在澳大利亚如何申请承认与执行中国法院判决

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发布日期:2019年11月06日 作者:王碧宇

本文由威廉希尔app律师与澳大利亚大律师伊恩·阿奇博尔德共同完成,部分术语因行文习惯不同进行了细微调整。


伊恩·阿奇博尔德(Ian Archibald)先生毕业于澳大利亚悉尼大学法学院,在新南威尔士州担任事务律师将近20年后,于2001年取得大律师资格。目前,伊恩在新南威尔士最高法院、澳大利亚联邦法院及澳大利亚高院均注册为出庭律师。


伊恩擅长商法、衡平法及行政法,专门处理商事纠纷、审查行政决定的合法性、继承纠纷、房产纠纷以及专家过失案件。伊恩与中国客户有较为紧密的联系,曾代表中国投资方处理多宗涉澳大型建设工程纠纷及跨境投融资纠纷。


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实务律师在办理涉外争议解决业务时,对于“对方当事人是否在境外具有可供执行的财产?中国法院作出的判决是否能在境外得到承认与执行?”等问题,是能否启动该项诉讼或仲裁程序的重要考量。特别是在某些国家尚未加入国际性的《承认与执行外国民商事判决公约》(The Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil or Commercial Matters),且此公约尚未真正实施前,上述问题都是涉外律师关注的焦点。本文将以澳大利亚为例,分析在该国承认与执行中国判决的法律依据与一般实施路径,同时引入一个成功案例来阐述在具体实践中可能存在的障碍和难点。


When handling foreign-related dispute resolution cases, practical lawyers will consider factors such as whether the opposite party has property which might be available to satisfy the Chinese judgment by enforcement abroad, and whether the judgment of the Chinese court can be recognized and enforced abroad. Such a practical lawyer would take these factors into account prior to starting the litigation or arbitration procedure and even, to the extent that it is possible, when preparing the relevant contract. As some countries have not yet signed The Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign judgment in Civil or Commercial Matters, whether judgments of Chinese courts will be recognized and enforced in foreign courts is an important matter for foreign-related lawyers. Taking Australia as the representative, this paper will briefly introduce the methods for the recognition and enforcement of Chinese judgments in common law countries, analyze the procedures and legal basis of Australian recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments, and summarize the key points and difficulties of Australian courts' implementation of Chinese judgments through a typical case.


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一、澳大利亚承认与执行外国判决的路径及法律依据

Procedures and legal basis for Australia to recognize and enforce foreign judgments


在澳大利亚,可以通过两种程序申请承认与执行外国法院判决(适用单独协定的新西兰除外):第一种是根据成文法《外国判决法(1991)》(以下简称“《外国判决法》”或“FJA”)的规定,对特定国家的判决在本国的效力进行认定;另一种是适用普通法程序进行认定,该路径适用于大部分国家。


In Australia the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments (other than those from New Zealand in relation to which a separate agreement applies), is governed in relation to a limited list of countries by a statute called the Foreign Judgments Act 1991 (FJA). In relation to all other countries it is governed by the common law.


1.外国法院判决的法定承认与执行

Statutory recognition and enforcement of foreign Court judgments


《外国判决法》第5章规定:如果澳大利亚政府认可与作出判决的另一个国家(或省)之间存在实质性互惠原则,本法适用于该国(或省)。该互惠原则仅适用于具有金钱给付义务的、终局性的判决。即使案件在该国处于上诉程序或者面临上诉的可能性,该判决也被认为是终局性的,可以在澳大利亚申请承认与执行。


Section 5 of the FJA provides that if the Australian Government is satisfied that there will be substantial reciprocity of the benefits conferred by the FJA in relation to money judgments given in the courts of another country or province, the Regulations made under the authority of the FJA, may provide that the FJA applies to that country. The reciprocity applies to enforceable money judgments that are final and conclusive. A judgment is taken to be final and conclusive even though an appeal may be pending against if or it may still be subject to appeal.


迄今为止,已有36个不同的国家或省(州)根据《外国判决法》获得澳大利亚法院的法定承认。但是,中华人民共和国法院作出的判决目前尚未受该法调整(香港特别行政区除外)。


So far 36 countries and provinces have been recognised under the FJA. Presently the People’s Republic of China is not so recognised, other than in relation to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.


《外国判决法》第6章规定:在适用本法的外国(或省)法院作出的某份判决中,判定债权人自收到外国(或省)法院判决之日起六年内可向澳大利亚联邦法院或州(领地)最高法院申请立案登记。根据《外国判决法》以及受理法院的适用规则,受理法院可对该外国判决进行立案登记。此后,判定债权人可通过合法形式在澳大利亚境内申请强制执行,执行方式包括但不限于处置债务人的房产或资产,对第三债务人 发出扣押令,甚至宣告判定债务人破产。《外国判决法》第7章则赋予判定债务人在特定的条件下提出申请撤销该外国判决立案登记的权利。撤销的理由包括:1)出具判决的外国法院对案件不享有管辖权;或2)外国法院未履行送达义务,或3)案涉虚假诉讼。


Section 6 of the FJA provides that a judgment creditor under a judgment obtained in a foreign country or province to which the Act applies, may apply to register the judgment in the Federal Court of Australia or to the Supreme Court of a State or Territory of Australia at any time within a 6 years after the date of the judgment in the foreign country. Subject to the FJA and the applicable Rules of Court, the court is to order that the foreign judgment is to be registered as a judgment of that Court. Thereafter the Judgment creditor may enforce that judgment within Australia by any of the methods by which such judgments may be enforced including sale of property and assets, garnishee orders against debts owed, and eventual declaration of bankruptcy of the judgment debtor. Section 7 of the FJA provides for a limited set of criteria where the judgment debtor may apply in Australia to have the registration of the foreign judgment set aside. The limited grounds for setting aside include where the foreign court did not have jurisdiction in the circumstances of the case, where the judgment debtor had not been duly served with notice of the proceedings prior to the foreign judgment, or where the judgment was obtained by fraud.


2.适用普通法对外国法院判决的承认和执行

Common law recognition and enforcement of foreign Court judgments


另一个向澳大利亚法院申请承认与执行外国判决的程序是依普通法递交的申请,该程序适用于《外国判决法》未能覆盖的其他外国法院判决。寻求执行外国判决的一方将作为原告在澳大利亚启动新一轮的法庭程序,对判定债务人提起诉讼。判定债权人可以在原生效判决支持的金额范围内提起债权确认之诉。此外,判定债权人可以就同一事实及理由重新提起诉讼。同时,债权人可以适用“已判争议点禁止反言原则” ,防止判定债务人在新一轮的诉讼程序中提出或可能提出任何与原外国判决内容不符的陈述或抗辩理由。

 

申请以上两种程序的基本要件相同,包括:


a. 外国法院的判决必须带有终局性;
b. 案件已建档;
c. 判定债务人负有个人义务;
d. 外国法院必须行使澳大利亚法院认可的“国际”管辖权;
e. 本国与外国判决的当事人一致;
f. 判决金额确定,尽管某些非金钱类判决在衡平法上属于可行的;
g. 判决不得因以下理由被撤销,例如被告缺席,或在澳大利亚执行该判决将有可能违反澳大利亚公共政策等。


It is possible to enforce judgments of foreign courts in Australia by using the common law. This applies to the judgments of courts which are not included in the FJA. The party seeking to enforce the foreign judgment, commences a new court proceeding in Australia as the plaintiff and sues the debtor on the judgment. The judgment creditor can sue either for the judgment amount as a debt. Alternatively, or in addition, the judgment creditor can sue on the original cause of action for which judgment was obtained in the foreign court. The judgment creditor then relies on the foreign judgment as creating an estoppel  which prevents the judgment debtor from raising any defence which was, or could have been raised in the foreign proceedings. The same general criteria apply to common law enforcement as apply generally under the FJA namely, that:


a. the judgment of the foreign court needs to be final and conclusive,
b. from a court of record,
c. impose a personal obligation on the judgment debtor,
d. the foreign court must have exercised an “international” jurisdiction that Australian courts recognise;
e. the parties must be the same;
f. the judgment must be for a fixed sum although certain non--money judgment may be of available in equity.
g. The judgment must not be capable of being set aside on grounds such as it was given, in the absence of the appearance of the defendant, or, where enforcement in Australia would be against Australian public policy.


通常情况下,适用该程序在澳大利亚请求执行外国法院判决的一方还需要传唤专家证人,以证明外国法院判决符合该国的管辖规定。因此,基于对举证规则、可实践性以及诉讼成本等因素的考量,使用普通法程序执行外国法院判决的方法很少被适用。


The common law method of enforcement, is rarely utilised because of the evidentiary, practical and cost issues. Usually the party seeking to enforce the foreign judgment in Australia will need to call expert evidence of the foreign law to demonstrate that the common law requirements of the Australian court were complied with, within the foreign jurisdiction.


二、实践中在澳大利亚执行中国判决的要点及难点


A recent case on common law enforcement


确定申请承认与执行的路径及法律依据,并不意味着该申请就必然能获得一国的司法承认,受理法院需结合内国法及外国法有关标准进行判定。近期的一宗案件引起了中澳法律界的高度关注,在苏州海顺投资管理有限公司诉赵氏[2019]VSC 110案(2019年2月27日)中,维多利亚最高法院对中华人民共和国法院的判决予以承认和执行,笔者尝试通过该案剖析实践中的要点及难点。


The availability of procedures and a legal basis for the recognition and enforcement of Chinese judgments in another country, does not necessarily mean that an application for recognition will succeed. A recent case has caused high attention in Australia and China. The authors try to analyse the difficulties and the core-points of the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments through this case.


2.1 案例背景 Brief introduction of the case


2014年,中华人民共和国江苏省苏州市虎丘区人民法院根据苏州海顺投资管理有限公司(以下简称“海顺公司”)提供的三份贷款协议分别作出三份判决,判定被告赵某承担相应的还款义务。2015年,海顺公司在澳大利亚通过即决判决 程序申请执行中国法院判决。即决判决适用于原告的主张使法庭相信被告将“注定败诉”或“明显无望”的情形,该程序避免了冗长的庭审程序。


In Suzhou Haishun Investment Management Co Ltd v Zhao & Ors [2019] VSC 110 (27 February 2019) the Supreme Court of Victoria recently gave common law recognition and enforcement to a judgment of a court in the People’s Republic of China. In 2014 the plaintiff had obtained three judgments in the People’s Court of Huqiu District, Suzhou City in the People’s Republic of China against the defendant, Ms Zhao based on debts owed under three separate loan agreements.  In 2015 the plaintiff applied for common law enforcement of the Chinese judgments in Australia by way of summary judgment against the defendants. Summary judgment is available where a plaintiff persuades the Court that the defendant’s case is “doomed to fail” or “manifestly hopeless”. It avoids a lengthy defended hearing.


赵女士抗辩称:在收到澳大利亚诉讼副本之前,她压根不知道在中国有涉诉案件。海顺公司则表示:赵女士在其儿子和某公司的协助下,试图通过各种虚假陈述和交易来逃避中国法院的判决结果。但双方均认可,受时间限制,维多利亚最高法院需要处理的是对中国法院三份判决的认定。


Ms Zhao claimed in her defence that she had not been aware of the Chinese court proceeding until she was served with a copy of the Australian proceeding. In a parallel proceeding the plaintiff Suzhou Haishun also alleged that Ms Zhao, assisted by her son and a corporation, had attempted, by means of various misrepresentations and transactions to evade the consequences of the Chinese judgments. The parties had agreed that, given certain time constraints, the only application which the Victorian Supreme Court would deal with would be the claim for judgment based on the three judgments in China.


维多利亚最高法院曾于2018年发出一项冻结令,禁止赵女士从澳大利亚向海外转移资产,财产冻结上限为80万澳元。


The Supreme Court of Victoria had earlier (in 2018) made a freezing order which prohibited the defendants from removing from Australia assets up to the unencumbered value of AUD $8,000,000.


2.2 障碍难点分析

The main points and difficulties of the case are summarized as follows:


2.2.1 被申请人是否中国常住居民

Whether the respondent was a permanent resident of China


维多利亚最高院在判决书[51]中指出,中国法院审理该案的其中一个争议焦点是:中国法院的诉讼文书是否有效送达给赵女士,法院认为这是一个“必须依照中国法律确定的问题”。赵女士在中国的户籍管理制度下进行了户籍地址登记,此外,她持有中国身份证以及中国护照。中国法院曾向她的身份证住址送达诉讼文书但未妥投,随后进行公告送达。另,海顺公司从中国律师那里取得案件的相关证据,该律师曾出席苏州法院的部分庭审活动。他证实:某位自称是赵女士“实际控制”的中国公司的员工曾出席中国法庭的庭审活动,并当庭指认赵女士为其“老板”。


The Court noted at [51] of the judgment that there was an issue between the parties as to the adequacy of service of notice of the Chinese proceedings on Ms Zhao. The court considered that this was “a question that must be determined according to Chinese law”. Ms Zhao had been registered to an address in China under the hukou system. In addition, she possessed a Chinese identity card and held a Chinese passport. Service had been attempted at her registered address without success. Subsequently the Suzhou Court publicly advertised the proceedings. Suzhou Haishun called evidence as to Chinese law from a Chinese legal practitioner. This legal practitioner had also been present at part of the hearing in the Suzhou Court. He gave evidence that a man who described himself as an employee of a corporation controlled by Ms Zhao attended the Chinese court and gave evidence. During this hearing this man referred to Ms Zhao as “the boss”.

 

2.2.2中国法院是否向当事人合法有效地送达法律文书

Whether the Chinese court had legally and effectively served legal documents to the parties


澳大利亚法院认为亟需解决的问题是:根据中国的有关法律规定,中国法院对赵女士进行的送达是否有效;如果有效,是否存在对自然正义 的否定(这将有理由驳回申请人的“即决判决”申请)。澳大利亚法院认为该案不存在否认自然公正的情形,结合中国法律专家的证言,参照《中华人民共和国民事诉讼法》第92条的有关规定:在被送达人下落不明时可以通过公告的方式送达诉讼文书。赵女士辩称她不在中国身份证住址常住,这将直接影响中国法院对其诉讼文书送达的有效性。就此,维多利亚最高法院卡梅伦法官认为:


The Australian court found that the question which it had to decide was whether service on Ms Zhao had been effected in accordance with Chinese law, and even if it was, had there been a denial of natural justice (which would justify dismissing application for summary judgment). The Australian court held that there had been no denial of natural justice and referred to the expert evidence of Chinese law, and article 92 of the Chinese Civil Procedure Law which permits service of process by public announcement when the whereabouts of the person to be served is unknown. Ms Zhao also argued that she was not domiciled at her registered address in China and this affected the validity of the service upon her. Judge Cameron in the Victorian Supreme Court found that:


77此类案件非常棘手。案件当事人是否意识到自己涉诉系司法体系的基础,然而,我们还需要兼顾国家的法律是否得以遵守,是否违反了该国辖区内关于公平以及合理司法的价值观。

 

77 Cases such as these are necessarily vexed. It is a cornerstone of our justice system that litigants are aware of the case made against them, however, to be balanced against this is whether the laws of a foreign sovereign state are complied with and whether or not they offend this jurisdiction’s values as to the fair and reasonable administration of justice.


2.2.3 中国法院是否具有管辖权

Whether Chinese Court had jurisdiction


卡梅伦法官继而认为,赵女士就其在中国境内是否存在住所的问题提出的论据,不足以驳回海顺公司的简易程序申请:


Her Honour found that the arguments of Ms Zhao in relation to domicile were not strong enough to defeat the application for summary judgment and that:


81我认为,赵女士系完全意义上的中国公民,完全清楚中国的诉讼制度。因此,其应当遵守中国法律,由合同约定的管辖法院受理。

 

81  Ms Zhao was, in my opinion, entirely aware of the institution of the Chinese proceedings, was a full Chinese citizen and thus subject to their laws, and contractually submitted to the jurisdiction.


2.2.4 是否存在显失公平或公正的情形,作出即决判决是否对自然正义的否定

Whether there would be any obvious substantial unfairness or injustice in recognising the Chinese judgment, and whether making summary judgment is a denial of natural justice


卡梅伦法官根据下列理由作出判决:


Her Honour concluded her judgment for detailed reasons, in the following terms:


111 基于本案的实际情况,我认为应当谨慎行事,但作出即决判决并不存在任何实质性的显失公平或公正的情形。


111  I do not consider that there is any substantial injustice or unfairness in granting summary judgment, although exercised with caution, in the circumstances of this case.


112 我不认为社会有任何理由对司法工作失去信心,也不认为对本案作出即决判决是对自然正义的否定。如果一位自然人受外国法律和程序约束,除非违反了法律规则中的公平正义原则,否则本院将该外国法院的裁判结果作为即决判决的依据并无不妥。


112  I do not consider that there is any basis for the community to lose confidence in the administration of justice, nor do I consider it a denial of natural justice for summary judgment to be granted in this case. It is an inevitable decision that if an individual is subject to and submits to the laws and procedures of a foreign jurisdiction then, unless it offends this Court’s principles of justice or fairness encapsulated in the rule of law, then it is appropriate for this Court to have regard to the decisions of that foreign jurisdiction as the basis to make an order for summary judgment.


2.2.5 被申请人是否进行有效抗辩

Whether the respondent had a valid defense


113 我认为海顺公司已就其即决判决申请提出充分理由,它与贷款协议项下未偿债务的执行有关。基于上述事实和理由,我不认为赵女士能够成功地为其所欠债务进行有效抗辩。


113 In my opinion, Suzhou Haishun has made out its case in relation to its summary judgment application insofar as it relates to the enforcement of outstanding debts under the loan agreements. I do not consider, based on the facts and matters set out above, that Ms Zhao has any real prospects of success in defending a judgment in relation to the loan agreements.


三、结论 Conclusion

 

笔者期待,通过中国涉外律师与外国律师的法律合作,能够对相关申请作出合理预判,以提高中国判决在外国承认与执行的成功率。通过国际仲裁协议和适用普通法承认外国判决的有机结合,能让越来越多的当事人运用可行的、有效的争端解决机制解决矛盾,促使双边跨境交易向公平的、健康的方向发展,从而进一步促进中国与澳大利亚之间的经贸往来。


The authors expect that through the legal cooperation between Chinese foreign-related lawyers and overseas lawyers, the relevant applications can be reasonably prejudged, so as to improve the success rate of recognition and execution of Chinese judgments in foreign countries. It is to be hoped that through the combined operation of the International Arbitration Agreement (IAA) and common law recognition of Court judgments that trade and commerce between Australia and the People’s Republic of China might further develop as parties come to understand that there are available and effective enforcement mechanisms.


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