中国担保制度主要问题之二:担保方式(中英文)

2021-09-10  来自: 常州市金诚工程担保有限公司 浏览次数:25

一、保证的概念

I.Concept of Suretyship

根据《民法典》[i]第681条,担保是指由担保人“为保障债权的实现”而作出的“当债务人不履行到期债务或者发生当事人约定的情形时,保证人履行债务或者承担责任”的约定。

According to Article 681 of the Civil Code[ii], suretyship refers to a promise made by the surety “for the purpose of ensuring the enforcement of an underlying claim” that he would “perform the obligation or bear the liability when the debtor fails to perform the obligation when it is due or acircumstance as agreed by the parties occurs”.

二、保证方式

II.Forms of Suretyship

中国法项下的保证方式有两种。《民法典》第686条第1款规定:“保证的方式包括一般保证和连带责任保证。”明确保证的方式包括一般保证和连带责任保证。

There are two forms of suretyship under the PRC law. Article 686.1 of the Civil Code provides that “Suretyship consists of general suretyship and suretyship with joint and several liability.”

三、保证方式的推定规则

III.Presumption Rules on Form of Suretyship

保证方式为任意事项,可由当事人在保证合同中进行约定。如若当事人没有约定或约定不明时,则需要运用保证方式的推定规则推断确定保证方式。

The suretyship form of is an arbitrary matter that can be agreed mutually by parties involved in the suretyship contract. If there is no agreement on suretyship form or the agreement is unclear, the presumption rules shall apply.

《担保法》第19条规定:“当事人对保证方式没有约定或者约定不明确的,按照连带责任保证承担保证责任。” 明确了当事人对保证方式没有约定或者约定不明确时的推定规则,即推定保证方式为连带责任保证。其理由在于,明确了保证人承担连带责任保证,不仅更有利于保障债权的实现,而且也使保证人明确对保证方式不约定或约定不明的法律后果,从而对保证方式作出适当选择。[iii]

Article 19 of the Security Law provided: “where there is no agreement on the form of the suretyship or the relevant agreement is unclear, the surety shall bear the liability as in the form of a suretyship with joint and several liability.” This clause clarified the presumed suretyship form to be joint and several liability suretyship. The reason of such arrangement was to both facilitate the realization of the creditor’s right and motivate the surety to make a specific agreement on the form of suretyship in the contract, otherwise the surety would bear the adverse consequence thereof.[iv]

但《民法典》第686条第2款对该推定规则做了颠覆性修改,规定:“当事人在保证合同中对保证方式没有约定或者约定不明确的,按照一般保证承担保证责任。”明确了当事人对保证方式没有约定或者约定不明确时的推定规则,即推定保证方式为一般保证。究其原因,主要在于保证具有无偿性和单务性,保证人本就仅承担义务而不享有权利,在保证方式没有约定或者约定不明确时,推定保证人承担更重的连带责任保证,加重了保证人的担保责任,在债务人有足够的财产可用于清偿而仍要求保证人承担担保责任时,则明显有失公平。

However, Article 686.2 of the Civil Code makes subverted modification on the presumption rules as set in the Security Law by providing that “Where there is no agreement in the suretyship contract on the form of the suretyship or the relevant agreement is unclear, the surety shall bear the liability as in the form of a general suretyship”. According to which, the presumed form of suretyship is now general suretyship instead of suretyship with joint and several liability. The rationale behind this change is that suretyship is gratuitous and unilateral and the surety has bear the obligation with no right under asuretyship. It would be obviously unfair to further aggravate surety’s obligation by presuming the suretyship as joint and several liability when no agreement reached on the suretyship form or the relevant agreement is unclear, especially when the debtor himself is capable of performing the obligation or bearing the liability.

本条也反映出,与《担保法》相比,《民法典》在立法倾向上已发生了变化,即已由注重对债权人的保护向平衡债权人和担保人的利益转变,因此,在无法作出有说服力的合同解释的情况下,应向责任较轻的方向进行推定。[v]这种立法倾向上的变化,不仅在本条得以体现,在保证与债务加入的识别等相关规定中也得到了体现。

This clause also reflects that Civil Code has changed the legislative inclinationand values more on the balance between the creditor and the surety comparingwith the Security Law’s preference for protection on creditors. Therefore, in the case where there is no convincing interpretation on the suretyship contract,a presumption in the direction of less obligation on surety’s side shall bemade.[vi] This inclination can also be seen on recognition rule between suretyship and joining of the obligation.

四、推定规则的时间效力

IV.Time Effect of the New Presumption Rules set in the Civil Code

《民法典》施行后签订的保证合同如对保证方式无约定或约定不明,均应按照《民法典》第686条规定的推定规则推定为一般保证。但《民法典》施行前签订的保证合同如对保证方式无约定或约定不明,则应适用《担保法》推定为连带责任保证,还是应适用《民法典》推定为一般保证?

For those contracts executed after the effectiveness of the Civil Code, it is no doubt that the presumption rules to determine the suretyship form as set out in the Civil Code shall apply. The problem is which presumption rule shall apply for contracts signed and executed before the Civil Code.

“民法典施行前的法律事实引起的民事纠纷案件,当时的法律、司法解释有规定,适用当时的法律、司法解释的规定,但是适用民法典的规定更有利于保护民事主体合法权益,更有利于维护社会和经济秩序,更有利于弘扬社会主义核心价值观的除外。”因此,《民法典》施行前签订的保证合同如对保证方式无约定或约定不明,原则上应适用《担保法》推定为连带责任保证。例如,在何福军与张志峰保证合同纠纷案[vii]中,法院认为,担保人为债权人与债务人之间发生的借款提供担保,未约定担保方式,按照当时的担保法及其司法解释的规定,应视为连带保证责任担保。

The principle of non-retroactivity of law is a general principle, according to the Article 2 of Several Provisions of the Supreme People's Court on Time Effect for Application of the Civil Code of the People's Republic of China (the “Provisions on Time Effect”), “for civil dispute cases arising from legal facts before the effectiveness of the Civil Code, if there are relevant provisions in the laws and judicial interpretations at that time, such provisions shall apply”. Therefore, if the suretyship contract signed before the implementation of the Civil Code and has no specific agreement on the suretyship form or the agreementis unclear, the surety shall be presumed to bear a joint and several liability based on the Security Law. I.e., in the case of He Fujun v.Zhang Zhifeng[viii], the court held that the contract was signed before the Civil Code and the effective security law and judicial interpretations then shall apply. Given that there is no agreed suretyship form, the form shall presume to be suretyship with joint and several liability.

但能否适用“有利溯及适用规则”,根据“三个更有利于”,赋予《民法典》“推定为一般保证”的推定规则具有溯及力?笔者认为不能。因为“更有利于保护民事主体合法权益”中“民事主体”的表述并没有明确是哪一方民事主体,在有利溯及判定上,应当限定在对各方当事人均更加有利或者至少对一方更加有利的同时不损害其他方权益的情形。[ix]如赋予《民法典》“推定为一般保证”的推定规则具有溯及力,虽然有助于保护保证人的利益,但会损害债权人的利益。而且,法律保护的当事人合理预期,是当事人基于对行为时的法律信赖所形成的预期。作为《担保法》的推定规则,一经公布即视为当事人知晓。因此,当事人在《民法典》施行前签订保证合同时的合理预期,应该是“当事人对保证方式没有约定或者约定不明确的,按照连带责任保证承担保证责任。”若适用“有利溯及适用规则”例外原则,赋予《民法典》“推定为一般保证”的推定规则具有溯及力,将打破当事人合理预期,不利于维护社会和经济秩序。

Some may refer to rule of beneficial retroactive application as an exception for the principle of non-retroactivity of law, the rule can also be found in Article 2 of the Provisions on Time Effect as follows: “... unless the application of the provisions of the Civil Code is more beneficial to the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of civil subjects, to the maintenance of social and economic order and to the promotion of socialist core values”(the “Three More-beneficial Standard”). However, the writer is of the negative opinion because the situation does not fit in the Three More-beneficial Standard and cannot trigger the exception. Firstly, the expression “more beneficial to the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of civil subjects” does not specify which party’s interest is of more favorable. Beneficial retroactive application rule shall be utilized to the extent that it would benefit both parties, or benefit at least one party on the condition that the other party’s interest would not be detracted[x]. If the new presumption rules of surety form in Civil Code apply,it would be harmful to the creditor’s interest. Moreover, the reasonable expectations of the parties are based on the law at the time of the legal behavior and shall be protected. As the presumption rules stipulated in the Security Law, it shall deemed to be known to the parties once it is publicized. Therefore, the reasonable expectation of parties when signing a suretyship contract before the implementation of the Civil Code shall be “if there is no agreement on the form of the suretyship or the relevant agreement is unclear, the surety shall bear the liability as in the form of asuretyship with joint and several liability.” If the beneficial retroactive application rule applies, it would be contrary to parties’ reasonable expectations and not beneficial to the maintenance of social and economic order.

五、推定规则的适用条件

V.Conditions for Application of the Rule

适用保证方式的推定规则,须是当事人对保证方式没有约定或者约定不明确时方可适用。例如,保证合同的文字表述中,有的具有债务人应当先承担责任的意思表示,有的又不具有债务人应当先承担责任的意思表示,这是典型的约定不明确的情形。再例如,在王嘉慧与龙雪怡、李伟龙民间J贷纠纷案[xi]中,法院认为,保证人虽然在《欠条》的担保人栏上签名,但没有明确保证方式,因此对于债务人的上述债务,保证人应承担一般保证责任。但如果通过意思表示的解释规则,能够推知当事人的意思表示,确定保证人承担的保证责任方式的,则不能简单地直接适用推定规则。

Presumption rules on form of suretyship shall only be applied where no agreement was made in the suretyship contract on suretyship form or the relevant agreement is unclear. For example, some of the suretyship contracts may convey expressions on both suretyship forms which is a typical situation of unclear agreement. Further, in Wang Jiahui v. Long Xueyi and Li Weilong[xii], the court found that the surety only signed at the corresponding signature block without any agreed suretyship form. Therefore, the court held it to be general suretyship. However, if the intention of the parties could be inferred following theinterpretation rules on expression of intent, the presumption rules shall not be directly applied.

《民法典》第142条第1款规定:“有相对人的意思表示的解释,应当按照所使用的词句,结合相关条款、行为的性质和目的、习惯以及诚信原则,确定意思表示的含义。”确立了意思表示解释的方法与顺序,依次为文义解释、整体解释、目的解释、习惯解释以及依据诚信原则解释。如果顺序靠前的解释方法已经足以清楚地探知当事人的意思,则应当就此停止解释,不再采用其他方法;只有在顺序靠前的解释方法不能清楚地解释意思表示时,才需要依次向下尝试其他方法。例如,在中国银行股份有限公司淄博博山支行与淄博万杰医院、淄博博易纤维有限公司、万杰集团有限责任公司管辖权纠纷二审案[xiii]中,法院认为,从合同解释角度来看,当事人对合同条文发生争议时,必X探究当事人内在的真实意思表示,判断当事人真实的意思表示首要方法是判断当事人字面的意思表示。这是合同解释中的文义解释,只有在文义解释不能确定该条款的准确含义时,再运用其他解释方法去确定合同条款的含义以及填补合同的漏洞。另外也需要注意的是,意思表示解释规则适用的前提是当事人有约定但不清晰。如果当事人的意思表示清楚明白,则不需要解释。只有当事人所使用的语言不清楚,模棱两可,有两种以上的含义时才需要解释。

Article 142.1 of the Civil Code provides: “where an expression of intent is made to a specific person, the meaning of the expression shall be interpreted according to the words and sentences used, with reference to the relevant terms, the nature and purpose of the civil juristic act, the custom, and the principle of good faith.” This establishes the method and sequence of interpretation of meaning of the expression, which are, in order of application, semantic interpretation,overall interpretation, teleological interpretation, customary interpretation and interpretation based on principle of good faith. If a method of higher order is sufficient to clearly ascertain the intention of parties, the processof interpretation shall be terminated. Only when the precedent method fails to ascertain the intention can we move to the subsequent method(s). For example,in the case of BOC Zibo v. Zibo Wanjie Hospital, Zibo Boyi Fibre Ltd. And Wanjie Group Ltd[xiv],the court held that from the perspective of contract interpretation, when parties have disputes on contract terms,parties’ real expression of intention must be ascertained. The primary method for judging the textual meaning of their wordings is known as semantic interpretation.Only when the semantic interpretation method fails to infer the intention,other methods shall be applied to find the meaning of the clauses and fill the gaps. For further attention, only when the wordings of the contract is unclear,ambiguous and/or has more than two meanings does it need to be explained by the interpretation methods aforesaid.

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1. 中国担保制度主要问题之一:公司对外担保规则

1. Security System in China I:Rules for company’s external security

[i]除非特别说明,本文中的术语具有“中国担保制度主要问题之一公司对外担保规则”中定义的含义。

[ii]Unless otherwise specified, the terms in this article have the meanings defined in “Security System in China I Rules forcompany’s external security”。

[iii]参见Q人大常委会法制工作委员会民法室编著:《中华人民共和国担保法释义》,法律出版社1995年版,第25页。

[iv]See the Civil Law Office of the Legal Work Committee of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Interpretation on the Security Law of PRC(1995),p25.

[v]刘贵祥:《民法典关于担保的几个重要问题》,《法律适用》2021年第1期。

[vi] See Liu Guixiang,Several Important Issues Relating to Security in the Civil Code, Application of the Law, 2021, No.01.

[vii]江苏省盱眙县人民法院(2020)苏0830民初4398号民事判决书。

[viii] Case no. (2020) Su 0830 Minchu 4398, the Primary People’s Court of Xvyu County of Jiangsu Province,

[ix]参见最高人民法院民法典贯彻实施工作领导小组:《<最高人民法院关于适用<民法典>时间效力的若干规定>的理解与适用》,《人民司法》,2021年第10期。

[x] See Supreme Court’s Working Group on Implementing the Civil Code, Understanding and Application on Several Provisions of the Supreme People's Court on Time Effect for Application of the Civil Code of the People's Republic of China, People’s Justice, 2021, N O.10.

[xi]广东省清远市清新区人民法院(2021)粤1803民初18号民事判决书。

[xii] Case no. (2021) Yue 1803 Minchu 18, the Primary People’s Court of Qingxin District of Qingyuan City, Guangdong Province , .

[xiii]最高人民法院(2007)民二终字第99号民事裁定书。

[xiv] Case no. (2007) Min’er Zhongzi 99, the Supreme People’s court of PRC.

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