从The“Radauti”案看不可抗力条款

航运佬2019-06-29 19:54:24


【摘要】在航运实务中,经常会碰到港口压港的情况;甚至在订约当时就已经知道了港口压港,那么这种可预见的压港,承租人是否可引援不可抗力条款来免除责任呢?本文通过对The“Radauti案来说说这个问题。

【关键词】Force Majeure、可预见性、压港、不可抗力

 

  珠江及长江两区域因往来船舶众多,航道繁忙,加上船员素质高低不同的因素,时常有报道发生船舶碰撞,甚至沉船等事故。比如去年年底珠江口发生沉船事故,导致了航道被封了十多天。有人询问笔者,该事件是否属于不可抗力?如果以不可抗力为由,拒绝支付滞期费是否有道理?为此,感觉有必要对这类因当局封港封航是否可归属于不抗力,当事人是否可以引援并试图去免除责任予以澄清。

   那么首先来了解一下,“Force Majeure的简单含义。参《Black’sLaw Dictionary》,对ForceMajeure的解释如下:在保险法中,超级或不可抗拒的力量。这种强制条款在建造合同中很常见,以保护如果由于当事方不能控制的原因导致合同的一部分无法履行且无法通过谨慎行事来避免。石油和天然气租赁条款,规定承租人将不被认为违反了租赁条款,当承租人因不可抗力(字面意思是“超强的力量”)而被阻止。通常情况下,这些条款具体表明问题超出了承租人的合理控制,这将会免除履约责任。

Force majeure

In the law of insurance, superior or irresistible force. Such clause FORCIBLE ENTRY is common in construction contracts to protect the parties in the event that apart of the contract cannot be performed due to causes which are outside thecontrol of

the parties and could not be avoided by exercise of due care. An oil and gas lease clause that provides that the lessee will not be held to have breached the lease terms

while the lessee is prevented by force majeure (literally, "superior force")from performing. Typically, such clauses specifically indicate problems beyondthe reasonable control of the lessee that will excuse performance.

See also Actof God; Vis major.

 

通常认为,不可抗力说的是Force Majeure,但“Force Majeure这是法语,用英语表述即为Act of God,而“Vis major则为拉丁文,用我们中文来说就是“不可抗力”。

Black’s Law Dictionary》中对 “Act of God的解释如下:

Act of God.

An act occasioned exclusively by forces of nature without the interference of any human agency. A misadventure or casualty is said to be caused by the "act of God," when it happens by the direct, immediate, and exclusive operation ofthe forces of nature, uncontrolled and uninfluenced by the power of man, and without human intervention, and is of such a character that it could not have been prevented or escaped from by any amount of foresight or prudence, or by any reasonable degree of care or diligence, or by the aid of any appliances which the situation of the party might reasonably require him to use. Any accidentproduced by any physical cause which is irresistible, such as lightning,tempests, perils of the seas, tornados, earthquakes.

Middaugh v.U.S., D.C.Wyo.,293 F.Supp. 977,

980. See Inevitable accident; Perils of the sea; Vis major.

这种行为完全是由自然力量引起的,不受任何人类的干涉。这是一场不幸事故或意外事故,由“上帝的行为”造成的。当它发生在自然力量的直接的,即时的和排他性的作用下,不受人类的力量控制和影响的时候,没有人的干预,而且具有这样一种性质,它不可能被任何远见或审慎,或任何合理的谨慎或勤勉的程度,或借助当事人的情况可能合理要求他使用的任何器械。任何由于任何不可抗拒的物理原因所造成的事故,例如闪电,暴风雨,海险,龙卷风,地震等。
   这种
Act of God的解释更多地是偏向自然力的原因;但不可抗力还包括人力方面的,比如战争,骚乱,武装劫持,或者没收等。当然如何去界定,当事人是否可以成功引援这些不可抗力来免责,还得根据特定的事实情况。在订约自由的情况下(Freedomof contract),当事人可以通过额外增加的条款来明确列明可归于不可抗力的事项。如果没有列明,那么法官将对试图引援不可抗力条款来免责的一方作出严格的解释。

   对于这个订约自由,可以参Chittyon Contracts的如下说明:

The parties were supposed to be the best judges oftheir owner interests, and if they freely and voluntarily entered into acontract, the only function of the law was to enforce it. It was immaterial that one partywas economically in a stronger bargaining position than the other. If he introduced qualifications and exceptions to his liability, e.g. in what areknown today as exemption clauses, and the other party accepted them, then full effect would be given to what the parties agreed.

       当事方应该被认为是他们自己利益的最好的法官,如果他们自由地及自愿地签订合约,那么法律的唯一功能就是执行。一方比另一方在经济上更能讨价还价这并不重要。如果他介绍其责任的资格和例外情况,例如在今天所知的豁免条款中,另一方接受了这些条款,那么双方所同意的应充分发挥作用。

因此,当事人可以借助订约自由的原则,只要不违法且能说服对方,那么可以将任意事项归为不可抗力在合同中列明,以免除自己的责任。

 

    接下来就来看看本文介绍的,TheRadauti案。

 

 

一、基本案情
   1977年9月16日,Navrom(以下简称为“出租人”)将他们的船“Raduit轮(以下简称“该轮”)租给Callitsis Ship Management S.A.(以下简称为“承租人”)。执行一个从鹿特丹装袋装小麦面粉,到利比亚的TripoliBenghazi,其中一个港口的一个或两个安全泊位卸。

最终承租人安排该轮到利比亚的Tripoli港口卸货。

该轮于1977年10月21日抵达Tripoli的锚地并抛锚。第二天递交了准备就绪通知书。但是直到12月15日,该轮在锚地等了近两个月之后,才有一个泊位可供该轮卸货。到1978年1月18日才最终卸完货。允许可用的卸货时间按照租船合同第20条计算,只有10天11小时22分钟。超过部分出租人将需要按每天2,000美元的费率支付滞期费。出租人主张滞期时间为73天23小时 8分钟,扣除5%的佣金后,总共滞期费为140,531.39美元。在1977年10月22日开始计时的基础上,他们的准备通知期满了。承租人认为,装卸时间并未开始起算,直到12月15日该轮靠上泊位。在此基础上,出租人他们承认40,306.60美元的滞期费,

合同第29条仲裁条款规定,仲裁将在伦敦解决。在仲裁的情况下,由出租人指定一名仲裁员,由承租人指定一名仲裁员。如果这两名仲裁员不能达成一致意见,那么这两名仲裁员公共任命一名首席仲裁员,其裁决是最终的,对双方都有约束力。

Arbitration to be settled in London.In case of arbitration one arbitrator to be appointed by the Owners and one arbitrator to be appointed by the Charterers. In case these two arbitrators cannot agree then these two arbitrators to appoint an umpire whose decisions shall be final and binding upon both parties.

 

此外,还有另外两个重要的条款,第6条是租船合同的印刷形式,但略有修改,规定:

Time lost in waiting for berth to count as lay time.

第33条属于打印的附加条款:

Force majeure; strikes orlock outs of workmen at shippers' factory on railways barges trucks lorries atthe loading or discharging port or elsewhere, war, or effects of war,revolution, civil commotion, breakdown on or stoppage of railways barges trucksor lorries, interruptions, stoppage or shortage or destruction of goods intransit or fire tempests inundations, earthquakes, unavoidable accidents to machinery or other unavoidable hindrances in transportation, loading,discharging or receiving the goods, restraints of established authorities or any other causes or hindrances happening without the fault of the charterers, shippers or suppliers ofcargo, preventing or delaying the manufacturing supplying loading dischargingor receiving of the cargo are excepted and neither charterers nor shippersshould be liable for any loss or damage resulting from any such excepted causesand time lost by reason thereof shall not count as lay days or days on demurrage. The same shall apply to any delay caused by the ship or crew.

 

 

二、争议焦点

 

当事人双方对在Tripoli港所产生的滞期费计算有争议,于是提起仲裁。当事人双方指定的两名仲裁员为DonaldDavies先生和MichaelM. Mabbs先生,都是L.M.A.A的成员。他们又任命了L.M.A.A.Hiro Keswani先生为首席仲裁员。

  仲裁员在查证后认定:

当时的Tripoli港多年来一直遭受拥挤的情况,在那些从事国际航运业务的人是众所周知的。该轮正在运载小麦粉,这种货物通常优先卸载,而不是装载食品或其他必需品的船舶。尽管如此,这艘船仍在Tripoli锚地长时间等待泊位靠泊卸货。

20. It was well known to thoseengaged in international shipping business at the time that Tripoli had suffered from congestion for a number of years. The vessel was carrying a cargo of wheat flour, thetype of cargo which is normally given priority for discharge in preference to vessels not carrying food stuffs or other essential cargo. Nevertheless, the vessel was kept waiting for a berth at Tripoli Roads for a long period.

当港口发生拥挤时,港口当局有责任通过采取适当措施处理港口泊位分配问题。

21. When aport suffers from congestion it is almost invariably the responsibility of the port authorities to deal with the situation by taking appropriate measures inrespect of allocation of berths in the port.

 

当事人之间争议焦点的法律问题是,是否根据所认定的事实以及租船合同的真实解释,装卸时间在该轮在Tripoli锚地等待泊位的期间可以整个或部分起算,以便在1977年11月5日1722的时候使船舶进入滞期,如果是的话是什么时间?

34.1 Whetheron the facts found and on the true construction of the charter-party lay time ran during the whole or part of the period that the vessel was waiting for berth in Tripoli so as to cause the vessel to go on demurrage at 17.22 hours onthe 5th November 1977 or some other time and if so what time?

  在三天的审理之后,仲裁员并未达成一致意见,1986年7月7日,Keswani先生以特殊案件的形式作出裁决。他认为,出租人关于在Tripoli港的滞期费用索赔不成立,除非是承租人承认。现在法院正在审理这起特殊案件,并以不当行为或程序性事故为由裁定或撤销裁决。

  出租人的代表律师Young先生主张仲裁庭裁决错误,由于阻止该轮获得泊位的拥挤并不属于合同第33条中可除外的原因之一。

 

三、法官判决

    Staughton法官认为,在他面前没有直接的证据(例如,Tripoli港的港务局的一份声明),确认港口拥挤,由此造成船舶靠泊延误。虽然在他面前的证据并不广泛,但Staughton法官认为他可以得出一个合理的结论,认为该轮在Tripoli锚地等泊,因为由于港口拥挤无法提供泊位。

I accept that there is no direct evidence before me (for example, a statement from Tripoli Port Authority) confirming congestionand the consequential delay in berthing the vessels. Although the evidence before me is not extensive, I think it is adequate for me to come to a reasonable conclusion that the vessel was waiting at Tripoli Roads because of non-availability of berths due to congestion.

Staughton法官认为通常既不是出租人也不是承租人,因拥堵可行使对泊位分配事宜的控制权。没有人提出,该轮的承租人可以对延误做任何事情。因此Staughton法官认为,他看出承租人如何会因港口拥堵而被指责。在此前提下,根据下文要求的法院的意见,法官认定该轮由于港口拥挤而在Tripoli锚地等泊。此外,这种延误并不是承租人的错。

In consequence, I fail to see how the charterers can be blamed for the delay due to congestion.

In the premise I find and hold, subject to the opinion of the court as requested hereinafter, that the Radauti was delayed at Tripoli Roads anchorage due to the port being congested. Further, that such delay was without the fault of the charterers.

 

有人可能会认为有可能确定合同第33条的含义。在这种情况下,似乎是由当事人自己或他们的经纪人组成的,而没有广泛地提到权威。Staughton法官认为不幸的是,本案的事实并非如此。在航运界,与其他一些商业活动领域一样,一旦特定的条款,短语或措辞得到了法院的权威性解释,在其他情况下也应该遵循这种解释,相信后续合同的缔约方在结束讨价还价时会考虑到这一点,或者至少在他们的法律顾问在决定是否继续争执时会考虑。

In the shipping world, as in some other fields of commercial activity,once a particular clause, phrase or word has received an authoritative interpretation from the Courts, it is thought right to follow that interpretation in other cases in the belief that the parties to subsequent contracts will have had it in mind when concluding their bargains, or at least their legal advisers will have considered it when deciding whether to pursue adispute subsequently.

Staughton法官认为这一原则本身很容易适用。当双方使用不同于前面所考虑的相同的条款,短语或措辞,而是在不同的上下文中使用相似或相同的措辞时,就会遇到困难。那么可以考虑相当多的权威,并重视商业问题的一致性,同时要牢记现在这个存在争议的条款是由合同双方制定的。

That principle in itself is easy to apply. The difficulty arises when the partiesuse not the same clause, phrase or word as has been considered previously but one that is similar or use the same word in a different context. Then one may have to consider quite a number of authorities and give due weight to the need for consistency in commercial matters, but also to bear in mind that the clause now in question was devised by the parties to this contract.

 

      出租人代表律师Yong的第一个争论来自合同第6条的措辞:“Time lost in waiting for berth to count as lay time.等待泊位的时间损失计算装卸时间。一艘船等待泊位的最明显的原因是,一个港口的所有泊位都被占用了。换句话说,拥堵。因此,一个人别期待在租船合同的其他地方找到一个条款,规定承租人对于港口拥堵造成的延误不承担责任。

Staughton法官认为根据他的判断,这里有两个答案。首先,第6条大部分是打印的形式。已经确定的是,如果发生冲突,它必须屈服于第33条,这是当事人双方在本合同中特别同意的。其次,上诉法院的权威恰恰相反。在NV Reederij Amsterdam v. President ofIndia (The Amstelmolen), [1961] 2 Lloyd'sRep. 1案中,租船合同规定,无论在泊位与否,时间都应计算,并且还包含Centrocon罢工条款。上诉法院一致认为,该条款中的“障碍物”一词恰当地涵盖了阻止船舶进入泊位的拥挤,尽管争议的是“在泊位与否”该措辞。

There are, in my judgment, two answers to that point. First, cl. 6 is fort he most part in the printed form. It is well established that, in case ofconflict, it must yield to cl. 33 which was specially agreed by the parties to this contract. Secondly, there is authority of the Court of Appeal to thecontrary. In NV Reederij Amsterdam v.President ofIndia(The Amstelmolen), [1961] 2Lloyd's Rep. 1 the charter-party provided that time should count whether in berth or not, and also contained a Centrocon strike clause. The Court of Appeal held unanimously that the word "obstructions" in that clause was apt to cover congestion which prevented the vessel entering a berth, despite the argument based on the words "whether in berth or not".

 

出租人代表律师Yong认为,Time lost in waiting for berth tocount as lay time.等待泊位的时间损失计算装卸时间这个措辞是不同的。尽管他们对某些目的有不同的影响(Federal Commerce and Navigation Co.Ltd vTradax Export SA[1977] 2 Lloyd's Rep.301; [1978] AC1Diplock 勋爵在30510)对于这种情况,Staughton法官认为看不出有什么重大差别,或者说一个词语应该比另一个词语更具分量,以表示在所有泊位被占领和港口拥挤的时候开始计算装卸时间。

I am unable to see any significant difference so far as concerns this case or that one phrase should have any greater weight than the other as an indication that time is to run when all berths are occupied and the port is congested.

此外,Staughton法官认为出租人代表律师Yong目前的论点正是在AtlanticAirlines SA)(LoucasN.),[1971] 1 Lloyd's Rep.215案件中成功的说法,但被贵族院在Aldebaran Compania Maritima v. Aussenhandel A.G. (The Darrah), [1976] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 359中推翻。在后一个案中,争议不是关于可以说适用于港口拥堵的例外条款,而是关于非工作日的明确例外。所以从理论上说,贵族院可以坚持The Loucas N.的判决,但在结果中区分它。但Staughton法官认为,贵族院显然没有采取这种做法。

Staughton法官认为,可以得出本案中的第6条的条款并没有凌驾于第33条。如果平和地理解第33条,承租人对港口拥堵后果免责,也可能是因为印刷文件,第6条很少或根本没有这方面内容,但这是他所提到的判决的结果。事实上,在The Amstelmolen案中,两个被说成是冲突的条款都是以打字稿引入的,但仍然是除外条款优先。

It follows that cl. 6 in the present casedoes not override cl. 33. If, on a fair reading of cl. 33, the charterers are exempted from liability for the consequences of congestion in the port, it maywell be that in consequence the printed cl. 6 has little or no content, but that is the result of the decisions to which I have referred. Indeed, in The Amstelmolen both the clauses which were said to conflict had been introduced in typescript, yet still the exceptions clause prevailed.

 

出租人的代表律师Yong接下来辩解,第33条必须有权限限制船舶已经到达泊位时发生的事件。Staughton法官认为他没有详细说明这个论点,而是提到了其所依据的两个案例。首先是Diplock勋爵在The Darrah案中第364页和第166页所说:,这意味着,就租船合同规定的允许装货或卸货的时间以及如何支付船舶(即装卸时间和滞期费)的规定而言,船舶应视为在那段时间她实际上是在泊位和在承租人的处置下进行装卸作业。因此,如果船舶实际上已经在泊位上并且在承租人的处置下(例如天气工作日),则计算等泊期间的任何部分都将被计算在内,可用于装货或卸货,而在等泊期间的任何部分都不会被考虑计算在内(例如星期日或星期五和法定节假日以及因恶劣天气而妨碍工作的日子)不得被视为就好像它们已经可以装载或卸载货物一样。

That means that for the purposes of those provisions of the charter-party which deal with the time allowed to load or to discharge the vessel and how itis to be paid for (i.e. laytime and demurrage) the vessel is to be treated as if during that period she were in fact in berth and at the disposition of the charterer for carrying out the loading or discharging operation. So whatever portions of the waiting period would have been taken into account in calculating the permitted laytime used up if the vessel had in fact then beenin berth and at the disposition of the charterer (e.g. weather working days) are to be treated as if they had been available for loading or discharging cargo, and whatever portions of the waiting period would not have been taken into account in that calculation (e.g. Sundays or Fridays and legal holidaysand days on which working was prevented by inclement weather) are not to be treated as if they had been available for loading or discharging cargo.

 

在泊位租约中,这些条款的效力是,使出租人在财务上处于与他原来相同的地位,如果不是被迫等待,他的船舶能够直接停靠在泊位上,承租人开始进行装卸作业的义务便开始了。

In a berth charter the effect of the clauses is to put the shipowner in the same position financially as he would have been if, instead of being compelled to wait, his vessel had been able to go straight to her berth and the obligations of the charterer to carry out the loading or discharging operationhad started then.

 

同样,在Magnolia Shipping Co. Ltd v. Joint Venture of theInternational Trading and Shipping Enterprises and Kinship Management Co. Ltd., [1978] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 182案中,涉及船舶在锚地等泊中的下雨期间,Brandon法官说到:根据我的判断,出租人认为整个期间都计算的论点基于贵族院在Darrah案(AldebaranCompania Maritima S.A.PanamavAussenhandelA.G. Zurich[1976] 2 Lloyd's Rep 357的判决。在那个案中,租船合同规定,等待泊位时间的损失应视为装卸时间,并认为这些措辞的作用是,船舶抵达泊位前装卸时间的计算与船舶已经抵达泊位的计算方式完全相同。这个裁定本身是被限制的,就是排除了装卸时间之外的某些特定日子的罢工时间。有人建议在这种情况下的出租人,这个裁定并没有延伸到没有排除某些日子(如星期日或星期一)的情况,而是一个例外,只有在这种情况下才起作用。我不同意这个裁定只是延伸到前一种情况,也不延伸到后一种情况。

In my judgment, the argument for the shipowners runs counter to the whole basis on which the House of Lords decided the case of The Darrah (Aldebaran CompaniaMaritima S.A. Panama v. Aussenhandel A.G. Zurich) [1976] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 357;[1977] A.C. 157. In that case the charter-party provided that time lost in waiting for berth should count as laytime and it was held that the effect of those words was that the computation of laytime before the ship reached her berth was to be carried out in exactly the same way as it would have been carried out if she had reached her berth. The decision itself was limited to the exclusion from laytime of particular days which were excluded from laytime by the terms of the charter-party. It was suggested for the shipowners in this case that the decision did not extend to a case where there was not an exclusion of certain days, like Sundays or Mondays, but an exception which only took effect if it was causative. I do not agree that the decision only extends to the former situation and does not extend to the latter also.

 

The Darrah案中,贵族院推翻了Ionian Navigation Co. Inc. v. Atlantic Shipping co.S.A. (The Loucas N.) [1971] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 215案的判决。在那个案中的情况下,裁定在船舶到达泊位之前计算理论上的装卸时间时,不应该排除在卸货可能因为装卸工人罢工而被阻止的实际。贵族院认为推翻这一案件是正确的,这一事实告诉我,他们并没有把所谓的描述性除外与成因性除外区分开来。贵族院的意思是,这种条款的目的是在没有可用的泊位的情况下把当事人双方放在同一个位置。他们的几位大法官都表达了这样的观点,认为这个条款是为了给出租人奖励,这样做是非常错误的,因为造成这样一种情况:由于没有停靠泊位,他们处于一个更好的位置如果可以的话,会比它们原来的情况要好。

Staughton法官认为从字面上看,这些段落都会支持出租人律师Young的论点。如果按照船舶到达泊位同样的方式开始计算时间,阻止船舶进入泊位的障碍不能成为阻止时间起算的除外。但是Diplock勋爵和Brandon法官都没有考虑过这样一个例外:他们关心的是其中一个的非工作日和另一个中的下雨。Staughton法官不相信他们打算规定,如果在除外条款中规定,妨碍船舶停泊的障碍不能阻止等泊时间开始起算。事实上,正如Brandon法官提及的The Loucas N.案被The Darrah案推翻,Staughton法官也认同,这一事实恰恰相反,因为The Loucas N.案既涉及拥挤,也涉及罢工的一部分。

Staughton法官认为出租人律师Young的第三点是比较困难的。他认为,普通的商业拥挤完全不属第33条内。承租人的情况是这样的:

Any other . . . hindrances happening without the fault of the charterers .. . delaying . . . discharging . . . of the cargo.

出租人律师Young注意到,条款中明确提到的所有危险都是要么阻止货物被装到船上,要么阻止货物从船上被卸下而被取走。

  Staughton法官认为著名的Centrocon罢工条款规定了如果由于以下原因导致无法装货的除外情况:在铁路或码头或其他装货地点,在承租人的控制之外的障碍或停工。

The well-known Centrocon strike clause provides an exception if the cargo cannot be loaded by reason of:

Obstructions or stoppages beyond the control of the charterers on the railways or in docks or other loading places.

Staughton法官认为1908年以来已经被上诉法院认定以及在The Amstelmolen案中再次确认,港口拥挤是合同条款中阻止船舶获得泊位的一个障碍,在任何情况下如果是异常拥挤的话。自己在R. Pagnan &Fratelli v. Finagrain Compagnie Commerciale Agrirole et FinancièreS.A.(The AdolfLeonhardt), [1986] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 395中说,即使某港口的拥挤是流行和臭名昭着的,时间也是如此。他说过,“障碍”这个词在他看来对比异乎寻常的拥挤似乎并不那么容易涵盖普通的拥挤,他仍然保持这种观点。

It has been held by the Court of Appeal since 1908, and again in The Amstelmolen, that congestion in the port which prevents the vessel obtaining aberth is an obstruction within the clause, at all events if it is unusual congestion. I myself held in R. Pagnan & Fratelli v. Finagrain Compagnie Commerciale Agrirole et Financière S.A. (The Adolf Leonhardt), [1986] 2 Lloyd'sRep. 395 that the time is true even in a port where the congestion is endemicand notorious. I said that the word "obstructions" did not seem to meany less apt to cover ordinary than extraordinary congestion. I remain of that view.

有人认为,The Amstelmolen案的判决是不令人满意的或不受欢迎的,例如Denning勋爵在The Loucas N.案中在第218页所说。Staughton法官在本案中由裁判员和他自己在The AdolfLeonhardt案第401页所说。但是他觉得很难相信它是普遍不喜欢的。否则,25年后,现在不会在租船合同中出现Centrocon罢工条款。

Staughton法官认为在本案中,重要的措辞不是“obstructions”,而是“hindrances”。如果得出这样的结论是完全错误的,因为过去的“obstructions”已经包括阻止船舶抵达泊位的拥挤,因此“hindrances”也必须包含拥堵。这只能通过推理说明理由,尽管当事方在这个时候使用了不同的语言,但他们本来打算与其他人制定过去一样的合同。如果The Amstelmolen案的判决是异常的,Staughton法官认为他会犹豫不决之前创造另一个异常。他从The Amstelmolen案中得到的唯一帮助就是,无论如何,从法律的角度看,当事方决定将拥挤风险置于船东身上本身并不是不可能的。

The important word in this case is not "obstructions" but "hindrances". It would be quite wrong to conclude that because obstructions have in the past been held to include congestion which prevents avessel reaching a berth therefore hindrances must also include congestion. That could only be justified by reasoning that, although the parties had used different language on this occasion, they must have intended to make a contract to the same effect as others had done in the past. If it be that The Amstelmolen decision was anomalous, I should hesitate before founding upon it to create another anomaly. The only assistance which I derived from The Amstelmolen line of cases is that, in the eyes of the law at any rate, it is not inherently improbable that parties would decide to place the risk of congestion on the shipowner.

 

 Staughton法官回到本案中的这个条款。关于同类原则ejusdem generis是否适用,有很多争论,所以障碍必须限制在条款中具体提到的同类障碍。按照出租人律师Young的说法,这样可以排除阻碍船舶进入泊位的障碍。在Chandris v. Isbrandtsen-Moller Co. Inc., (1950) 83 Ll.L.Rep. 385 at p. 392案中,Devlin法官说到:解释规则不能仅仅是使法院能够达到当事人真正意义的指南。同类原则意味着隐含但并没有出现的在当事人使用的限制词汇的措辞中。以推定应该有这样一个默示的方式来处理文件是不对的。以这种方式自动运用这个规则,就是使它成为它所设计的目的的主人而不是仆人,即用他们所用的措辞来确定当事人的意图。

A rule of construction cannot be more than a guide to enable the court to arrive at the true meaning of the parties. The ejusdem generis rule means that there is implied into the language which the parties have used words of restriction which are not there. It cannot be right to approach a document withthe presumption that there should be such an implication. To apply the rule automatically in that way would be to make it the master and not the servant of the purpose for which it was designed - namely, to ascertain the meaning of the parties from the words they have used.

考虑到这一点,Staughton法官他审查一下这个条款,问自己当事人是否打算对他们所用的宽泛的词语加以限制。Staughton法官他毫不犹豫地断定他们没有。他们在任何方面都可以并且有一些重复的说明,承租人对由于他们的控制之外的事件造成的延误或者他们自己没有过错的事件不承担责任。Staughton法官认为他没有理由限制“障碍”的正常含义。

With that passage in mind, I examine the clause and ask myself whether the parties intended some such restriction on the wide words that they used. I conclude without hesitation that they did not. They were saying, in every way they could and with some repetition, that the charterers were not to be liable for delay caused by events outside their control or occurring without fault on their part. I see no reason to restrict the ordinary meaning of "hindrances".

      出租人的代理律师Young还依赖不可抗力条款的标题。Staughton法官认为看标题显然是合理的。起草者在那里向读者说明了他将要处理的问题。但是,这仅仅是这样,如果是明文的话,也不能改变该条款所表达的意思。例如,他可能很容易就选择了“不可抗力等”的标题,而不考虑等这个词的区别。同样,Centrocon罢工条款处理了一些不罢工的事情。

Mr. Young also relies on the title of the clause, "Force majeure". In my view it is clearly legitimate to look at the title. The draftsman put it there as an indication to the reader of the topic he was going to deal with next. But it is no more than that, and cannot alter the meaning conveyed by the clause if it is plain. For example, he might easily have chosenthe title "Force majeure etc" without giving any thought to the difference made by the words "etc". Similarly, the Centrocon strike clause deals with a number of things which are not strikes.

Staughton法官认为他已经参阅了英国法律中关于“不可抗力的含义的一些权威解释。在Lebaeupin v. Richard CrispinCo.[1920] 2 K.B. 714 案中,McCardie法官把“正常的坏天气”和“异常的暴风雨,风暴之类”区分开来。在Thomas Borthwick (Glasgow) Ltd v. Faure Fairclough Ltd., [1968] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 16案中,Donaldson大法官说到:卖方主张,由于不可抗力造成的无法发货,他们受到保护,免受这种索赔。这个条款的确切含义,如果有的话,多年来一直被律师逃避。商业人士对其含义毫无疑问。不幸的是,找不到两个商业人士能达成同样的意思,所以也许在这个问题上,就像其他许多事情一样,商业和法律之间的差别很小。卖方2月份无法发货的原因是海运同盟航线未能安排在当月装船。这种失败不是由于碰撞,风暴,机器故障或苏伊士运河关闭等不可预见或不寻常的风险造成的。就目前所知,同盟只是决定不提供一艘在2月份在Bathurst装载货物的船舶运到Avonmouth卸。这不符合我对不可抗力的理解。

The sellers contended that they were protected from such a claim by virtue of the fact that the failure to shipment was occasioned by force majeure. The precise meaning of this term, if it has one, has eluded the lawyers for years. Commercial men have no doubt as to its meaning. Unfortunately no two commercial men can be found to agree upon the same meaning, so perhaps in this, as in so many other matters,there is very little difference between the commercial and legal fraternity.

 

The sellers' inability to ship in February resulted from the failure of the Conference Lines to put in a vessel to load during that month. This failure was not caused byany unforeseen or unusual peril such as collision, storm, breakdown ofmachinery or the closing of the Suez Canal. Sofar as is known the Conference simply decided not to provide a vessel to loadcargo at Bathurstin February to carry it to Avonmouth. This is not in my judgment force majeure.

 

Benjamin's Sale of Goods一书提到:

不可抗力不是英国法律中的一个条款,但在大陆法系中却是众所周知的。例如法国,在法国法律中有相对明确的含义。法国起草者同意,未能履行义务可能是由于不可抗力的原因,如果寻求免责的一方没有任何过错,发生的事件具有以下特点:

(1)不可抗拒irrésistibilité- 事件必须使他的义务不可能履行,而不仅仅是更繁重;

(2)不可预见imprévisibilité - 事件不能合理地预见,因为他应该采取措施,以防止或避免它;

(3)外部原因extériorité - 事件必须来自某种外在的原因,即不在其责任范围内,例如货物本身的瑕疵。

Force majeure is not a term of art in English law, but it is well known in continental legal systems, e.g. that ofFrance, and it has a relatively well defined meaning in French law. French writers are agreed that a failure of performance will be attributable to force majeure if, without any fault of the party seeking to be excused, an event occurs which possesses the following characteristics:

(1)irrésistibilité - the event must render performance of his obligation impossible, and not merely more onerous; (2) imprévisibilité - the event must not be reasonably foreseeable, for he ought then to have taken steps to prevent or avoid it; (3) extériorité - the event must proceed from some external cause,i.e. not frm a cause within his sphere of responsibility such as vice in the goods themselves.

 

Staughton法官认为就“不可抗力”这个词在英国法律中甚至具有一般意义而言,他一定会怀疑它是否必然表达了第二个因素,即不可预见imprévisibilité,或者至少他怀疑这个诉求是否被这个合同的起草人所支持。可能会预见到一些战争,一些罢工和一些异常的暴风雨。他认为这更多的是一个因果关系的问题:是否真的可以预见某一特定危险的发生可能导致一方当事人的未能履约。在任何情况下,Staughton法官他都不认为本案中的第33条款的“不可抗力”这个标题就足以排除“阻碍”一词中的拥挤,尽管法庭认定,众所周知Tripoli多年来一直处于拥堵状态。

Insofar as the expression "force majeure" has even a general meaning in English law, I would for my part doubt whether it necessarily conveys the second element, imprévisibilité,or at any rate I doubt if that notion was held by the draftsman of this contract. Some wars may be foreseen, some strikes and some abnormal tempests or storms. I would suggest it is more a question of causation: whether the incidence of a particular peril which could have been foreseen can really be said to have caused one party's failure to performance. At all events, I do not consider that the title "Force majeure" to cl. 33 in this case is sufficient to exclude congestion from being within the word "hindrances", even though, as the umpire found, it was well known that Tripoli had suffered from congestion for a number of years.

 

出租人律师Young没有依赖Ciampa v. British India Steam Navigation Co. Ltd., [1915] 2 K.B. 774案以及随后的判决,即例外情况不被解释为适用于合同制订时存在的情况。但是,如果案件进一步发展,他保留采取这一观点的权利,也有权挑战The Amstelmolen案判决的正确性(如果有的话)。

至于他的最后两个论点,Staughton法官认为可以从他提交的书面文件中看出来,但不同意。它们是:

i. That the present case is distinguishable along lines similar to those adopted by MocattaJ. in The Prometheus [1974] 1Ll.R 350, esp. 356.

 

ii. The word"thereof" in "time lost by reason thereof shall not count as laydays or days on demurrage" is ambiguous and probably refers to loss ordamage in "loss or damage resulting from any such excepted causes"rather than the excepted causes themselves, see for an analogy the NYPEoff-hire clause, The Mareva A.S.[1977] 1 Ll.R 368.

 

Staughton法官认为答案为否,并维持仲裁员的裁决。

  

  对于诉求,Staughton法官认为这在逻辑上应该是第一位的,因为它攻击了引起特殊情况下仲裁员对这些事实的认定;通常既不是出租人也不是承租人,因拥堵行使对泊位分配事宜的控制权,这种延误并不是承租人的过错。

  承租人并没有提供该轮在锚地等泊期间他们所做或未做的证据,也没有其他证据支持这些结论,所以仲裁员必须以他们自己所了解的作出裁定。出租人代表律师Young接受由于其经验而选择的仲裁庭有权从自己的知识中对事实以认定。 但他认为,法庭必须首先向当事双方或其代表说明它打算采取这一做法。然后他们可以按照惯例,听取仲裁员自己提供的证据。

Staughton法官认为在这方面,仲裁方面也有一个问题,就是有没有证据显示拥挤造成延误呢?代表出租人的Brooks在宣誓书就这一点说:

5. 承租人的仲裁员Davies先生说,众所周知,在20世纪70年代后期的Tripoli港拥堵。律师则表示,关于该条款适用于在租约当日存在的事件的论点,即我的客户会接受这个说法作为认定拥堵的理由,只要认定也是一致的,在签订租约的当天的Tripoli拥挤不堪。

Davies然后说,他不知道在那个时候是否有拥堵,因此这个问题已经解决了,而且再也没有提到这个问题,除了这样的理解,即仲裁员有权如果没有进一步的证据证明只有律师陈述的条件,才根据自己的经验作出对拥堵的认定。

6.我必须明确指出,现在在这个申请中没有任何有关拥堵认定的事实或情况的问题。我只是通过与仲裁就这些问题的第二个问题进行对比的方式来说明问题。在这方面,仲裁庭没有明确表明自己的经验,一般情况或有关的承租人在关键时刻在Tripoli的使用泊位。如果他们这样做,毫无疑问,我会考虑一些本来是适当的明显的诉讼方针。例如,向承租人寻求休庭或者披露命令,或者至少提出这样的经历是不可接受的。而且,由于不了解法庭在这个问题上自己的经验的立场,与拥堵的观点相反,没有采取这种措施。我的客户的律师只是提交了意见书,大意是承租人甚至没有开始对他们承担举证责任。

Staughton法官认为这里提到的第二个争议问题当然是拖延是否是承租人的过错。因此仲裁庭明确透露,他们对Tripoli港的拥堵拥有知识和经验,但没有就堵塞的原因作出任何这样的披露。

出租人的代表律师转向裁决中的认定,没有人认为,该轮的承租人可以对延误做任何事情。Staughton法官认为,事实上,这是正确的:没有人这么认为。出租人坚持承担举证责任的立场,并表示,这是承租人证明案件内的事实在合同第33条款内(事实确实如此)。Staughton法官不认为出租人的律师一度没有向仲裁员说明这一点,或者仲裁员误解了法律举证责任的地方。但是,裁决的结尾处有一个奇特的特征。听证会结束后,律师决定为仲裁员同意一个或多个法律问题,以表明法院的意见。Staughton法官认为他已经提出了同样的问题,并且根据所认定的事实确实回答了这个问题。但是,律师同意了这些额外的问题,如果仲裁庭认定承租人能够依靠租船合同第33条的规定,在Tripoli锚地等泊期间的全部或部分时间停止计算装卸时间,承租人仅仅依靠拥堵作为第33条的唯一保护:

(A)仲裁庭是否依靠任何援引的证据支持以下结论: I.延误的原因是拥挤;II. 发生拥挤,没有承租人的过错。(B)如果是这样,那么证据是什么?(C)如果不是,这个认定的基础是什么?

Staughton法官认为对于法院的意见来说,这不是一个法律问题,而是要求仲裁员提出他以他的调查结果为依据的证据。这是在罕见的情况下,根据旧的特殊程序适当地提出的要求。然后再加上法院的一个法律问题,是否有任何证据支持某项裁决。

  仲裁员对(i)和(ii)做了肯定的回答。Staughton法官认为对(B)和(C)

的答复对于认定是不相关的。初看起来,仲裁员似乎误解了问题的关键。所以从某种意义上说,他确实这样做了,但是Staughton法官不认为这个责任归咎于他。如果他被要求向法院提出一个问题,是否有证据支持这样一个认定,即拖延不是承租人的过错,他可能已经明白发生了什么事,陈述了这个问题,并提出了证据或他自己所依靠的知识。Staughton法官认为,事实上仲裁员并没有比他更多地赞赏法院如何回答证据是什么,或者结果的基础是什么。可以想象,法官怎么能告诉仲裁员这些问题的答案呢?Staughton法官不认为这个误会对这个诉求有任何影响。从仲裁的背景可以清楚地看出,仲裁过程中仲裁员是如何得出有争议的认定的。第一,通常它既不是出租人,也不是承租人,他们掌握了泊位的分配,是从他自己的知识和经验中获得的。这个话题没有证据。第二,从第一个调查结果推断得出,这个延误没有承租人的过错。

Staughton法官认为,对这个诉讼的第二阶段没有合理的投诉。如果有专家的证据表明通常既不是出租人也不是承租人对泊位的分配进行控制,或者如果仲裁员已经告诉当事人或者他们的代表他自己的知识和经验以得出这个结论的话,他可以很恰当地推断出在本案中发生的延误没有承租人的过错。

In my judgment, there is no legitimate complaint that can be made about the second stage of that process. If there had been expert evidence that normally neither owners nor charterers exercised control over the allocation of berths, or if the umpire had told the parties or their representatives that his own knowledge and experience pointed to that conclusion, he could quite properly have inferred that delay in this case occurred without fault of the charterers.

 

在争论的过程中,Staughton法官问了出租人代表律师Young,如何会有过错。他的回答是,例如,承租人可能有自己的泊位和他们租进的等待卸货的一些船,可能会先选择那些滞期费率高的船,而不是那些较低的费率。另一个例子是,Tripoli港可能是像MilfordHaven有一个大型粮油公司码头或存储粮食的小岛,交通完全由承租人控制。但是考虑到对于通常的立场的认定,Staughton法官认为仲裁员有权将证据责任转移给出租人。那么他们通过证据或者通过获得披露的命令来表明,在本案中,正常情况并没有得到。他们没有试图这样做。

Staughton法官认为问题的实质是仲裁员是否有过错,他所推荐的诉讼中不向对方透露自己的知识和经验。总的来说,无论是仲裁员还是法院,在Mustill和Boyd的商事仲裁中都表明了这一点:对于推翻的考虑,当事方都不应该感到吃惊。该观点在上诉院的Fox v. P.G. Welfair Ltd [1981] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 514案中被详细地考虑了,Denning勋爵在第522页说到:

仲裁员的职能不是为被告提供证据,而是依据他提供的证据作出裁决。他可以而且应该运用自己的特殊知识去理解所提供的证据,办事员的分类账,交易的使用,市场的交易,以及欣赏他所看到的一切的价值,但是,他不能利用自己的特殊知识,或者至少不应该使用自己的专门知识,代表没有选择自己的被告提供证据,因为那样他就会抛弃公正的仲裁员的角色,承担违约方的主张。无论如何,他都不应该用自己的知识来贬低原告专家的证据,也不要把自己的知识告诉他们,给他们一个回答的机会,表明他自己的观点是错误的。

An arbitrator's function is not to supply evidence for the defendants but to adjudicate upon the evidence given before him. He can and should use his special knowledge so as to understand the evidence that is given, the ledgers of the clerks, the usage of the trade, the dealings in the markets and to appreciate the worth of all that he sees upon a view, but he cannot use his special knowledge, or at any rate he should not use it, so as to provide evidence on behalf of the defendants which they have not chosen to provide for themselves, for then he would be discarding the role of an impartial arbitrator and assuming the role of advocate for the defaulting side. At any rate, he should not use his own knowledge to derogate from the evidence of the plaintiffs' experts without putting his own knowledge to them and giving them achance of answering it and showing that his own view is wrong.

Dunne勋爵提到并讨论了一些案件,Staughton法官认为必须引用他的判决中的两个段落。首先在第528页,他说到:

在我看来,专家仲裁员在不披露他依赖当事人的证据的情况下,实际上不应该给自己提供证据,或者只有一方向该方披露证据。他不应该按照他自己的私人意见而不透露。专家仲裁员无疑可以使用自己的专业知识。但是,在一般专业知识和与特定案件有关的特殊事实的知识之间的情况是有区别的。

it seems tome that an expert arbitrator should not in effect give evidence to himself without disclosing the evidence on which he relies to the parties, or if onlyone to that party. He should not act on his private opinion without disclosing it. It is undoubtedly true that an expert arbitrator can use his own expert knowledge. But a distinction is made in the cases between general expert knowledge and knowledge of special facts relevant to the particular case.

然后他提到了另外两起案件,并在第529页继续说到:

所以如果仲裁员依靠的是一般的专业知识,就没有必要公开。O'Connor大法官在辩论中举了一个很好的例子。要求仲裁员重视因一方当事人的疏忽而死亡的公牛。如果专家仲裁员依赖他对公牛价值的一般了解,包括研究市场的人所知道的市场波动,那么就不需要公开。但是如果他最近卖了一头相同的公牛,那么就有必要向各方透露。或者,如果仲裁员发现死公牛,当事双方都不知道遭受某种降低其价值的疾病或伤害,则有必要向双方披露这一事实。因此,在评估租金时,专家仲裁员可以依靠他在该地区可对比的租金的一般知识。但是,如果他知道一个具体的可比案件,那么他应该在依靠它的裁决之前披露它的细节。

So if the arbitrator is relying on general expert knowledge, there is no need to disclose it. Lord Justice O'Connor gave a good example in argument. An arbitrator is required to value a bull killed by the negligence of one of the parties. If the expert arbitrator relies on his general knowledge of the value of bulls,including fluctuations in the market known to anyone who studies the market,there is no need to disclose it. But if he has recently sold an identical bull for a certain sum, it is necessary to disclose that to the parties. Or if the dead bull if found by the arbitrator, unknown to the parties, to be suffering from some disease or injury which reduces its value, it is necessary to disclose that fact to the parties. So in assessing rents, an expert arbitrator can rely on his general knowledge of comparable rents in the district. But ifhe knows of a particular comparable case, then he should disclose details of it before relying on it for his award.

 

这种基于自然正义的一般原则的观点得到了权威的支持。

 

Staughton法官认为,特殊事实与一般知识之间的区别是对自然正义或公平的普遍考验的一个方面,就是避免让各方感到意外。如果仲裁员所具有的知识是相同行业的任何仲裁员和当事人以及如果他们经常在这个法律领域执业的律师和律师都可以得到的话,那么他看不到有任何不公平,如果仲裁员没有明确表示他建议依靠它,也没有意外的风险;或者一般来说是结果,但可能会有例外。在这样一个话题上,他认为把一般性原则用于一般常识而不是作为一个严格的法律规则是更好的办法。

The distinction between special facts and general knowledge is, I think, but one aspect of the general test of natural justice or fairness, of the need to avoid taking the parties by surprise. If the knowledge which an arbitrator has issuch as would be available to any arbitrator in the same trade, and to the parties, and to their solicitors and Counsel if they regularly practise in that field of law, then I can see nothing unfair and no risk of surprise if thearbitrator does not expressly disclose that he is proposing to rely on it; orat any rate that would generally be the result, but there might be exceptional cases. On such a topic it is in my view better to apply the general principle with a measure of common sense rather than as a rigid rule of law.

 

  承租人的代表律师PaulHowick在他的宣誓书中说到:根据定义,这种持续时间的慢性商业拥挤必然发生,而不会有任何特定的承租人的错误。Staughton法官认为他不确定按照定义是对论证的准确描述。但任何具有运输或运输法律经验的人都知道,正如仲裁员所说的那样,程租人不能在拥挤的港口行使控制泊位的分配。这通常是港务局的事情。任何在航运案件方面经验丰富的仲裁员或首席仲裁员都应该知道这一点。Staughton法官认为如果他在得出这个结论时他完全依靠自己的知识和经验,他引用Diplock勋爵在FederalCommerce and Navigation案中所说,他对租船合同评述到:就交易对各方的盈利能力而言,运费率,滞期费和速遣费与租船合同条款之间存在相互关系,这些租船合同涉及承租人与出租人之间的分配,那些被超出任何一方控制的租船合同所考虑延误的风险的冒险,被方便地称为“不幸风险”,与“过错风险”不同。在不幸的风险中,最为普遍的是装卸港口的拥挤,导致船舶空闲等待,直到泊位变空可供装卸她的货物。

So far asthe profitability of the transaction to each party is concerned, there is aninter-relationship between rates of freight, demurrage and dispatch money and clauses of the charter-party which deal with the allocation between the charterer and shipowner of those risks of delay in the prosecution of the adventure contemplated by the charter-party which, being beyond the control of either party, have been conveniently called "misfortune risks" as distinguished from "fault risks". Among the most prevalent of misfortune risks is congestion at loading or discharging port causing the vessel to wait idly until a berth falls vacant at which her cargo can be loaded or discharged.

 

在那案中,Diplock勋爵把拥堵视为不幸发生的一个典型例子,而不是过错。 Staughton法官认为首席仲裁员有权作出他没有明确表明他依靠自己的知识或经验依靠各方的认定,不缺乏自然的公正或公平,没有不当行为,也没有程序性的错误。出租人的诉求失败。

There Lord Diplock treats congestion as the classic example of a risk occurring by misfortune rather than fault. Accordingly I hold that the umpire was entitled to make the findings which he did without expressly stating that he was relying on his own knowledge or experience to the parties. I hold that there was nolack of natural justice or fairness, no misconduct and no procedural mishap.The owners' motion fails.

 

  此外,Hayward先生就此案提出了另一个论点,他认为“过错”是指违约,而程租人在等候泊位期间可能做的或者遗漏的事情,可能是违约。Staughton法官认为没有提到这个论点,只是没有发现这个说法。事实上,仲裁员认定延误的发生并没有承租人的过错,因此必须站得住脚,这一点并不重要。该裁决的第8项提述了一份提交给法庭的密封信封及其所载的要约。任何交付密封信封的仲裁员无疑都会猜测它包含了一个要约。直到他在赔偿责任和总量方面做出裁定之后,他才打开它。在某些情况下,可能需要在裁决书中提及要约的数量,例如向当事人解释仲裁员的裁决。但是,如果提到这个问题的话,应该在裁决提交到法院之前,不论是根据1979年的“仲裁法”提出上诉,还是作为一个特例,都应当消除。在Staughton法官他看来,这是与高等法院向上诉法院提出上诉的做法一致的。然后,法官可能知道,直到他得出结论之前,仲裁员才知道可能已经提出了一个报价,但是并没有提出多少。Staughton法官认为裁决第8段的第二部分应该在案件送达之前就已经消除了,如果上诉至上诉法院,应予以删除。

 

 

总结:

  在本案中,因为在租船合同中的第33条不可抗力条款中有如下“any other causesor hindrances happening without the fault of the charterers措辞,Staughton法官经过一系列对比分析认为,在遵循先例的基础上,“hindrances一词也必然包括港口拥挤;承租人在船舶等泊期间并无过错,也无法控制泊位的分配,最终判出租人索赔滞期费不成立。承租人凭借此条款的保护,成功免除自己的责任。

在对于组成不可抗力的三个要素的解释方面,(1)不可抗拒irrésistibilité-(2)不可预见imprévisibilité(3)外部原因extérioritéStaughton法官不认为

必然表达了第二个因素,他认为这更多的是一个因果关系的问题:是否真的可以预见某一特定危险的发生可能导致一方当事人的未能履约。

对比我国的《合同法》,该法规沿用《民法通则》第153条规定:

第一百五十三条    本法所称的不可抗力,是指不能预见、不能避免并不能克服的客观情况。

在第117条和118条对这个不可抗力概念的作出如下规定:

第一百一十七条 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,但法律另有规定的除外。当事人迟延履行后发生不可抗力的,不能免除责任。

本法所称不可抗力,是指不能预见、不能避免并不能克服的客观情况。

第一百一十八条 当事人一方因不可抗力不能履行合同的,应当及时通知对方,以减轻可能给对方造成的损失,并应当在合理期限内提供证明。

 

对于发生不可抗力事件之后,给予通知的要求的是否是必要的问题,将另文再述。

 

对于不可抗力是否必须是在签约当时是不可预见的问题,在General Construction Ltd v Chue Wing &Co Ltd & Anor (Mauritius) [2013] UKPC 30 (15 October 2013)案中,针对造成事故的飓风问题,法院认定在毛里求斯发生飓风并非不可预见性,但最高法院的Mance勋爵并未禁止货吊运营商引援不可抗力,只是支持了民事上诉院的判决:未建立起倒塌和随后造成的损害是由于不可抗力事件造成的。

      在该案中,Mance勋爵在第14段判决中说到:

If something is foreseeable when the contract is entered into, and no special provision is made for it, then a contracting party may be tanked to have accepted responsibility for or despite it, if it materializes.

如果某些事情在合同订立的同时可以预见,但没有特别的规定,那么缔约方可能会承担责任,或者尽管事实如此。

但是如果有额外的特别规定,对于当事人双方已经同意的,那么法律将只能执行。可参《Chitty on Contracts》开篇第一句:

A contractis a promise or set of promises which the law will enforce.

合约是单个允诺或一系列允诺,而法律将执行。

在签订合约的时候,针对不可抗力条款,如果已经清晰明确地划分了延误风险的责任归属,那么依法成立的契约,对缔结该契约的人,有法律效力。契约不可撤销除非依各当事人相互同意或法律允许的原因。

这点,可以参法国的民法典《Civil Code》第1134条:

1134

Agreementslegally formed have the force of law over those who are the makers of them.

They cannotbe revoked except with their mutual consent, or for causes which the lawauthorizes.

  最后,如《Chitty on Contracts》一书中所说:

A concomitant of the doctrine of freedom of contract is that of the sanctity of contract.

契约自由原则的共同之处在于契约的神圣性。

因此一旦签订了合约,任何人,如果不能证明其不履行债务系由于不能归究于其的外来原因时,即使就他而言无任何恶意,均因债务不履行或迟延履行而被判罚支付损害赔偿。