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贸易结算以案说法之一:中国法院信用证止付令裁定的复议和再审程序

时间:2014-01-19 点击:
1. Case summary
1.1 The order of Injunction Issued by the Intermediate People’s Court of Hangzhou
1.1.1 The Party Applied to the Court for an Injunction Against Payment on Ground of Fraud
Due to the disputes arising out of a letter of credit, the claimant, Bank H Hangzhou branch (hereafter “Bank H” ) brought an action against an export trading company of Ningbo (hereafter “J Corporation” ) before the Intermediate People’s Court of Hangzhou (hereafter “Hangzhou Court”). B Corporation Limited by Share, Zhejiang Branch (hereafter “Bank B”) and Foreign Bank A, Shanghai Branch (hereafter “Bank A”) were joined in the litigation as the third parties. Bank H requested Hangzhou Court to issue an injunction against payment under the irrevocable credit, No. LC9102209/8 in the amount of US $ 2,894,691.40 and No.
LC9102578/08 in the amount of US$ 1,380,648.6 (hereafter the “Credits”), on the basis that J Corporation perpetrated fraud and Bank A negotiated the Credits in bad faith. Security as to the application has been provided by Bank H.
1.1.2 Hangzhou Court Issued an Injunction to Suspend the Payment under the Credits
On 14November 2008, Hangzhou Court granted a civil ruling, ruledthat “[a]fterthehearing,wefindthatBankH’s application for the injunction under the Credits complies with the law. Pursuant to Articles 92, 94 and 140 of the Civil Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China (hereafter the “Civil Procedure Law”) and Articles 8(1)(iii), 9, 10, and 13 of Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court on Some Issues in the Adjudication of Letter-of-Credit-related Cases (hereafter the “LC Judicial Interpretations”), it is ordered that the payment under the irrevocable credits, No. LC9102209/8 in the amount of USD 2,894,691.40 and No. LC9102578/08 in the amount of USD 1,380,648.6, issued by Bank B be suspended. The order takes effect when issued.” Furthermore, the order stated “the parties may appeal to for review the High Court of Zhejiang Province within ten days following the date on which the written order is served. Execution of the order shall not be stayed during the period of review.”
1.2 The Review Procedure in the High People’s Court Of Zhejiang Province
1.2.1 The Parties Applied for Review
Bank B and Bank A applied respectively to the High Court of Zhejiang Province (hereafter ”Zhejiang High Court”) for review of the order.
Bank B contended that it accepted the Credits under dispute in good faith, and prior consent as to the acceptance had been obtained from Bank H and J Corporation. Therefore, the order of Hangzhou Court shall be dismissed on the ground that it is not compliant with the LC Judicial Interpretations.
Bank A argued that (1) Bank H’s claim that we did not exam the documents with reasonable care has no supporting evidence. Bank H should be responsible for its failure to investigate the capacity of the fraudster and the transaction prudently; (2) we have examined every single document under the Credits with reasonable care according to UCP 600. Every document is independent of each other. We have no responsibility to exam otherdocuments and documents required under different credits. It has no legal or factual basis to require us to pay special attention on whether the numbers of warehouse receipt are reused. Furthermore, even if the warehouse receipt numbers are reused, it cannot lead us to conclude that there is fraud existing, which shall not be justified as a matter of fact or in law; and (3) Bank H’s allegation that we negotiated the Credits in bad faith is not proved by evidence. In sum, we apply to dismiss the order of Hangzhou Court.
Bank H defended that (1) the beneficiary and J Corporation are actually controlled by the same entity, who conspired to obtain payment under the credits by using a forged warehouse receipt repeatedly. There is no real underlying transaction between the above two parties. Our legal rights and interests would be irreparably damaged if payment under the Credits were not suspended. So, the case falls within the scope of fraud exception; (2) the documents under the Credits “accepted” by Bank B were not the negotiable instruments defined by the PRC Negotiable Instruments Act, but merely the documents against which a demand to pay was made; and (3) Bank A has the knowledge that the offshore company opened a dummy account intheirbank, and the fraudster used fictitious trade and the warehouse receipt repeatedly to commit fraud under the letters of credit. Upon the instruction of the fraudster, Bank A made payment under the Credits, with bad faith, via a bank account of another offshore company controlled by the fraudster. Therefore, the injunction was issued legally, and therefore, the application should be dismissed.
1.2.2 Zhejiang High Court Dismissed the Application
Zhejiang High Court held that Bank H applied for the injunction against payment under the Credits on the ground that J Corporation used the same warehouse receipt repeatedly and there was no real underlying transaction under the Credits. The evidence it provided amply justified its requirement and complied with Article 8 of the LC Judicial Interpretations. Bank B’s acceptance is not the acceptance falling within the scope of the Negotiable Instruments Act. Bank A does not provide clear evidence that it negotiated the Credits in good faith. Furthermore, whether it was in good or bad faith should be determined after substantive hearing. In conclusion, the arguments of the two applicants are not justified therefore rejected. According to Article 13 of the LC Judicial Interpretations and Article 140 (1)(11) of the Civil Procedure Law, a ruling was issued on 25 December 2008, dismissing the application for review.
1.3 Bank A Seek to Initiate a Retrial Procedure to the Supreme Court against Zhejiang High Court’s Ruling
1.3.1 Application for a Retrial Procedure
Bank A petitioned to the Supreme Court of People’s Republic of China (hereafter the “Supreme Court”) for a retrial.
1.3.2 The Ruling Of The Supreme Court
The Supreme Court ruled that according to Article 140 (2) of Civil Procedure Law the party may appeal against three kinds of civil rulings only, namely, a ruling refusing to entertain a case; a ruling objecting to the jurisdiction of a court; and a ruling rejecting a complaint. In the instant case, the injunction to suspend the payment is one kind of property preservation in civil proceedings. If the party concerned does not accept the order, he is not entitled to appeal. Therefore, there is no legal basis for retrial. The Supreme Court ruled to dismiss Bank A’s application for retrial on 6 July 2009.
2. Related Legal Authorities
2.1 Proclamation of the Supreme ourt as to the LC Judicial Interpretations
The LC Judicial Interpretations was adopted at the 1368th Meeting of the Adjudication Committee of the Supreme Court on 24 October 2005, and came into force on 1 January 2006.
2.1.1 The Fraud Exception
It is provided in Article 8 of the LC Judicial Interpretations that:
"Any of the following circumstances shall be considered as a credit fraud:
(I)The beneficiary has forged or incorporated false contents in any of the presented documents;
(II) The beneficiary, in bad faith, delivers no goods or delivers goods of no value;
(III) The beneficiary, in conspiracy with the applicant or any third party(ies), presents documents while no real underlying transactions exist;
(IV) Other circumstances where fraud under an L/C may be found.”
2.1.2 Related Rules as to the Injunction to Suspend the Payment
It is provided in Article 9 of the LC Judicial Interpretations that:
"The applicant, issuing bank or any other stakeholder(s) may apply to a competent People's Court for an order to suspend payment under an credit when it discovers any of the circumstances stipulated in Article 8 which they believe will cause them irreparable damage.”
Furthermore, Articles 11 and 12 of the LC Judicial Interpretations provide that:
"Application for suspension of L/C payment filed by a party prior to initiating a suit shall be accepted by the People's Court, provided that the following conditions are met:
(i) The Court receiving the application has competent jurisdiction over the dispute on which the application is based;
(ii)The evidence provided by the applying party demonstrates the existence of any of the circumstances stipulated in Article 8;
(iii) The applying party's legal rights and interests would be irreparably damaged if payment under the credit were not suspended;
(iv) The applying party has provided reliable and adequate security; (v)No circumstances stipulated in Article 10 exist.
Application for suspension of payment under an L/C during the proceeding of a suit shall meet the conditions as set up in sub-paragraphs (II), (III), (IV) and (V) of this Article in order to be accepted. ” and“Once accepting an application for suspension of payment under an L/C, the People's Court shall render an order within 48 hours, and the order to suspend payment under a credit shall be effective when it is issued.
The order to suspend payment under an L/C should identify the applying party, applied party and any third party(ies).”
2.1.3 Related Rules as to the Circumstances Where the Injunction Will Be Granted
It is provided in Article 10 of the LC Judicial Interpretations that:
"A people’s court shall make a ruling to suspend the payment or a judgment to stop the payment permanently when fraud is established, unless one of the following has happened:
(i) A party nominated or authorized by the issuing bank has made payment in good faith according to the issuing bank’s instructions;
(ii)The issuing bank or a party nominated or authorized by it has accepted the draft under the L/C in good faith;
(iii) The confirming bank has paid in good faith;
(iv) The negotiating bank has negotiated in good faith.”
2.1.4 The Review Procedure Against The Order of Injunction
It is provided in Article 13 of the LC Judicial Interpretations that:
"A party objecting to an order to suspend payment under a credit may apply for review by the people’s court at the next higher level within 10 days of the service of the order, and the reviewing Court shall render its order within 10 days of receipt of the review application.”
2.1.5 The Effect of Civil Procedure Preservation in Granting Injunction
In its statement as to the LC Judicial Interpretations (which was issued on 14 November 2005, and took effect on 1 January 2006), the Supreme Court explained the issues relating to the establishment of fraud and the conditions and procedure to grant an injunction. It said that “[m]ost related rules in the LC Judicial Interpretations as to the conditions and procedure to grant an injunction on the basis of fraud are designed according to the related rules as to property preservation in the Civil Procedure Law. A few numbers of rules are stipulated concerning the special features of letters of credit. Firstly, considering the special features in the letter of credit transactions, i.e. unique status of issuing banks and other intermediary banks in the disputes between beneficiaries and applicants, they are allowed to join the proceedings as third parties. Secondly, the parties concerned where they object to the order, are allowed to petition to the court of next higher level for review. The court which reviews the case, shall make its decision in the form of an written ruling.”
2.2 Related Rules as to the Application for a Retrial in the Civil Procedure Law
In the LC Judicial Interpretations, there is no rule concerning the application for a retrial. Instead, it is provided in Articles 178, and 179 of the Civil Procedure Law (which was amended on 28 October 2007, and came into force on 1 April 2008.
Article 178 of the Civil Procedure Law provides that:
"If a party to an action considers that there is error in a legally effective judgment or written ruling, he may apply to the people’s court of next higher level for a retrial; however, the effect of the judgment or written ruling shall not be suspended.”
Article 179 of the Civil Procedure Law provides that:
"If an application made by a party meets any one of the following conditions, the people’s court shall retry the case:
(1) There is new evidence which is sufficient to set aside the original judgment or written order;
(2) There is a lack of evidence for establishing the basic facts ascertained in the original judgment or written order;
(3) The main evidence for the facts ascertained in the original judgment or written order is falsified;
(4) The main evidence for the facts ascertained in the original judgment or written order is not cross-examined;
(5) The party to a lawsuit, due to objective cause, cannot collect the evidence necessary for adjudicating the case and has applied, in writing, to the people’s court for investigation and collection of such evidence, but the people’s court fails to investigate and collect the evidence;
(6) There is definite error in the application of law to the making of the original judgment or written order;
(7) In violation of the provisions of law, jurisdiction is erroneously exercised;
(8)Formation of the trial organization is unlawful or the adjudicator that should withdraw has not done so;
(9) The person incapable of judicial act is not represented by a statutory agent, or the party that should participate in the litigation fails to do so for reasons not attributable to himself or his legal representative;
(10) The party’s right to debate is deprived of in violation of the provisions of law;
(11) The default judgment in the absence of the party is made where a summons is not served on the party;
(12) Some claims are omitted or excessive claims are confirmed in the original judgment or written order; or
(13) The legal document on the basis of which the original judgment or written order is abrogated or revised.
The people’s court shall retry a case, where violation of the statutory procedure may prevent correct judgment or written ruling from being made or the adjudicator, in the course of trial, commits embezzlement, accepts bribes, engages in malpractices for personal gain, or perverts the law in making the judgment or written ruling.”
3. Analysis of the Case and Related Legal Authorities
3.1 The Key Difference between the Review Procedure against an Order of Injunction under a credit and under Civil Procedure Law in Chinese Courts
3.1.1 Differences between the Review Procedure between an Order of Injunction and a
Property Preservation Order under the Civil Procedure Law
It is necessary to make it clear that the review procedure against an order of injunction is different from the property preservation in normal civil procedure. The application to review should be made to the higher court in the former while the latter should make to the same court which gave the order.
3.1.2 Who Are Entitled to Apply for Review of an Order of Injunction?
Except an applicant as provided in Article 9 of the LC Judicial Interpretations, an issuing bank has the right to apply to the court to suspend the credit issued by it. This has been accepted by the courts of Zhejiang and Inner Mongolia in several domestic cases. Are there any other parties who have legal interests in the credits and therefore shall be allowed to apply for a review? In practice and in some cases, both an applicant as an agent and its principal, as well as the guarantor shall have the right to apply if they have interests in the credits.
3.1.3 Who Are Entitled to Initiate a Review Procedure against an Order?
There is another important issue to be clarified, namely who can initiate the review procedure against the order. Article 13 of the LC Judicial Interpretations provides for “the parties”. However, it is unclear as to the scope of the parties concerned. For example, the payment of the credit has been suspended by the order of the court whereas this credit has been negotiated by the bank which is not nominated or instructed by the issuing bank. In such a situation, does this negotiating bank fall with the scope of the party concerned and is entitled to initiate the review procedure to the court of the next higher level? If a stakeholder can apply for an order of injunction, there is no reason that only “parties” can apply for a review.
3.1.4 It Is the Court’s Discretionary Power to Decide whether the Review Procedure
Can Be Initiated by the Stakeholder.
What will happen in an actual case is, when a stakeholder of a credit transaction contemplates a review procedure, it has to prove that it is a party or a stakeholder under the related credit. Thecourt thendecides whether it is a stakeholder and whether its application may be accepted.
3.2 The Supreme Court’s Refusal as to the Application of Retrial for the Order of Review.
3.2.1 The View of the Supreme Court
The view of the Supreme Court in the instance case is clear. The party concerned is not allowed to apply to the court for a retrial of the order of injunction against payment. If the order of injunction is issued by a High Court, the Supreme Court will review the case at the request of the party concerned. Furthermore, the order for an injunction is one kind of procedural orders which cannot be appealed to the higher court for retrial except the ones provided for in Article 142.
3.2.2 OtherIssuestoBeConsideredinRequiringaChineseCourttoIssuean Injunction
The party which applies to the next higher court for a review of an injunction should prove that the credit should not be suspended, namely, it should prove that all five conditions listed inArticle11oftheProvisionsarenotsatisfied.Itisworthmentioningthatdifferent approaches will be taken in two different situations. If the party requests the court to issue an order of injunction before the suit, it is required to satisfy all five conditions listed in Article 11 of the LC Judicial Interpretations. If the order is issued during the suit, then the later four conditions of Article 11 should be met, namely,
(1) The Court which accepts the application has jurisdiction over the dispute on which the application is based. Since the LC Judicial Interpretations do not deal with the issue of jurisdiction, the Chinese rules of conflicts oflawswillbeinvoked. Creditfraudis regarded as a tortious act. Then, the courts of the place where the tort was committed and the place where the injury occurred are considered to have jurisdiction.
(2) The evidence provided by the applying party demonstrates the existence of any of the circumstances stipulated in Article 8. It means the alleged fraud must fall within scope of Article 8 of the Provisions.
(3) The applying party's legal rights and interests would be irreparably damaged if payment under the L/C were not suspended. Even though the above two conditions are met, the court will consider balance of convenience between two sides, i.e. courts shall balance the convenience of the remedies of an order of injunction.
(4) The applying party has provided reliable and adequate security, namely counter-security should be provided for the preservation. If the injunction causes loss to other parties, this mechanism could compensate that loss.
(5) No circumstances stipulated in Article 10 exist. If the credit is negotiated by the bank in good faith which is nominated or instructed by the issuing bank, the payment under the credit shall not be suspended. However, the difficulty lies in that it is hard to prove whether the negotiating bank is in good or bad faith.
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贸易结算以案说法之一:
中国法院信用证止付令裁定的复议和再审程序∗
1. 案情和裁定或判决内容摘要
1.1. 杭州市中级人民法院作出中止信用证项下付款的裁定
1.1.1. 当事人因欺诈申请法院中止信用证项下付款 杭州市中级人民法院(以下简称“杭州中院”)在审理申请人 H 银行杭州分行
(以下简称“杭州 H 银行”)与被申请人宁波市 J 出口有限公司(以下简称“宁波 J
公司”)、第三人 B 股份有限公司浙江省分行(以下简称“浙江 B 银行”)、外国 A 银行上海分行(以下简称“上海 A 银行”)信用证纠纷一案中(以下简称“一审程 序”或者“一审案件”),申请人杭州 H 银行以宁波 J 公司涉嫌信用证欺诈,上海 A 银行进行恶意议付为由,请求法院裁定第三人浙江B银行停止支付编号LC9102209/08 不可撤销跟单信用证项下款项2894691.40 美元和编号为 LC9102578/08 不可撤销 跟单信用证项下款项 1380648.6 美元,并已提供相应担保。
1.1.2. 法院经审查裁定中止信用证项下付款
杭州中院于 2008 年 11 月 14 日作出民事裁定 书,裁定:“本院经审理后认为,申请人杭州 H 银行提出的信用证止付申请符合法律规定。依照
《中华人民共和国民事诉讼法》第九十二条、第九 十四条、第一百四十条、最高法院《关于审理信 用证纠纷案件若干问题的规定》第八条第一款第(三)项、第九条、第十条、第十三条之规定,裁定如下:中止支付浙江 B 银行开 具的编号 LC9102209/08 不可撤销跟单信用证项下款项 2894691.40 美元和编号为 LC9102578/08 不可撤销跟单信用证项下款项 1380648.6 美元。本裁定立即执 行。”该裁定同时规定:“如不服本裁定,可在裁定书送达之日起十日内向浙江 省高级人民法院申请复议,复议期间不停止裁定的执行。”
1.2. 浙江省高级人民法院的复议程序
1.2.1. 当事人对信用证止付令申请复议
浙江 B 银行和上海 A 银行不服,分别向浙江省高级人民法院(以下简称“浙 江高院”)提出申请复议。
浙江 B 银行申请复议称:我行对涉案跟单信用证项下款项已作出了善意承 兑,且在承兑前已得到杭州 H 银行与宁波 J 公司同意承兑的指示,故原审裁定 不符合最高人民法院《关于审理信用证纠纷案件若干问题的规定》,请求撤销原 裁定。
上海 A 银行申请复议称:1、杭州 H 银行指控复议申请人未履行合理谨慎审 单义务,系毫无证据的无理指控,且被异议人对相关单位和交易也负有不可推卸 的谨慎调查责任。2、复议申请人已依据跟单信用证统一惯例第 600 号出版物谨 慎地审核每一份信用证项下的单据,且每一份单据均是独立的,也没有义务对其 它单据以及不同信用证项下单据予以审核,由我行去判断本案中诸多仓单号码是 否重复是没有事实和法律依据。即使仓单号码重复也不能认为是欺诈。3、杭州 H银行所称的恶意议付也没有提供证据证明。原审裁定中止支付不符合法律规定,请求撤销原裁定。
杭州 H 银行答辩称:1、本案的受益人与宁波 J 公司系同一实际控制人,相 互串通,重复使用同一虚假仓单,以欺诈方式恶意套取信用证项下资金,不存在 真实的基础交易,如该款项支付给受益人,必然给我行造成不可弥补的巨额经济 损失。因此本案适用信用证欺诈例外原则。2、浙江 B 银行作出承兑的信用证项 下的材料,并不是真正的我国票据法意义上的票据,其仅是作出要求指令付款的 单据之一。3、上海 A 银行对离岸公司在其银行开立虚假账户、犯罪嫌疑人利用 虚假交易、重复仓单套取信用证项下资金等方面是明知的,且通过犯罪嫌疑人的 指示,将信用证项下款项通过其控制的其他离岸公司予以支付,具有明显恶意。 本案止付信用证符合法律规定,请求维持原裁定,驳回申请复议人的复议请求。
1.2.2. 浙江高院经复议裁定维持一审中止信用证付款裁定 浙江高院经审查后认为:原审申请人杭州 H 银行以宁波 J 公司重复使用同一仓单,没有真实的基础交易等为由,提出信用证止付申请,并提供相应的证据材料,符合最高人民法院《关于审理信用证纠纷案件若干问题的规定》第八条规定 的情形。浙江 B 银行的承兑不属信用证项下票据的承兑;上海 A 银行的复议申 请未清楚反映其已进行了善意议付,且其是否存在过错等问题,尚须经实体审理 加以认定。综上,两申请复议人的复议理由不能成立,本院不予支持。依照最高 人民法院《关于审理信用证纠纷案件若干问题的规定》第十三条、《中华人民共 和国民事诉讼法》第一百四十条第一款第(十一)项之规定,2008 年 12 月 25 日裁定如下:驳回浙江 B 银行、上海 A 银行的复议申请,维持原裁定。
1.3. A 银行就浙江高院的信用证止付令复议裁定向最高法院申请再审
1.3.1. A 银行申请再审
上海 A 银行不服前述浙江高院的复议裁定,向最高法院申请再审。
1.3.2. 最高人民法院的再审裁定 最高法院在再审民事裁定书中认为:根据《中华人民共和国民事诉讼法》第一百四十条第二款的规定,当事人对三类裁定可以上诉,包括不予受理、管辖权异议、驳回起诉的裁定,而其他各类裁定是不能上诉的。本案所涉中止支付裁定 属于财产保全性质的民事裁定,当事人不服时仅能申请复议而不得上诉,对此类 裁定申请再审缺乏法律依据。据此,最高法院于 2009 年 7 月 6 日裁定如下:驳 回上海 A 银行的再审申请。
2. 相关法律规定
2.1.最高人民法院司法解释《关于审理信用证纠纷案件若干问题的规定》
2005 年 10 月 24 日由最高人民法院审判委员会第 1368 次会议通过、自 2006 年 1 月 1 日起施行的司法解释《最高人民法院关于审理信用证纠纷案件若干问题 的规定》(以下简称“司法解释”)中有如下各条规定:
2.1.1. 有关信用证欺诈例外的认定
司法解释第八条 凡有下列情形之一的,应当认定存在信用证欺诈:
(一)受益人伪造单据或者提交记载内容虚假的单据;
(二)受益人恶意不交付货物或者交付的货物无价值;
(三)受益人和开证申请人或者其他第三方串通提交假单据,而没有真实的 基础交易;
(四)其他进行信用证欺诈的情形。
2.1.2. 有关申请法院中止信用证付款的规定
司法解释第九条 开证申请人、开证行或者其他利害关系人发现有本规定第 八条的情形,并认为将会给其造成难以弥补的损害时,可以向有管辖权的人民法 院申请中止支付信用证项下的款项。
同时司法解释又规定:
第十一条 当事人在起诉前申请中止支付信用证项下款项符合下列条件的, 人民法院应予受理:
(一)受理申请的人民法院对该信用证纠纷案件享有管辖权;
(二)申请人提供的证据材料证明存在本规定第八条的情形;
(三)如不采取中止支付信用证项下款项的措施,将会使申请人的合法权益 受到难以弥补的损害;
(四)申请人提供了可靠、充分的担保;
(五)不存在本规定第十条的情形。 当事人在诉讼中申请中止支付信用证项下款项的,应当符合前款第(二)、
(三)、(四)、(五)项规定的条件。
第十二条 人民法院接受中止支付信用证项下款项申请后,必须在四十八小 时内作出裁定;裁定中止支付的,应当立即开始执行。
人民法院作出中止支付信用证项下款项的裁定,应当列明申请人、被申请人 和第三人。
2.1.3. 当存在信用证欺诈例外的例外情形时不应予以中止付款的规定 司法解释第十条 人民法院认定存在信用证欺诈的,应当裁定中止支付或者判决终止支付信用证项下款项,但有下列情形之一的除外:
(一)开证行的指定人、授权人已按照开证行的指令善意地进行了付款;
(二)开证行或者其指定人、授权人已对信用证项下票据善意地作出了承兑;
(三)保兑行善意地履行了付款义务;
(四)议付行善意地进行了议付。
2.1.4. 对人民法院中止信用证付款的复议程序
司法解释第十三条 当事人对人民法院作出中止支付信用证项下款项的裁 定有异议的,可以在裁定书送达之日起十日内向上一级人民法院申请复议。上一 级人民法院应当自收到复议申请之日起十日内作出裁定。复议期间,不停止原裁 定的执行。
2.1.5. 民诉法诉讼保全对信用证中止付款的程序的影响
《最高人民法院<关于审理信用证纠纷案件若干问题的规定>的说明》(发布 日期:2005 年 11 月 14 日,实施日期:2006 年 1 月 1 日)中,针对“4.关于信 用证欺诈的构成以及止付信用证项下款项的条件和程序”,特别作出了说明: “需要说明的是,在信用证项下存在欺诈的情况下人民法院裁定中止支付信用证 项下款项有关条件和程序的规定,基本上是根据我国《民事诉讼法》关于‘财产 保全’的规定设置的,同时根据信用证纠纷案件的特殊情况,作了部分变通。一 是考虑到信用证法律关系的复杂性,特别是在开证申请人与受益人之间的纠纷中 开证行和相关银行的特殊地位,允许在裁定中将其列为第三人;二是允许当事人 在对人民法院作出中止支付信用证项下款项的裁定有异议的情况下,向‘上一级 人民法院’‘申请复议’,且上一级人民法院以‘裁定’的方式对复议申请作出 处理。 ”
2.2.《民事诉讼法》有关申请再审的规定
信用证司法解释中并无有关申请再审的规定,有关再审的规定在 2007 年 10 月 28 日修改、2008 年 4 月 1 日生效后的《民事诉讼法》第 178 条、第 179 条中 作出了规定:
第一百七十八条 当事人对已经发生法律效力的判决、裁定,认为有错误的, 可以向上一级人民法院申请再审,但不停止判决、裁定的执行。
第一百七十九条 当事人的申请符合下列情形之一的,人民法院应当再审:
(一)有新的证据,足以推翻原判决、裁定的;
(二)原判决、裁定认定的基本事实缺乏证据证明的;
(三)原判决、裁定认定事实的主要证据是伪造的;
(四)原判决、裁定认定事实的主要证据未经质证的;
(五)对审理案件需要的证据,当事人因客观原因不能自行收集,书面申请 人民法院调查收集,人民法院未调查收集的;
(六)原判决、裁定适用法律确有错误的;
(七)违反法律规定,管辖错误的;
(八)审判组织的组成不合法或者依法应当回避的审判人员没有回避的;
(九)无诉讼行为能力人未经法定代理人代为诉讼或者应当参加诉讼的当事 人,因不能归责于本人或者其诉讼代理人的事由,未参加诉讼的;
(十)违反法律规定,剥夺当事人辩论权利的;
(十一)未经传票传唤,缺席判决的;
(十二)原判决、裁定遗漏或者超出诉讼请求的;
(十三)据以作出原判决、裁定的法律文书被撤销或者变更的。
3. 对案例和法律的分析与评论
3.1.中国法院对有关中止信用证项下付款的裁定的复议程序和民事诉讼法的特别之处
3.1.1. 和民诉法有关诉讼保全裁定复议程序的差异
特别值得注意的是,在信用证司法解释设定的所谓对中国法院针对信用证中止付款裁定的复议申请程序,和一般民事诉讼程序中的诉讼保全的复议申请是有差别的,前者是向作出保全裁定的同一法院申请复议,而对中止信用证付款裁定 的复议却要向上级法院申请复议。
3.1.2. 谁可以申请复议?
除了信用证司法解释第9条规定的开证申请人之外,开证行也可以申请中止 自己开立的信用证信用证。这一点已经在浙江和内蒙古自治区法院受理的国内多 宗案例中出现。至于“其他利害关系人”还应该包括谁?实务上以及各出现的案 例应该还包括代理开立信用证关系中的代理开证申请人以及委托人本人,当然还 应该包括信用证的开证担保人,如果该信用证交易和它有利害关系的话。
3.1.3. 谁可以对法院止付令裁定提出异议?
另一个值得探讨的问题是,谁可以对信用证的中止止付的法院裁定提出异议。司法解释第 13 条,明确是“当事人”。但是对于谁是当事人却没有明确的定义。例如一个信用证的开证申请人因信用证受益人欺诈为由向人民法院提出中 止信用证付款的申请,人民法院也对信用证作出了中止付款的裁定,但是由于该 信用证是自由议付的,因此可能存在一个议付行的问题,问题是该议付行不是信 用证止付令案件的“当事人”,则该议付行能否向上级法院提出复议申请?既然 信用证止付令的申请可以是“利害关系人”,则此处提出异议的当事人是否也应 该是“利害关系人”,而不仅仅是当事人。
3.1.4. 利害关系人是否有权提出异议需要法院审查决定
一个实际案件中会发生的事实是,该信用证交易的利害关系人提出复议申请时,必须举证证明自己是该信用证交易的当事人以及是利害关系人。之后由法院审查其是否为利害关系人,以及决定是否接受其提出异议的申请。
3.2. 最高法院对信用证止付令裁定的复议裁定的再审申请的拒绝
3.2.1. 最高院的明确立场
最高院在本案中立场十分清晰,即有关中止信用证付款的诉讼保全裁定不属于可以申请再审的法院。如果一审受理信用证止付令申请的法院是某一高级法 院,则提请复议的法院直接就是最高法院。此外,信用证止付令裁定属于程序性 裁定,根据民诉法第 142 条列明可以上诉的之外,其他裁定均不得上诉到高级的 人民法院申请再审。
3.2.2. 向中国法院申请撤销止付令应该注意的其他法律实务上的问题
因信用证止付令而需要向上一级法院提出复议申请的当事人,应该举证证明该信用证不应该被中止付款。具体而言,要举出证明不存在司法解释第 11 条规定的任何一种情形,但是要分为两种情形:第一种是诉讼前申请中止信用证付款, 因申请人需满足第 11 条规定的全部五个条件。而第二种是诉讼中申请中止信用证付款, 则申请需要满足第11 条规定的后四个条件, 即:
(1)受理申请的人民法院对该信用证纠纷案件享有管辖权;司法解释本身并 未对信用证的管辖权问题提出清晰的冲突法规则。因信用证欺诈属于侵权,因此 侵权行为地和侵权结果发生地均是考量人民法院行使管辖权的重要连接因素。
(2)申请人提供的证据材料证明存在本规定第八条的情形;即必须存在司法 解释第 8 条规定的信用证欺诈的情形。
(3)如不采取中止支付信用证项下款项的措施,将会使申请人的合法权利受 到难以弥补的损害;即便宜的比较(balance of convenience),换言之法院要去比较 出具止付令是否比不出具止付令利大于弊。
(4)申请人提供了可靠、充分的担保;即诉讼保全反担保,理论上可靠的 充分的反担保只要覆盖申请人一旦申请错误可能导致被申请人的损失即可。
(5)不存在本规定第十条的情形。即欺诈例外之例外中的信用证交易的善 意参加人或被指定人。如果存在司法解释第 10 条规定的善意被指定行和被授权行,则该信用证仍不得被中止付款。问题是,该被指定行是否存在善意还是具有 恶意,通常很难证明。
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