北京仲裁委员会

对境外当事人送达仲裁文书/Service of arbitration documents on foreign parties

发布时间: 2020-1-15   供稿人:陈希佳

适当地送达仲裁文书以使当事人有适当的机会在仲裁程序中陈述其论据,是正当程序的基本要求。倘不符合此基本要求,可为撤销仲裁裁决的事由;在涉及跨境执行时,亦可为拒绝承认/ 认可及执行仲裁裁决的事由。因此,尽管查明被申请人的送达地址及适当地送达仲裁文书为申请人的责任,但在可能涉及缺席裁决时,包括仲裁机构以及仲裁庭,亦均特别审慎。

在为缺席裁决时,仲裁庭应在裁决中说明为何其认为缺席之当事人:(1)已受仲裁文书之适当地送达,知悉本仲裁程序在进行中;(2)已有合理的机会陈述其论据(例如其收到开庭通知书的日期距该通知书所载的开庭日期符合所适用仲裁规则所规定的期间要求);(3)缺席的当事人是否出于自身的选择而于仲裁程序缺席,并非因不可抗力等正当理由而无法出席。

在大多数的情况下,在大陆地区作出的仲裁裁决均顺利在香港及台湾获得执行;为说明对境外仲裁当事人适当送达的重要性,笔者分别说明香港及台湾的法院以被申请人未受适当送达为由拒绝执行的案例如下,以供参考:

(1)涉及在香港地区申请执行的案例。在楼外楼房地产咨询有限公司对何志兰([2015] HKCFI664; HCMP 3202/2013)一案中,广州仲裁委员会依据其仲裁规则采取邮政快递形式向某香港地区被申请人进行送达。该仲裁机构依据案件材料显示的地址第一次邮寄材料(含仲裁通知书)时,被申请人进行了签收。其后,该仲裁机构向相同地址邮寄开庭通知书时,中国邮政国际(地区)特快专递邮件详情单上的“收件人签名”的方格内有一个签名,但亦有一个写着“不到收,退回原处”的盖章。

该仲裁开庭通知书实际上退回了广州仲裁委员会。仲裁庭根据该案所适用的仲裁规则认为:该开庭通知书已被视为有效地送达被申请人,因为第一份仲裁通知书已成功地于该香港物业的地址送达。因此,仲裁庭在被申请人缺席的情况下进行仲裁聆讯(开庭),并作出了缺席裁决。、此后,在向香港法院申请执行裁决的过程中,被申请人以送达瑕疵为由提出异议,并声称其首次签收材料系偶然发生,主张其“并非居于该处”、该仲裁通知书于2013年5月10日寄抵该香港物业的地址时,其“刚巧视察正在该处进行的装修工程”。经过审理,香港地区高等法院认为,申请人的律师没有提出任何显示根据有关仲裁规则被当作为仲裁开庭通知的送达,可被视为就香港地区《仲裁条例》第95(2)条而言是实际聆讯通知的典据。因此,香港地区高等法院认为,在本案中,被申请人没有获得关于有关仲裁程序的恰当通知;或因其他理由而未能铺陈其论据,故不予执行该仲裁裁决。

(2)涉及在台湾地区申请执行的案例。关于对台湾地区当事人的送达,实务上常见中国大陆地区仲裁机构依据其仲裁规则采取邮政快递形式向台湾地区被申请人进行送达。例如,倘其采用EMS全球邮政特快专递服务,EMS 在台湾地区的合作单位为台湾地区中华邮政,故可在台湾地区中华邮政的网页上输入相关邮件号码以查得其投递的情况,先予说明。

在一件涉及向台湾法院申请认可及执行某上海仲裁委员会仲裁裁决的案件(台湾台北地方法院2017年度抗更二字第8号民事裁定、台湾高等法院2017年度非抗字第55号民事裁定)中,虽然上海仲裁委员会曾出具送达证明,内载:“本会受理的(2015) 沪仲案字第1188号案,仲裁庭已于2016年1月28日作出裁决。组庭和开庭通知书及裁决书已送达至被申请人苏州惠普绿能建材有限公司、张明吉、张忠和、高振益”,惟依所附EMS 寄件详情单复印件所示,其上“收件人签收”栏均未经收件人签章,申请人亦未检附其他递送仲裁申请书副本及其附件予被申请人之证明,故台湾法院认为抗告人(即原仲裁程序之被申请人)关于上海仲裁委员会未曾送达仲裁申请书副本及其附件予抗告人之主张,应堪采信,因此,认定系争裁决程序有悖于台湾地区的公共秩序及善良风俗,依台湾地区与大陆地区人民关系条例第74条之规定,不应予以裁定认可该仲裁裁决。

由上述二个案例可见适当送达以确保符合正当程序之要求的重要性,特别在涉及缺席裁决时,所涉仲裁程序之通知是否曾被适当送达予被申请人将是被申请人必然考虑的抗辩理由之一。在可能涉及跨境执行时,更宜了解可能之执行地的法院实务,以求周全。

作者:北京仲裁委员会/北京国际仲裁中心仲裁员、品诚梅森律师事务所合伙人暨中国区联合负责人陈希佳博士。北仲高级主管许捷对文章亦有贡献

Service of arbitration documents on foreign parties

It is a basic requirement of due process to give parties proper notice of arbitration proceedings so that the parties may have a reasonable opportunity to present their case. If such a basic requirement is not fulfilled, the award may become the subject of a successful challenge, and may not be recognized and enforced by a foreign court when the claimant seeks to enforce it in a foreign jurisdiction.

Therefore, when the tribunal has to proceed ex parte and render a default award, both the arbitration institution, if any, and the tribunal should exercise extra care; albeit it is normally the claimant's responsibility to provide the respondent's address and to properly serve arbitration documents on the respondent.

Before rendering a default award, the tribunal should explain in the award why it is of the view that the defaulting party: (1) has been given proper notice of the arbitration proceedings, and thus is fully aware that the arbitration is going on; (2) has been given a reasonable opportunity to present its case (for example, the period between the date of the respondent's receipt of the Notice of Hearing and the hearing date set out in the notice meets the minimum requirement provided in the applicable arbitration rules); and (3) has deliberately made a decision not to take part in the arbitration, instead of being circumscribed from participating in the proceedings owing to justifiable causes such as force majeure.

In most cases, mainland China awards have been recognized and enforced in Hong Kong and Taiwan. In order to illustrate the importance of proper service on foreign parties, two precedents (one from Hong Kong and the other from Taiwan jurisprudence), in which enforcement of the awards were refused owing to failure to properly serve arbitration documents on the respondents are analyzed below.

(1)Case relating to an application for enforcement in Hong Kong. In the case of 楼外楼房地产咨询有限公司对何志 兰 (Ms Ho) ([2015] HKCFI 664; HCMP 3202/2013), the Guangzhou Arbitration Commission tried to serve the arbitration documents on the respondent in Hong Kong by express mail under its arbitration rules. For the first mail, which included the Notice of Arbitration, the respondent had acknowledged its receipt of the documents by signing. Later, when the arbitration institution mailed the Notice of Hearing to the same address, there was a signature in the column of the “signature of the recipient” on the express courier information sheet delivered, but there was also a seal with the wording “rejected, return to the place of mailer”.

The Notice of Hearing was actually returned to Guangzhou Arbitration Commission. The arbitral tribunal held that the Notice of Hearing was deemed duly served on the respondent under the applicable arbitration rules, as the first Notice of Arbitration had been successfully served on the same address in Hong Kong. Accordingly, the arbitral tribunal heard the case ex parte, in the absence of the respondent, and rendered a default award.

Later, when the claimant sought enforcement of the award in a Hong Kong court, Ms Ho, the respondent, objected on the grounds of improper service. Ms Ho admitted to receiving the first mail, namely the Notice of Arbitration, but claimed that “the address was not her place of residence” and she “happened to be present at the time, at the address, for supervision of the renovation work being done there”, when the Notice of Arbitration was mailed to the address, on 10 May 2013.

Having heard arguments from both parties, the High Court of Hong Kong held that the counsel to the applicant failed to provide any evidence showing a deemedas-properly-served Notice of Hearing that under applicable arbitration rules can be regarded as a proper notice of the arbitration proceedings for the purpose of article 95(2) of the Hong Kong Arbitration Ordnance. Therefore, the High Court of Hong Kong refused to enforce the award on the grounds that the respondent was not given proper notice of the arbitral proceedings, or was otherwise unable to present its case.

(2)Case relating to an application for enforcement in Taiwan. As for service upon the parties concerning Taiwan, it is common practice for arbitration institutions in mainland China to serve upon the respondents in Taiwan by express post (China Post's EMS), according to their arbitration rules. If the EMS Global Postal Express Service is used, the partner of the EMS in Taiwan is Chunghwa Post. Therefore, it is possible to trace the service by entering tracking numbers on the website of Chunghwa Post, Taiwan.

In a case involving an application to a Taiwan court for recognition and enforcement of an arbitral award issued by the Shanghai Arbitration Commission (Civil Ruling of Taiwan Taipei District Court, case number: 2017 Kang Gong Er Zi No.8, and Civil Ruling of Taiwan High Court, case number: 2017 Fei Kang Zi No.55), although the Shanghai Arbitration Commission had issued a proof of service, in which it is provided that: “For the case (Hu Zhong Zi [2015] No.1188) accepted by this commission, the arbitral tribunal had rendered an award on 28 January 2016.

The Notice of Composition of Arbitral Tribunal, the Notice of Hearing, and the arbitral award had been served on the respondents, Suzhou Wellpool Green Energy & Building Material, Zhang Mingji, Zhang Zhonghe and Gao Zhenyi, respectively. However, the copy of the EMS delivery record indicated that no signature could be found in the column of “receipt by recipient”.

In addition, the applicant had not submitted any other evidence to prove that the Notice of Arbitration, including its attachments, had been properly served upon the respondents. Therefore, the Taiwan court upheld the objection by the applicant (namely, the respondent in the original arbitration proceedings) that the Shanghai Arbitration Commission did not serve a copy of the arbitration application and its attachments on the respondent.

As a result, the court believed that the arbitration proceedings were against the public order and good morals of Taiwan and refused to enforce the award in accordance with article 74 of the Act Governing Relations between the People of Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area.

The above-mentioned two precedents demonstrate the importance of proper service to ensure the requirement of due process is fulfilled. In particular, in the case of a default award, the respondent will always consider relying on an objection that it has not been given proper notice of the arbitral proceedings. When cross-jurisdiction enforcement may be involved, it is advisable to acquire a good understanding of relevant jurisprudence in possible place(s) of enforcement, to be on the safe side.

Helena Chen is an arbitrator of Beijing Arbitration Commission/Beijing International Arbitration Centre (BAC/BIAC), and partner and China joint head of office at Pinsent Masons. BAC/BIAC's senior manager, Terence Xu, also contributed to this article

因本合同引起的或与本合同有关的任何争议,均提请北京仲裁委员会/北京国际仲裁中心按照其仲裁规则进行仲裁。仲裁裁决是终局的,对双方均有约束力。
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