the Maritime Law allow the parties to separately agree on the determination of the salvage reward. Therefore, besides a salvage contract governed by the principle of “no cure, no pay” as prescribed in the Convention on Salvage and the Maritime Law, an employed salvage contract may also be formed according to the agreement of the parties. 海难救助是一项传统的国际海事法律制度,救助公约和我国海商法对此作了专门规定。救助公约第十二条、海商法一百七十九条规定了“无效果无报酬”的救助报酬支付原则,救助公约第十三条海商法一百八十条及第一百八十三条在该原则基础上进一步规定了报酬的评定标准与具体承担。上述条款是对当事人基于“无效果无报酬”原则确定救助报酬的海难救助合同的具体规定。与此同时,救助公约和我国海商法均允许当事人对救助报酬的确定另行约定。因此,在救助公约和我国海商法规定的“无效果无报酬”救助合同之外,还可以依当事人的约定形成雇佣救助合同。
On the basis of the facts found in this case, upon full consultation, Archangelos Investments and the Nanhai Rescue Bureau explicitly agreed that Archangelos Investments should pay the salvage reward no matter whether the salvage was successful and the Nanhai Rescue Bureau would not be liable for any accident arising from the refloating operation of the tanker “Archangelos Gabriel.” According to this stipulation, whether the Nanhai Rescue Bureau acquired the salvage reward had no direct relation with whether the salvage has produced actual effect. The salvage reward was calculated based on the input per HP hour, the manual input, and the fixed rate and expenses agreed in advance and it had no direct relevance with the value of the salvage property. Therefore, the salvage contract invovled was not a salvage contract governed by the principle of “no cure, no pay” as prescribed in the Convention on Salvage and the Maritime Law and it was an employed salvage contract. 根据本案查明的事实,投资公司与南海救助局经过充分磋商,明确约定无论救助是否成功,投资公司均应支付报酬,且“加百利”轮脱浅作业过程中如发生任何意外,南海救助局无需负责。依据该约定,南海救助局救助报酬的获得与否和救助是否有实际效果并无直接联系,而救助报酬的计算,是以救助船舶每马力小时,以及人工投入等事先约定的固定费率和费用作为依据,与获救财产的价值并无关联。因此,本案所涉救助合同不属于救助公约和我国海商法所规定的“无效果无报酬”救助合同,而属雇佣救助合同。
There were no specific provisions on the conditions and standards for reward payment under an employed salvage contract in the Convention on Salvage and the Maritime Law. According to the relevant factors as prescribed in Article 180 of the Maritime Law, the courts of first instance and second instance adjusted the fixed rate as agreed by both parties in the employed salvage contract, which was erroneous in the application of law. The rights and obligations of the parties to this case should be regulated and determined in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Contract Law. It was not inappropriate for the Nanhai Rescue Bureau to demand Archangelos Investments' payment of the salvage reward in full amount according to the contract concluded by and between it and Archangelos Investments. 关于雇佣救助合同下的报酬支付条件及标准,救助公约和我国海商法并未作具体规定。一、二审法院依据海商法一百八十条规定的相关因素对当事人在雇佣救助合同中约定的固定费率予以调整,属适用法律错误。本案应依据我国合同法的相关规定,对当事人的权利义务予以规范和确定。南海救助局以其与投资公司订立的合同为依据,要求投资公司全额支付约定的救助报酬并无不当。
In conclusion, the court of second instance used the amount of salvage reward determined in the judgement of first instance as the base and ordered that Archangelos Investments should pay the salvage reward according to the proportion of the value of the salved tanker in the total value of the salved property, which was erroneous in both the application of law and the handling results and should be corrected. Although the judgment of first instance was erroneous in the application of law, the adjustment in the relevant rate in the judgment of first instance was based on the contractual stipulations of the parties, the Nanhai Rescue Bureau did not exercise the relevant litigation rights or raise an objection and the results of the judgment of first instance may be affirmed. 综上,二审法院以一审判决确定的救助报酬数额为基数,依照海商法的规定,判令投资公司按照船舶获救价值占全部获救财产价值的比例支付救助报酬,适用法律和处理结果错误,应予纠正。一审判决适用法律错误,但鉴于一审判决对相关费率的调整是以当事人的合同约定为基础,南海救助局对此并未行使相关诉讼权利提出异议,一审判决结果可予维持。
(Judges of the effective judgment: He Rong, Zhang Yongjian, Wang Shumei, Yu Xiaohan, and Guo Zaiyu) (生效裁判审判人员:贺荣、张勇健、王淑梅、余晓汉、郭载宇)
Guiding Case No. 111 指导案例111号
Liwan Subbranch, Guangzhou Branch of China Construction Bank Co., Ltd. v. Guangdong Lanyue Energy Development Co., Ltd. et al. (dispute over issuance of a letter of credit) 中国建设银行股份有限公司广州荔湾支行诉广东蓝粤能源发展有限公司等信用证开证纠纷案
(Issued on February 25, 2019 as deliberated and adopted by the Judicial Committee of the Supreme People's Court) (最高人民法院审判委员会讨论通过 2019年2月25日发布)
Keywords 关键词
Civil; issuance of a letter of credit; bill of lading; true intention; pledge of rights; priority of compensation 民事/信用证开证/提单/真实意思表示/权利质押/优先受偿权
Key Points of Judgment 裁判要点
1. Whether the holder of a bill of lading obtains the real right due to the delivery of the accepted bill of lading and which type of real right it obtains depend on the contractual stipulations of the parties. When the issuing bank holds the bill of lading in accordance with the contractual stipulations between it and the applicant, the people's court should, in light of the characteristics of the letter of credit transactions, make reasonable interpretation of the contract invovled and determine the true intentions of the issuing bank for holding the bill of lading. 1.提单持有人是否因受领提单的交付而取得物权以及取得何种类型的物权,取决于合同的约定。开证行根据其与开证申请人之间的合同约定持有提单时,人民法院应结合信用证交易的特点,对案涉合同进行合理解释,确定开证行持有提单的真实意思表示。
2. Where the issuing bank enjoys the pledge right of the bill of lading and the goods under the bill of lading in the documents under the letter of credit, the means by which the issuing bank exercises the pledge right of the bill of lading should be the same as that for exercising the pledge right of movable property under the bill of lading. In other words, the issuing bank enjoys the priority of compensation from the proceeds arising from the discount, disposal, and auction of the goods under the bill of lading. 2.开证行对信用证项下单据中的提单以及提单项下的货物享有质权的,开证行行使提单质权的方式与行使提单项下货物动产质权的方式相同,即对提单项下货物折价、变卖、拍卖后所得价款享有优先受偿权。
Legal Provisions 相关法条
Article 71 of the Maritime Law of the People's Republic of China 中华人民共和国海商法》第71条
Article 224 of the Property Law of the People's Republic of China 中华人民共和国物权法》第224条
Paragraph 1 of Article 80 of the Contract Law of the People's Republic of China 中华人民共和国合同法》第80条第1款
Basic Facts 基本案情
In December 2011, Liwan Subbranch, Guangzhou Branch of China Construction Bank Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “Liwan Branch of CCB”) and Guangdong Lanyue Energy Development Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “Lanyue Energy Company”) concluded a Contract for Trade Financing Quota, a Special Agreement on Issuance of a Letter of Credit, and other relevant appendixes. It was stipulated that Liwan Subbranch provided Lanyue Energy Company with the trade financing quota not exceeding CNY550 million, including issuance of a usance letter of credit (“L/C”) with equivalent quota. Huilai Yuedong Electric Power Fuel Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “Yuedong Electric Power Company”) and other guarantors concluded guarantee contracts. In November 2012, Lanyue Energy Company filed an application with Liwan Subbranch of CCB for issuing a usance L/C of CNY85.92 million. For the purpose of issuing the L/C, Lanyue Energy Company submitted the Trust Receipt to Liwan Subbranch of CCB and they concluded a Contract for the Pledge of Margins. The Trust Receipt confirmed that from the date of issuance of the receipt, Liwan Subbranch of CCB obtained the ownership of documents and goods invovled under the aforesaid L/C, Liwan Subbranch of CCB was the settler and beneficiary, and Lanyue Energy Company was the trustee of the trusted goods. After the issuance of the L/C, Lanyue Energy Company imported 164,998 tons of coal. Liwan Subbranch of CCB accepted the L/C and granted a loan of CNY84,867,952.27 to Lanyue Energy Company, which was used by Lanyue Energy Company to pay back the advance payment for the L/C issued by Seoul Branch of CCB. After performing the obligations of issuing the L/C and making payment, Liwan Subbranch of CCB obtained the full set of documents, including the bill of lading involved. Due to deterioration of business operations, Lanyue Energy Company failed to make payment against the documents. Therefore, in the trial of this case, Liwan Subbranch of CCB still held the bill of lading and the relevant documents. The coal under the bill of lading was seized by the People's Court of Gangkou District, Fangchenggang City, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region due to other disputes. Liwan Subbranch filed this lawsuit with the Intermediate People's Court of Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province and requested the Court to order that Lanyue Energy Company should pay Liwan Subbranch of CCB the principal of the advance payment for the L/C of CNY84,867,952.27 and the interest thereof; confirm that 164,998 tons of coal under the L/C were owned by Liwan Subbranch of CCB and Liwan Subbranch of CCB enjoyed the preferential repayment for the debts under the aforesaid L/C with proceeds arising from the disposal of such coal; and Yuedong Electric Power Company and other guarantors should assume the guarantee liability. 中国建设银行股份有限公司广州荔湾支行(以下简称建行广州荔湾支行)与广东蓝粤能源发展有限公司(以下简称蓝粤能源公司)于2011年12月签订了《贸易融资额度合同》及《关于开立信用证的特别约定》等相关附件,约定该行向蓝粤能源公司提供不超过5.5亿元的贸易融资额度,包括开立等值额度的远期信用证。惠来粤东电力燃料有限公司(以下简称粤东电力)等担保人签订了保证合同等。2012年11月,蓝粤能源公司向建行广州荔湾支行申请开立8592万元的远期信用证。为开立信用证,蓝粤能源公司向建行广州荔湾支行出具了《信托收据》,并签订了《保证金质押合同》。《信托收据》确认自收据出具之日起,建行广州荔湾支行即取得上述信用证项下所涉单据和货物的所有权,建行广州荔湾支行为委托人和受益人,蓝粤能源公司为信托货物的受托人。信用证开立后,蓝粤能源公司进口了164998吨煤炭。建行广州荔湾支行承兑了信用证,并向蓝粤能源公司放款84867952.27元,用于蓝粤能源公司偿还建行首尔分行的信用证垫款。建行广州荔湾支行履行开证和付款义务后,取得了包括本案所涉提单在内的全套单据。蓝粤能源公司因经营状况恶化而未能付款赎单,故建行广州荔湾支行在本案审理过程中仍持有提单及相关单据。提单项下的煤炭因其他纠纷被广西防城港市港口区人民法院查封。建行广州荔湾支行提起诉讼,请求判令蓝粤能源公司向建行广州荔湾支行清偿信用证垫款本金84867952.27元及利息;确认建行广州荔湾支行对信用证项下164998吨煤炭享有所有权,并对处置该财产所得款项优先清偿上述信用证项下债务;粤东电力等担保人承担担保责任。
Judgment 裁判结果
On April 21, 2014, the Intermediate People's Court of Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province entered a Civil Judgment (No. 158 [2013], First, Civil Division, IPC, Guangzhou), which supported the claim of Liwan Subbranch of CCB that Lanyue Energy Company should repay the principal and interest and the guarantors should assume the corresponding guarantee liability. However, on the ground that the delivery of the Trust Receipt and the bill of lading could not be used against a third party, the Intermediate People's Court of Guangzhou City rejected the claim of Liwan Subbranch of CCB for confirmation of the coal ownership and the priority of compensation. Liwan Subbranch of CCB refused to accept the judgment of first instance and appealed. On September 19, 2012, the Higher People's Court of Guangdong Province entered a Civil Judgment (No. 45 [2014], Final, Civil Division II, HPC, Guangdong) to dismiss the appeal and affirm the original judgment. Liwan Subbranch of CCB refused to accept the judgment of second instance and filed an application for retrial with the Supreme People's Court. On October 19, 2015, the Supreme People's Court entered a Civil Judgment (No. 126 [2015], Review, Civil Division, SPC), which supported the claim of Liwan Subbranch of CCB that it enjoyed the priority of compensation from the proceeds arising from the disposal of goods in the bill of lading under the L/C involved and dismissed the claim of Liwan Subbranch of CCB that it enjoyed the ownership of the goods under the bill of lading involved. 广东省广州市中级人民法院于2014年4月21日作出(2013)穗中法金民初字第158号民事判决,支持建行广州荔湾支行关于蓝粤能源公司还本付息以及担保人承担相应担保责任的诉请,但以信托收据及提单交付不能对抗第三人为由,驳回建行广州荔湾支行关于请求确认煤炭所有权以及优先受偿权的诉请。建行广州荔湾支行不服一审判决,提起上诉。广东省高级人民法院于2014年9月19日作出(2014)粤高法民二终字第45号民事判决,驳回上诉,维持原判。建行广州荔湾支行不服二审判决,向最高人民法院申请再审。最高人民法院于2015年10月19日作出(2015)民提字第126号民事判决,支持建行广州荔湾支行对案涉信用证项下提单对应货物处置所得价款享有优先受偿权,驳回其对案涉提单项下货物享有所有权的诉讼请求。
Judgment's Reasoning 裁判理由
The Supreme People's Court held that a bill of lading had dual attributes including certificate of creditor's rights and certificate of ownership, but it did not mean that the holder of a bill of lading would necessarily enjoy the ownership of the goods under the bill of lading. As for the holder of the bill of lading, whether it could obtain the real right and which type of real right it could obtain depended on the contractual stipulations of the parties. Liwan Subbranch of CCB has performed the obligations of issuing the L/C and making payment and obtained the bill of lading under the L/C. However, since the parties had no intention of transferring the ownership of goods, it could not be deemed that Liwan Subbranch of CCB obtained the ownership of goods under the bill of lading once it obtained the bill of lading. Although it was stipulated in the Trust Receipt that Liwan Subbranch of CCB obtained the ownership of goods and it entrusted Lanyue Energy Company with disposing of the goods under the bill of lading, according to the statutory principle of real rights, such stipulation could not produce the effect of real rights since it constituted transfer of guarantee. However, although the stipulation on transfer of guarantee could not produce the effect of real rights, it still had the effect of contract and it was stipulated in the Special Agreement on the Issuance of a Letter of Credit that when Lanyue Energy Company breached the contract, Liwan Subbranch of CCB had the right to dispose of the documents and goods under the L/C. Therefore, according to the overall interpretation of the contract and characteristics of L/C trading, the true intentions of the parties were to set pledge of the bill of lading through the transfer of the bill of lading. This case satisfied two essential conditions for the establishment of pledge of rights, namely, a written pledge contract and a publication of real rights. As the holder of the bill of lading, Liwan Subbranch of CCB enjoyed the right of pledge of the bill of lading. Where Liwan Subbranch of CCB's right of pledge of the bill of lading conflicted with other creditors' possible rights of goods under the bill of lading, including the right of lien and the right of pledge of movable property, they may be legally settled in the execution of the distribution procedure. 最高人民法院认为,提单具有债权凭证和所有权凭证的双重属性,但并不意味着谁持有提单谁就当然对提单项下货物享有所有权。对于提单持有人而言,其能否取得物权以及取得何种类型的物权,取决于当事人之间的合同约定。建行广州荔湾支行履行了开证及付款义务并取得信用证项下的提单,但是由于当事人之间没有移转货物所有权的意思表示,故不能认为建行广州荔湾支行取得提单即取得提单项下货物的所有权。虽然《信托收据》约定建行广州荔湾支行取得货物的所有权,并委托蓝粤能源公司处置提单项下的货物,但根据物权法定原则,该约定因构成让与担保而不能发生物权效力。然而,让与担保的约定虽不能发生物权效力,但该约定仍具有合同效力,且《关于开立信用证的特别约定》约定蓝粤能源公司违约时,建行广州荔湾支行有权处分信用证项下单据及货物,因此根据合同整体解释以及信用证交易的特点,表明当事人真实意思表示是通过提单的流转而设立提单质押。本案符合权利质押设立所须具备的书面质押合同和物权公示两项要件,建行广州荔湾支行作为提单持有人,享有提单权利质权。建行广州荔湾支行的提单权利质权如果与其他债权人对提单项下货物所可能享有的留置权、动产质权等权利产生冲突的,可在执行分配程序中依法予以解决。
(Judges of the effective judgment: Liu Guixiang, Liu Min, and Gao Xiaoli) (生效裁判审判人员:刘贵祥、刘敏、高晓力)
Guiding Case No. 112 指导案例112号
Case of Application for Establishment of the Funds for Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims by Astk Co., Ltd. 阿斯特克有限公司申请设立海事赔偿责任限制基金案
(Issued on February 25, 2019 as deliberated and adopted by the Judicial Committee of the Supreme People's Court) (最高人民法院审判委员会讨论通过 2019年2月25日发布)
Keywords 关键词
Civil; funds for limitation of liability for maritime claims; principle of accidents; one accident; multiple accidents 民事/海事赔偿责任限制基金/事故原则/一次事故/多次事故
Key Points of Judgment 裁判要点
Article 212 of the Maritime Law specifies that the limitation of liability for maritime claims should be governed by the principle of “one quota for one accident and multiple quotas for multiple accidents.” The key to judge one accident or multiple accidents is whether the accidents are arising from the same cause. If multiple accidents are arising from the same cause and the chain of causes is not interrupted, it should be determined as one accident. If the chain of causes is interrupted and another accident occurs, it should be determined that a new and independent accident is formed. 海商法二百一十二条确立海事赔偿责任限制实行“一次事故,一个限额,多次事故,多个限额”的原则。判断一次事故还是多次事故的关键是分析事故之间是否因同一原因所致。如果因同一原因发生多个事故,且原因链没有中断的,应认定为一次事故。如果原因链中断并再次发生事故,则应认定为形成新的独立事故。
Legal Provisions 相关法条
Article 212 of the Maritime Law of the People's Republic of China 中华人民共和国海商法》第212条
Basic Facts 基本案情
Astk Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “Astk Company”) filed an application with the Tianjin Maritime Court and claimed that its vessel “Saaraon” has received claims for aquaculture damage. With respect to the non-personal casualty losses caused by this accident, as the owner of the vessel “Saaraon,” Astk Company applied for establishing the fund of limitation of liability for maritime claims and the liability limit was the special drawing right (SDR) of CNY422,510 and the interest thereof from June 5, 2014 to the date of the establishment of the fund. 阿斯特克有限公司向天津海事法院提出申请称,其所属的“艾侬”轮收到养殖损害索赔请求。对于该次事故所造成的非人身伤亡损失,阿斯特克有限公司作为该轮的船舶所有人申请设立海事赔偿责任限制基金,责任限额为422510特别提款权及该款项自2014年6月5日起至基金设立之日止的利息。
Many farmers raised objections as interested persons and they deemed that Astk Company should separately establish limitation funds rather than establish one fund for the whole voyage. 众多养殖户作为利害关系人提出异议,认为阿斯特克有限公司应当分别设立限制基金,而不能就整个航次设立一个限制基金。
The Tianjin Maritime Court found that the owner of the Korean vessel “Saaraon” involved was Astk Company, with the gross tonnage of 2,030 tons. On June 5, 2014, on the way of loading from Qinhuangdao Port to Tianjin Port, the vessel “Saaraon” sailed into aquaculture areas in the waters of Changli County and Laoting County, Hebei Province, causing aquaculture losses of the relevant farmers. 法院查明:涉案船舶韩国籍“艾侬”轮的所有人为阿斯特克有限公司,船舶总吨位为2030吨。2014年6月5日,“艾侬”轮自秦皇岛开往天津港装货途中,在河北省昌黎县、乐亭县海域驶入养殖区域,造成了相关养殖户的养殖损失。
It was also found that the vessel “Saaraon” used the British Admiralty Chart (No. 1249) (hereinafter referred to as the “B.A. Chart”) when the accident in this case occurred and the B.A. Chart has indicated that aquaculture areas have been set in the waters where the accident occurred. For the purpose of executing the preset route for the voyage invovled, the vessel invovled sailed through the aquaculture areas. 另查明,“艾侬”轮在本案损害事故发生时使用英版1249号海图,该海图已标明本案损害事故发生的海域设置了养殖区,并划定了养殖区范围。涉案船舶为执行涉案航次所预先设定的航线穿越该养殖区。
It was also found that the distance between the aquaculture areas of Guo Jinwu and Liu Haizhong was about 500 meters, which took about 2 minutes for the vessel invovled to sail; and the distance between the aquaculture areas of Liu Haizhong and Li Weiguo, and other persons was about 9,000 meters, which took about 30 minutes for the vessel invovled to sail. 再查明,郭金武与刘海忠的养殖区相距约500米左右,涉案船舶航行时间约2分钟;刘海忠与李卫国等人的养殖区相距约9000米左右,涉案船舶航行时间约30分钟。
Judgment 裁判结果
On November 10, 2014, the Tianjin Maritime Court entered a civil ruling (No. 1 [2014], Limitation, Tianjin) that: (1) The application of Astk Company for establishing the fund of limitation of liability for maritime claims should be approved. (2) The amount of the fund of limitation of liability for maritime claims should be the SDR of CNY422,510 and the interest thereof (calculated from June 5, 2014 to the date of the establishment of the fund at the benchmark interest rate for loans granted by financial institutions over the same period of time as determined by the People's Bank of China). (3) Astk Company should, within three days after this ruling came into force, establish the fund of limitation of liability for maritime claims with RMB or guarantee recognized by the Court (the RMB amount of the fund should be calculated according to the methods of conversion between the SDR at the effective date of the ruling and RMB). Where the fund was not established within the prescribed time limit, it should be handled as automatic withdrawal of the application. Guo Jinwu and Liu Haizhong refused to accept the ruling of first instance and appealed to the Higher People's Court of Tianjin Municipality. On January 19, 2015, the Higher People's Court of Tianjin Municipality entered a civil ruling (No. 10 [2015], Final, Civil Division IV, HPC, Tianjin) to dismiss the appeal and affirm the original judgment. Guo Jinwu, Liu Haizhong, Li Weiguo, Zhao Laijun, Qi Yongping, Li Jianyong, and Qi Xiukui refused to accept the ruling of second instance and applied for retrial. On August 10, 2015, the Supreme People's Court entered a civil ruling (No. 853 [2015], Petition, Civil Division, SPC) to retry this case and on September 29, 2015, the Supreme People's Court entered a civil ruling (No. 151 [2015], Review, Civil Division, SPC) that: (1) The civil ruling (No. 10 [2015], Final, Civil Division IV, HPC, Tianjin) entered by the Higher People's Court of Tianjin Municipality should be sedt aside. (2) The civil ruling (No. 1 [2014], Limitation, Tianjin) entered by the Tianjin Maritime Court should be set aside. (3) The application of Astk Company for establishing the fund of limitation of liability for maritime claims should be dismissed. 天津海事法院于2014年11月10日作出(2014)津海法限字第1号民事裁定:一、准许阿斯特克有限公司提出的设立海事赔偿责任限制基金的申请。二、海事赔偿责任限制基金数额为422510特别提款权及利息(利息自2014年6月5日起至基金设立之日止,按中国人民银行确定的金融机构同期一年期贷款基准利率计算)。三、阿斯特克有限公司应在裁定生效之日起三日内以人民币或法院认可的担保设立海事赔偿责任限制基金(基金的人民币数额按本裁定生效之日的特别提款权对人民币的换算办法计算)。逾期不设立基金的,按自动撤回申请处理。郭金武、刘海忠不服一审裁定,向天津市高级人民法院提起上诉。天津市高级人民法院于2015年1月19日作出(2015)津高民四终字第10号民事裁定:驳回上诉,维持原裁定。郭金武、刘海忠、李卫国、赵来军、齐永平、李建永、齐秀奎不服二审裁定,申请再审。最高人民法院于2015年8月10日作出(2015)民申字第853号民事裁定,提审本案,并于2015年9月29日作出(2015)民提字第151号民事裁定:一、撤销天津市高级人民法院(2015)津高民四终字第10号民事裁定。二、撤销天津海事法院(2014)津海法限字第1号民事裁定。三、驳回阿斯特克有限公司提出的设立海事赔偿责任限制基金的申请。
Judgment's Reasoning 裁判理由
The Supreme People's Court held that it was specified in Article 212 of the Maritime Law that the limitation of liability for maritime claims should follow the principle of accidents, namely, “one quota for one accident and multiple quotas for multiple accidents.” The key to judge one accident or multiple accidents was whether the accidents were arising from the same cause. If multiple accidents were arising from the same cause and the chain of causes was not interrupted, it should be determined as one accident. If the chain of causes was interrupted and there was a new cause intervening, the new cause and the new accident constituted a new causal relationship and a new and independent accident was formed. As far as this case was concerned, the B.A. Chart used by the vessel “Saaraon” has explicitly indicated the scope of the aquaculture areas, but its seamen still set the route to the aquaculture areas and the vessel “Saaraon” itself was at gross fault. Under the circumstance where the vessel involved foreknew that there may be large aquaculture areas in the waters it would sail through, it should strengthen the obligation of keeping a lookout to ensure the voyage safety and avoid collusion into the aquaculture areas and causing any loss. According to the trajectory of the vessel involved, it has actually sailed into the aquaculture area operated by Guo Jinwu. Considering that the damage accident occurred at noon and there was no such visual disturbance at night, if the seamen have prudently performed the obligation of sailing by keeping a lookout, they would have noticed the aquaculture floats hung on the sea. Under the circumstance where the Oceanic Bureau of Changli County produced evidence proving that Guo Jinwu has actually suffered the damage, it may be presumed that the seamen have not prudently performed the obligation of keeping a lookout, which caused the occurrence of the first tort. According to the trajectory, the vessel invovled soon afterwards sailed into the aquaculture area operated by Liu Haizhong. Since the aquaculture area operated by Guo Jinwu was adjacent to that operated by Liu Haizhong and there was a distance of only 500 meters between them, on the basis of the motion inertia and sailing rules of vessels, the vessel invovled failed to adopt reasonable measures to keep clear the aquaculture area operated by Liu Haizhong under such circumstance, causing the occurrence of the second tort. Based on the analysis of reasons, the two damaging acts were caused by the seamen's fault of failing to keep a lookout, which was the same cause and the chain of causes was not interrupted. Therefore, the two torts should be determined as one accident. After leaving the aquaculture area operated by Liu Haizhong, the vessel invovled sailed into open waters. After about half an hour's sailing of about 9,000 meters, the vessel involved entered the aquaculture areas operated by Li Weiguo and other persons, causing a damage accident again. Before entering the aquaculture areas operated by Li Weiguo and other persons, the seamen had more time to adjust the psychological states of negligent sailing and under the circumstance where they foreknew that there were aquaculture areas ahead, they should strengthen the performance of obligation of keeping a lookout to avoid causing damage again. It was obvious that the vessel invovled failed to perform the obligation of prudent sailing, causing the occurrence of the second damage accident. There was no relevance between these two accidents in terms of time and subjective state, the occurrence of the second accident was not the natural continuation of the first accident, and there was no causal relationship between these two accidents. The grounds of Astk Company that the seamen's psychological states for erroneously sailing into the aquaculture areas did not change in the whole course of accidents and the chain of causes were not interrupted were untenable. Although the two accidents were caused by the “cause of the same nature,” namely, seamen's negligent sailing, these two accidents were not arising from the “same cause.” According to the principle of “one quota for one accident,” the vessel invovled should separately establish different liability limitation funds for these two accidents. The courts of first instance and second instance failed to comprehensively investigate the locations of the aquaculture areas, the causal relationship of two accidents, and the psychological states of the parties. Their determination that the vessel invovled only caused one accident, allowing the vessel invovled to establish one fund of limitation of liability for maritime claims was erroneous and should be corrected according to the law. 最高人民法院认为,海商法二百一十二条确立海事赔偿责任限制实行事故原则,即“一次事故,一个限额,多次事故,多个限额”。判断一次还是多次事故的关键是分析两次事故之间是否因同一原因所致。如果因同一原因发生多个事故,但原因链没有中断,则应认定为一个事故。如果原因链中断,有新的原因介入,则新的原因与新的事故构成新的因果关系,形成新的独立事故。就本案而言,涉案“艾侬”轮所使用的英版海图明确标注了养殖区范围,但船员却将航线设定到养殖区,本身存在重大过错。涉案船舶在预知所经临的海域可能存在大面积养殖区的情形下,应加强瞭望义务,保证航行安全,避免冲撞养殖区造成损失。根据涉案船舶航行轨迹,涉案船舶实际驶入了郭金武经营的养殖区。鉴于损害事故发生于中午时分,并无夜间的视觉障碍,如船员谨慎履行瞭望和驾驶义务,应能注意到海面上悬挂养殖物浮球的存在。在昌黎县海洋局出具证据证明郭金武遭受实际损害的情形下,可以推定船员未履行谨慎瞭望义务,导致第一次侵权行为发生。依据航行轨迹,船舶随后进入刘海忠的养殖区,由于郭金武与刘海忠的养殖区毗邻,相距约500米,基于船舶运动的惯性及船舶驾驶规律,涉案船舶在当时情形下无法采取合理措施避让刘海忠的养殖区,致使第二次侵权行为发生。从原因上分析,两次损害行为均因船舶驶入郭金武养殖区之前,船员疏于瞭望的过失所致,属同一原因,且原因链并未中断,故应将两次侵权行为认定为一次事故。船舶驶离刘海忠的养殖区进入开阔海域,航行约9000米,时长约半小时后进入李卫国等人的养殖区再次造成损害事故。在进入李卫国等人的养殖区之前,船员应有较为充裕的时间调整驾驶疏忽的心理状态,且在预知航行前方还有养殖区存在的情形下,更应加强瞭望义务,避免再次造成损害。涉案船舶显然未尽到谨慎驾驶的义务,致使第二次损害事故的发生。两次事故之间无论从时间关系还是从主观状态均无关联性,第二次事故的发生并非第一次事故自然延续所致,两次事故之间并无因果关系。阿斯特克有限公司主张在整个事故发生过程中船员错误驶入的心理状态没有变化,原因链没有中断的理由不能成立。虽然两次事故的发生均因“同一性质的原因”,即船员疏忽驾驶所致,但并非基于“同一原因”,引起两次事故。依据“一次事故,一次限额”的原则,涉案船舶应分别针对两次事故设立不同的责任限制基金。一、二审法院未能全面考察养殖区的位置、两次事故之间的因果关系及当事人的主观状态,作出涉案船舶仅造成一次事故,允许涉案船舶设立一个基金的认定错误,依法应予纠正。
(Judges of the effective judgment: Wang Shumei, Fu Xiaoqiang, and Huang Xiwu)

 (生效裁判审判人员:王淑梅、傅晓强、黄西武)
     
     
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