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Global Arbitration Review中国建设工程仲裁问答专章•第二期

信息来源:建领城达所  时间:2021-08-10  作者:建领城达所

编者按上海建领城达律师事务所主任周吉高律师受Global Arbitration Review(《环球仲裁评论》,简称GAR)邀请,为该杂志撰写中国建设工程仲裁问答专章。内容涵盖了建设工程合同履行、法律救济、仲裁程序等57个与中国建设工程仲裁实践密切相关的重要法律问题。建领城达根据中国大陆地区的现行法律规定、司法解释以及司法实践主流观点,对全部问题逐一作出了细致、专业、准确的回答,以期为境外的企业、律师以及仲裁员快速熟悉、了解中国建设工程仲裁法律实务提供指引和参考。“建领城达”公众号将对中国建设工程仲裁专章问答的全部内容进行分期推送,本文为第二期,以飨读者!

Force majeure and hardship 不可抗力、履行困难


Q9: What events of force majeure give rise to relief? Must they be unforeseeable and to whom? How far does the express or implied allocation of risk under the contract affect whether an event qualifies? Must the event have a permanent effect? Is impossibility in performing required or does a degree of difficulty suffice? Is relief available where only some obligations (eg, to make a single payment or carry out one aspect of the works) are affected or is a greater impact required? What relief is available and does it apply automatically? Can the rules be excluded by agreement?
有哪些不可抗力事件会产生救济?它们一定是不可预见的吗,不可预见是对谁来说?合同中明示或默示的风险分配在多大程度上影响了不可抗力事件的定性?该不可抗力事件必须有永久性的影响吗?合同履行不能是必需要件还是一定程度的履行上有难度就足够了?当只有一些义务(例如,支付一笔款项或实施工程的一个方面)受到影响是否可以获得救济,还是要有更大的影响才能满足?有什么可行的救济,是否自动适用?这些规则可以通过协议排除吗?
A9: In accordance with business practice, the following force majeure events will give rise to relief: natural disasters and social emergencies that are inevitable and insurmountable in the performance of the contract, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, plagues, riots, martial law, riots, wars, etc.

Under Chinese laws, force majeure events must be unforeseeable. In principle, ‘unforeseeable’ is for common people (ie, objective criteria). However, if there is evidence to prove that the parties to the contract are able to foresee the event, then the subjective criteria will be adopted exceptionally. In this situation, “unforeseeable” is for the parties to the contract.


Under Chinese laws, force majeure events shall be unforeseeable, unavoidable and insurmountable. This is an objective criterion, ie, it only requires a common person not able to foresee, avoid and overcome the event. Therefore, the risk allocation clause usually does not affect the qualification of force majeure events.


Force majeure events do not require permanent effects.


Impossibility in performing or a degree of difficulty is a necessary condition for exclusion of liability caused by force majeure, but not a necessary condition for a force majeure event itself.


Relief is available where only some obligations are affected.


As per article 590 of the Civil Code, if the contract cannot be performed due to force majeure, the contractor shall be partially or completely entitled to exclusion of liability due to the influence of force majeure. For example, the contractor can claim extensions of time to be excluded from liability for breach of the ‘time’ agreed in the contract. In practice, when (i) the permanent work is damaged, (ii) the equipment, materials and components are lost or damaged and (iii) the contractor has to pay the wages and acceleration costs during the period, the contractor can claim part of the costs. As per article 563 of the Civil Code, when the purpose of the contract cannot be realised due to force majeure events, parties to the contract may request to terminate the contract.


Relief cannot be applied automatically, and the parties affected by force majeure shall immediately notify the other party and bring claims within the agreed time limit.


Questions concerning whether these rules can be excluded by agreement is a subject of dispute, but it is generally believed that these rules cannot be excluded.


根据行业惯例,有如下不可抗力事件会产生救济: 在合同履行过程中不可避免且不能克服的自然灾害和社会性突发事件,如地震、海啸、瘟疫、骚乱、戒严、暴动、战争等。


在中国法下,它们一定是不可预见的,原则上不可预见是对于一般人而言的(即采用客观标准)。但如果有证据证明合同当事人的能力高于一般人的能力,此时,则例外采用主观标准,不可预见是针对合同当事人而言的。


在中国法下,不可抗力需要满足“三不”要件(不能预见、不能避免、不能克服),“三不”采用的是客观标准,即以一般人的预见、避免和克服能力作为衡量标准,因此风险分配条款通常不会对不可抗力事件的定性产生影响。


不可抗力事件不要求有永久性的影响。


合同履行不能是因不可抗力免责的必需要件,而不是构成不可抗力事件本身的必需要件。


有部分影响即可获得救济。


根据《民法典》第590条,因不可抗力不能履行合同的,根据不可抗力的影响,部分或者全部免除责任,例如承包商有权主张工期顺延以达到免除工期违约责任的效果;根据行业惯例,因不可抗力导致永久性工程及其设备、材料、部件的损失和损害、停工期间必须支付的工人工资及赶工费用等情形时,承包人有权进行部分费用索赔;根据《民法典》第563条,因不可抗力致使不能实现合同目的的,合同当事人可以请求解除合同。


不能自动适用,遇到不可抗力影响的一方需要立即通知另一方并在约定期限内主张权利。


存在争议,通说认为这些规则不能通过协议排除。


Q10: When is a contractor entitled to relief against a construction contract becoming unduly expensive or otherwise hard to perform and what relief is available? Can the rules be excluded by agreement?


当建筑合同难以履行或履行过于昂贵时,承包商何时有权获得救济?可获得何种救济?这些规则可以通过协议排除吗?

 

A10:The contractor is entitled to relief against a construction contract becoming unduly expensive or otherwise hard to perform when a ‘change of situation’ occurs under Chinese laws. As per article 533 of the Civil Code, where a major change that is unforeseeable and is not a business risk occurs after the formation of a contract, if the continuous performance of the contract is obviously unfair to the other party, the party is entitled to relief.


As to the relief, the contractor may renegotiate with the other party; and if an agreement cannot be reached within a reasonable period of time, the parties may request a people’s court or an arbitration institution to amend or rescind the contract.


There are controversies on this issue, but it is generally believed that relief for such rules (‘change of situation’) cannot be excluded through agreement.


根据《民法典》第533条,当建筑合同难以履行或履行过于昂贵是因为发生了双方在订立合同时无法预见的、不属于商业风险的重大变化,继续履行合同对承包商明显不公平的,承包商可以获得救济。


救济的途径为承包商与对方重新协商;在合理期限内协商不成的,当事人可以请求人民法院或者仲裁机构变更或者解除合同,由人民法院或者仲裁机构结合案件的实际情况,根据公平原则变更或者解除合同。


存在争议,通说认为有关情事变更的救济不能通过协议排除。


Impossibility 合同履行不能


Q11:  When is a contractor entitled to relief if after the contract is concluded it transpires (but not due to external events) that it is impossible for the contractor to achieve a particular aspect of the contractual specification? What relief is available?
如果在合同签订后发现(但不是外部事件)承包商不可能达到合同约定中的某一特定方面(合同自身缺陷),承包商何时有权获得救济?有什么救济?   A11:  As per article 580 of the Civil Code where (i) the contractor is unable to perform its contractual obligations in laws or in fact, (ii) the subject matter of the obligation is unfit for compulsory performance or the performance expenses are excessively high, the contractor is entitled to be released from performance.


As per article 563 of the Civil Code, if the contractor’s main obligation stipulated in the contract is not performed or the purpose of the contract cannot be realised due to its non-performance, parties can rescind the contract or request the court to do so.


根据《民法典》第580条,如果承包商在法律上或者事实上不能履行合同约定义务、债务的标的不适于强制履行或者履行费用过高的,承包人可以不履行。


根据《民法典》第563条,承包人可以不履行的义务为合同约定主要义务或致使合同目的不能实现的,双方享有解除合同的权利,或者起诉请求法院解除合同。


Clauses that seek to pass risks to the contractor for matters it cannot foresee or control 寻求向承包商转移其无法预见或控制的风险的条款


Q12: How effective are contractual provisions that seek to pass risks to the contractor for matters it cannot foresee or control, for example, making the contractor liable for: (a) a specified event of force majeure; (b) ground conditions that no reasonably diligent contractor could have foreseen; or (c) errors in documents provided by the employer, such as employer’s requirements in design and build forms?
寻求将无法预见或控制的风险转嫁给承包商的合同条款的效力如何?例如使承包商对以下情况负责: (a)特定的不可抗力事件;(b)任何合理尽职的承包商都无法预见的工地状况;或(c)业主提供的文件中的错误,如业主在设计和施工表格中的要求。   A12:  Under Chinese laws, it is hard to say whether such contractual provisions are effective.


There are disputes over the provisions such as (a) and (b), which are ineffective in principle. Provisions such as (c) are generally effective, because there is no violation of compulsory provisions on the effect of any law or administrative regulation under this situation.


中国法下,该类合同条款的效力不能一概而论。

对(a)、(b)两类条款存在争议,原则上是无效的;(c)类条款未违反法律、行政法规的效力性强制性规定,通常情况下是有效的。


Duty to warn 警告义务


Q13: When must the contractor warn the employer of an error in a design provided by the employer?


承包商必须在什么时候就业主提供的设计错误向业主发出警告?

 

A13:As per article 28 of the Regulation on the Quality Management of Construction Projects, if the contractor finds, during the process of construction, that there is any error in the design documents, it shall put forward its opinions and proposal in a timely manner. In practice, based on the judgments of some courts, if the contractor finds the error in the design provided by the employer but fails to warn the employer, the contractor shall be held liabilities.


根据《建设工程质量管理条例》第28条,承包人在施工过程中发现设计文件和图纸有差错的,应当及时提出意见和建议。同时在实践中,根据中国部分法院的观点,如果承包人应当发现而未发现设计错误因而未能向业主发出警告的,也需要承担相应责任。


Good faith 诚实守信义务


Q14: Is there a general duty of good faith? If so, how does it impact upon the following (where they are otherwise permitted under the construction contract): (a) the level of intervention in the works that is allowed by the employer; (b) a party’s discretion whether to terminate or suspend the contract; or (c) the employer’s discretion to claim pre-agreed sums under the contract, such as liquidated damages for delay?
双方是否负有诚信义务?如果有,它对以下方面有什么影响(在建筑合同允许的情况下):(a)业主允许的对工程的干预程度;(b)一方自行决定终止或中止合同的权利;或(c)业主自行主张合同项下预先约定的金额的权利,如工期延误的违约赔偿金?   A14: As per article 7 of the Civil Code, there is a general duty of good faith on parties to the contract, which is the basic principle of civil law.


For (a): it requires that the employer cannot intervene excessively with the work, nor can the contractor prevent the employer from reasonable intervention;


For (b): it does not affect a party’s discretion whether to terminate or suspend the contract;


For (c): the employer can claim the liquidated damages agreed under the contract, but based on the duty of good faith, article 585 of the Civil Code, if the agreed liquidated damages are excessively higher than the actual losses borne by the employer, the contractor may request the court or the arbitration institution to make a proper reduction.


根据《民法典》第7条,双方负有诚信义务,这是民法的基本原则。


对于(a):根据诚信义务,业主不能过度干预工程,承包商也不能阻止业主的合理干预;


对于(b):诚信义务不影响一方自行决定终止或中止合同的权利;


对于(c):业主有权自行主张合同项下预先约定的违约金,但根据诚信义务、《民法典》第585条的规定,约定的违约金过分高于业主因此遭受的实际损失的,承包人可以请求法院或者仲裁机构予以减少。


Time bars 时效


Q15: How do contractual provisions that bar claims if they are not validly notified within a certain period operate (including limitation or prescription laws that cannot be contracted out of, interpretation rules, any good faith principles and laws on unfair contract terms)? What is the scope for bringing claims outside the written terms of the contract under provisions such as sub-clause 20.1 of the FIDIC Red Book 1999 (“otherwise in connection with the contract”)? Is there any difference in approach to claims based on matters that the employer caused and matters it did not, such as weather or ground conditions? Is there any difference in approach to claims for (a) extensions of time and relief from liquidated damages for delay and (b) monetary sums?

如果索赔在一定期限内没有得到有效通知,禁止索赔的合同条款是如何适用的(包括合同不能约定的法律上的限制或时效、解释规则、任何诚信原则和关于不公平合同条款的法律)?

在条款如FIDIC红皮书1999第20.1款(“与合同相关的其他条款”)的规定下,在合同书面条款之外提出索赔的范围是什么?基于业主造成的问题和业主没有造成的问题(如天气或地面条件)的索赔方法有什么不同吗?对于(a)工期顺延和逾期违约金的减免以及(b)价款索赔,处理方法是否有所不同?


A15: The contractual provisions that bar claims if they are not validly notified within a certain period may be deemed as ineffective due to violation of the limitation and prescription laws. However, as per the article 10 of Judicial Interpretation of Construction Contract (I), the provisions that bar claims if they are not validly notified within a certain period shall be effective, unless the employer agrees an extension of time after the agreed period or the contractor puts forward reasonable defenses. Whether the contractual provisions that bar costs claims if they are not validly notified within a certain period are effective is still a subject of dispute. The good faith principle and laws on unfair contract terms do not affect application of such claims.


In addition to the written terms of the contract, the parties can claim directly if there is any situation stipulated by laws where claims can be brought. As per article 798, article 803 and article 804 of the Civil Code, where the employer fails to inspect the concealed works in time, if the employer fails to provide relevant materials within the agreed time and in conformity with requirements and the works are suspended or postponed due to the employer’s reasons, the contractor shall claim for an extension of time and incurred costs.


There is no difference in approach between the claims caused by the employer and those not.


There is no practical difference in approach to claims for (i) extensions of time and relief from liquidated damages for delay and (ii) monetary sums.


未在约定期 限内通知即禁止索赔的条款,存在被认定违反诉讼时效相关规定而无效的可能,但根据《最高人民法院关于审理建设工程施工合同纠纷案件适用法律问题的解释(一)》第10条的规定,对于工期索赔,未在约定期限内通知即禁止工期索赔的条款应当适用,但发包人在约定期限后同意工期顺延或者承包人提出合理抗辩的除外。 对于费用索赔,未在约定期限内通知即禁止费用索赔的条款是否应当适用仍存在争议。 诚信原则和关于不公平合同条款的法律并不影响禁止索赔合同条款的适用。


在合同书面条款之外,当事人有权直接依据法定索赔情形提出索赔。根据《民法典》第798、803和804条,发包人没有及时检查隐蔽工程的,发包人未按照约定的时间和要求提供相关资料和条件的,因发包人的原因致使工程中途停建、缓建的,承包人可以提出工期顺延和/或费用索赔。


基于业主造成的问题和不是业主造成的问题在索赔方法上没有不同。


在工期顺延、逾期违约金的减免以及价款索赔的处理方法上没有实际区别。


Suspension 暂停


Q16: What rights does the employer have to suspend paying the contractor or performing other duties under the contract due to the contractor’s (non-)performance, or the contractor have to suspend carrying out the works (or part of the works) due to the employer’s (non-) performance?
由于承包商的(不)履行,业主有什么权利暂停向承包商付款或履行合同规定的其他职责;或者由于业主的(不)履行,承包商有什么权利暂停施工(或暂停部分工程)?   A16: As per articles 525-527 of the Civil Code, where both parties have obligations in a contract, parties are entitled to sequence rights of defence, which are (i) defence right of first performance, (ii) defense right of orderly performance and (iii) defence right of simultaneous performance. In practice, construction contracts usually stipulate the sequence of obligations. If the employer or the contractor fails to perform the prior obligations or the performance of the prior performance does not conform to the agreement, the other party can exercise the right of defence and refuse to perform the subsequent obligations. In addition, if there is definite evidence to prove that the following situations exist: (i) one’s business conditions are deteriorating, (ii) one has transferred property and withdrawn funds to avoid debts, and (iii) one’s business reputation has been lost, the other party will be entitled to the rights mentioned above.

根据《民法典》第525-527条的规定,双务合同中,当事人享有同时履行抗辩权、后履行抗辩权和不安抗辩权。实践中,施工合同通常会约定义务履行顺序,发包人或承包人不履行在先义务或履行在先义务不符合约定的,另一方有权行使先履行抗辩权,拒绝履行在后义务。此外,如有确切证据证明发包人或承包人有(1)经营状况恶化,(2)转移财产、抽逃资金,以逃避债务,(3)丧失商业信誉等情形的,另一方有权行使不安抗辩权。