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Mingfa Group Co., Ltd. v. Powerlong Group Development Co., Ltd. et al. (Case of Dispute over a Contract)
明发集团有限公司与宝龙集团发展有限公司等合同纠纷案
【法宝引证码】
 
  
Mingfa Group Co., Ltd. v. Powerlong Group Development Co., Ltd., et al. (Case of Dispute over a Contract) 明发集团有限公司与宝龙集团发展有限公司等合同纠纷案
 
[Judgment Abstract] [裁判摘要]
Where the parties agree in the contract that for any dispute relating to the contract, both parties may either institute an action in a people's court or apply for arbitration to an arbitration commission, the agreement of both parties on arbitration shall be ineffective. However, after the dispute arises, where one party applies for arbitration to an arbitration commission and the other party raises no objection and actually participates in the arbitration, it shall be deemed that both parties have reached a consensus on resolving dispute by arbitration. Where both parties institute an action in the people's court for the relevant dispute in the same contract, the people's court shall not accept the action; and if the action has been accepted, the people's court shall rule to dismiss such action. 当事人在合同中约定,双方发生与合同有关的争议,既可以向人民法院起诉,也可以向仲裁机构申请仲裁的,当事人关于仲裁的约定无效。但发生纠纷后,一方当事人向仲裁机构申请仲裁,另一方未提出异议并实际参加仲裁的,应视为双方就通过仲裁方式解决争议达成了合意。其后双方就同一合同有关争议又向人民法院起诉的,人民法院不予受理;已经受理的,应裁定驳回起诉。
Civil Ruling of the Supreme People's Court (No. 480 [2021], Final, Civil Division, SPC) 最高人民法院民事裁定书(2021)最高法民终480号
Appellant (plaintiff in the trial of first instance): Mingfa Group Co., Ltd., domiciled in No. 327, Qianpu Middle Road, Siming District, Xiamen City, Fujian Province, Floor 30 of Mingfa Building. 上诉人(原审原告):明发集团有限公司。
Legal representative: Huang Huanming, chairman of the board of the Company. 法定代表人:黄焕明,该公司董事长。
Appellee (defendant in the trial of first instance): Powerlong Group Development Co., Ltd., domiciled in No. 305, Jiahe Road, Xiamen City, Fujian Province, Room 405 in Powerlong Center (Phase II). 被上诉人(原审被告):宝龙集团发展有限公司。
Legal representative: Xu Jiankang, chairman of the board of the Company. 法定代表人:许健康,该公司董事长。
Third person in the trial of first instance: Xiamen Branch of Grant Thornton Law Firm (Special General Partnership), domiciled in Building No. 12-15, District A, Chuangxin Tower, Software Park, Torch High-tech Development Zone, Xiamen City, Fujian Province. 原审第三人:致同会计师事务所(特殊普通合伙)厦门分所。
Person-in-charge: Liu Wei. 负责人:刘维。
Appellant Mingfa Group Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "Mingfa Company") refused to accept the civil ruling (No. 44 [2019], First, Civil Division, HPC, Fujian) entered by High People's Court of Fujian Province for dispute over a contract between it and appellee Powerlong Group Development Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "Powerlong Company") and a third person in the original trial, Xiamen Branch of Grant Thornton Law Firm (Special General Partnership), and appealed to the Supreme People's Court. After opening the case on March 2, 2021, the Supreme People's Court legally formed a collegial bench to hear this case. This case has been concluded. 上诉人明发集团有限公司(简称明发公司)因与被上诉人宝龙集团发展有限公司(简称宝龙公司)及原审第三人致同会计师事务所(特殊普通合伙)厦门分所合同纠纷一案,不服福建省高级人民法院(2019)闽民初44号民事裁定,向本院提起上诉。本院于2021年3月2日立案后,依法组成合议庭审理了本案。本案现已审理终结。
Mingfa Company appealed and requested that the ruling of first instance should be set aside and the court of first instance should be instructed to continue the hearing of this case. The main facts and grounds were as follows: 1. It was the first time that Mingfa Company raised the relevant claim regarding the dispute involved to the judicial organ and the court of first instance was at fault for not accepting such claim without any handling. First, the Xiamen Arbitration Commission did not recognize and handle the development costs and non-business expenditures of 572,359,122.72 yuan involved in the Report on Executing the Agreed Procedure for the Expenditures of the Xiamen Mingfa Shopping Mall Cooperative Project. Second, the claims raised by Mingfa Company including the brand royalty and housing use fee were not included in the claims or counterclaims in the arbitration case and not heard by refereeing authorities including the Xiamen Arbitration Commission. 2. Where both parties did not agree on arbitration by an arbitration commission, Mingfa Company may seek resolution of other disputes under the Contract on Cooperative Development of the "Mingfa Shopping Mall" (hereinafter referred to as the "Cooperative Contract") by action. (1) In accordance with the provisions of Article 7 of the Interpretation of the Supreme People's Court concerning Several Issues on Application of the Arbitration Law of the People's Republic of China, Article 12 of the Cooperative Contract on arbitration had no legal force and should be deemed as failure of both parties to reach a consensus on submission to arbitration. (2) Mingfa Company's participation in arbitration should be only deemed as its consent to resolution of some contents in the claims and counterclaims raised in the arbitration case by arbitration. It should not be presumed that Mingfa Company agreed to resolve other disputes under the contract involved by arbitration, unless both parties reached a new arbitration agreement or they had other clear declaration of intention. (3) The clause on resolution of dispute was an agreement of both parties on the choice of a method for resolving dispute under the principle of autonomy of will. Where there was no prohibitive provisions, the autonomy of will of the parties should be respected to the maximum extent. The court of first instance determined that any new dispute arising in the course of cooperation should still be resolved by the chosen method of arbitration on the ground that "both parties have chosen to resolve contractual disputes by arbitration." The aforesaid determination was erroneous and the court of second instance should make a correction. 明发公司上诉请求:撤销一审裁定,指令一审法院继续审理本案。主要事实和理由是:一、案涉纠纷系明发公司首次向司法机关提出相关主张,未经司法机关处理,一审法院对此不予受理错误。首先,厦门仲裁委员会并未对《关于厦门明发商业广场合作项目支出执行商定程序的报告》涉及的572,359,122.72元的开发成本与营业外支出进行认定和处理。其次,明发公司提出的品牌使用费、房屋使用费等诉讼请求,既未包含在仲裁案件的请求或反请求当中,也未经包括厦门仲裁委员会在内的裁判机关审理。二、在双方未约定由仲裁机构仲裁的情况下,明发公司就《合作开发“明发商业广场”合同书》(以下简称合作合同)项下其他纠纷可通过诉讼方式解决争议。(一)根据《最高人民法院关于适用〈中华人民共和国仲裁法〉若干问题的解释》第七条之规定,合作合同第十二条关于约定仲裁的条款没有法律效力,应视为双方未达成提交仲裁的合意。(二)明发公司参加仲裁,仅视为其同意通过仲裁方式解决仲裁案件中请求和反请求部分涉及的内容,并不能推定其同意通过仲裁方式解决案涉合同项下的其他纠纷,除非双方有新的仲裁协议或其他明确的意思表示。(三)争议解决条款是当事人依据意思自治原则选择争议解决方式的约定,在没有禁止性规定的情况下,应最大程度上尊重当事人的意思自治。一审法院以“双方已经选择通过仲裁方式解决合同纠纷”为由,认定对于合作中新产生的争议仍应按既选的仲裁方式解决错误,二审法院应予纠正。
Mingfa Company claimed in its action instituted in the court of first instance that: (1) Powerlong Company should be ordered to pay Mingfa Company the expenditures of 166,269,681.29 yuan for the project of the Mingfa Shopping Mall; (2) Powerlong Company should be ordered to pay Mingfa Company the fund usage charge of 103,270,099.05 yuan; (3) Powerlong Company should be ordered to pay Mingfa Company the "Mingfa" brand royalty of 48 million yuan (with the specific amount subject to that in the identification opinions); (4) Powerlong Company should be ordered to pay Mingfa Company the lawyer fee of 500,000 yuan; and (5) all action fee in this case should be borne by Powerlong Company. On November 19, 2019, Mingfa Company added new claims that: (1) Powerlong Company should be ordered to pay the housing usage charge (temporarily calculated to July 15, 2019, totaling 25,113,855.78 yuan) as well as the corresponding interest for fund usage charge (calculated at the interest rate of 10% on an annual basis, temporarily calculated to July 15, 2019, totaling 16,895,238.9 yuan); (2) Powerlong Company should be ordered to pay the interest of fund usage charge due to initial insufficient capital investment, totaling 1,053,811.74 yuan; (3) Powerlong Company should be ordered to pay the property management fee (temporarily calculated to June 18, 2019, totaling 21,917,044.78 yuan); (4) Powerlong Company should be ordered to pay wages of senior managers (temporarily calculated to June 18, 2019, totaling 20,653,561.64 yuan); and (5) Powerlong Company should be ordered to pay Mingfa Company the project fund of 23,032,176 yuan. 明发公司向一审法院起诉请求:一、判令宝龙公司向明发公司支付明发商业广场项目支出166,269,681.29元;二、判令宝龙公司向明发公司支付资金占用费103,270,099.05元;三、判令宝龙公司向明发公司支付“明发”品牌使用费 4,800万元(具体费用以鉴定意见为准);四、判令宝龙公司向明发公司支付律师费50万元;五、本案的全部诉讼费用由宝龙公司负担。2019年11月19日,明发公司增加诉讼请求:一、判令宝龙公司支付房屋使用费(暂计至2019年 7月15日共计25,113,855.78元),以及相应资金占用利息(按年度支付计算资金占用利息,利息按年利率10%计算,暂计至 2019年7月15日共计16,895,238.9元);二、判令宝龙公司支付前期投入不足资金占用利息1,053,811.74元;三、判令宝龙公司支付物业管理费(暂计至2019年6月 18日共计21,917,044.78元);四、判令宝龙公司支付高级管理人员工资(暂计至 2019年6月18日共计20,653,561.64元);五、判令宝龙公司向明发公司支付工程费用23,032,176元。
The court of first instance held that: First, both parties have chosen arbitration to resolve contractual disputes. On November 8, 2002, Mingfa Company and Powerlong Company signed a Cooperative Contract. On November 26, 2009, Powerlong Company applied for arbitration to the Xiamen Arbitration Commission in accordance with the provisions of Article 12 of the Cooperative Contract that "Any dispute arising from execution and interpretation of all clauses of the Contract, both parties to the Contract shall resolve such dispute upon friendly consultation. If the dispute fails to be resolved through mediation, they may submit to arbitration by the local arbitration commission or institute an action in the people's court within the jurisdiction."On December 1, 2009, Mingfa Company received a notice of acceptance and the relevant materials from the Xiamen Arbitration Commission, with Liao Yixin selected as the arbitrator. It raised no objection to the acceptance of this case by the Xiamen Arbitration Commission and the formation of the arbitral tribunal. Both parties participated in the arbitration proceedings. On October 30, 2018, the Xiamen Arbitration Commission made an arbitral award. In accordance with the provisions of paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the Arbitration Law of the People's Republic of China and Article 7 of the Interpretation of the Supreme People's Court concerning Several Issues on Application of the Arbitration Law of the People's Republic of China, the aforesaid acts of the parties showed that both parties have selected arbitration to resolve disputes arising in the course of cooperation. Second, the Xiamen Arbitration Commission has made an arbitral award on the dispute between both parties according to the application of Powerlong Company. Afterwards, the Intermediate People's Court of Xiamen City, Fujian Province entered a ruling of dismissing the application of Mingfa Company for setting aside the arbitral award. The action instituted by Mingfa Company (including the claims it added afterwards) were still based on disputes arising in the performance of the Cooperative Contract signed by and between both parties on November 8, 2002. Article 9 of the Arbitration Law of the People's Republic of China provides that "A system of a single and final award shall be practised for arbitration. If a party applies for arbitration to an arbitration commission or institutes an action in a people's court regarding the same dispute after an arbitral award has been made, the arbitration commission or the people's court shall not accept the case." Therefore, Mingfa Company was not allowed to institute a civil action in the people's court for the dispute for which an arbitral award has been made; and any new dispute arising in the course of cooperation should still be resolved by the selected method of arbitration. In conclusion, in accordance with the provisions of item (2) of Article 124 and item (3) of paragraph 1 of Article 154 of the Civil Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China, Article 9 of the Arbitration Law of the People's Republic of China, and paragraph 3 of Article 208 and Article 215 of the Interpretation of the Supreme People's Court on the Application of the Civil Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China, the court of first instance ruled to dismiss the action instituted by Mingfa Company. 一审法院认为:首先,双方已经选择通过仲裁方式解决合同纠纷。2002年11月8日,明发公司与宝龙公司签订合作合同, 2009年11月26日,宝龙公司依据合作合同第十二条“对本合同各条款的执行与解释所引起的争执,合作双方应尽量通过友好协商解决,如争议调节不成,可提交当地仲裁机构仲裁或辖区人民法院诉讼”约定向厦门仲裁委员会申请仲裁。2009年12月1日,明发公司收到厦门仲裁委员会受理通知及相关材料,选定仲裁员廖益新,对厦门仲裁委员会受理本案及仲裁庭组成均没有异议,双方参加了仲裁审理活动,直至2018年10月30日仲裁委作出裁决书。根据《中华人民共和国仲裁法》第二十条第二款及《最高人民法院关于适用〈中华人民共和国仲裁法〉若干问题的解释》第七条规定,当事人上述行为表明双方对合作中产生的纠纷已经选择通过仲裁解决。其次,2018年10月30日,厦门仲裁委员会已根据宝龙公司的申请对双方的争议作出裁决。之后,福建省厦门市中级人民法院亦已就明发公司的撤销仲裁申请作出驳回裁定。本案明发公司所提起的诉讼(包括增加的诉讼请求)仍是基于双方在履行2002年11月8日签订的合作合同中所产生的纠纷,根据《中华人民共和国仲裁法》第九条“仲裁实行一裁终局的制度。裁决作出后,当事人就同一纠纷再申请仲裁或向人民法院起诉的,仲裁委员会或者人民法院不予受理”,故明发公司对已经仲裁的争议不能再向法院提起民事诉讼;对于合作中新产生的争议仍应按既选的仲裁方式解决。综上,一审法院依照《中华人民共和国民事诉讼法》第一百二十四条第二项、第一百五十四条第一款第三项,《中华人民共和国仲裁法》第九条,《最高人民法院关于适用〈中华人民共和国民事诉讼法〉的解释》第二百零八条第三款、第二百一十五条规定,裁定:驳回明发集团有限公司的起诉。
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