China: 新形势下如何认定公司人格否认之裁判研究覧2019全国法院民商事审判工作会&

Last Updated: 26 August 2019
Article by DeHeng Law Offices
Most Read Contributor in China, September 2019

前言

公司人格否认制度首创于英国和美国的判例,而后扩展至全世界范围的主要国家。在英国和美国分别将其形象地称为"揭开公司面纱"(lifting the Veil of the company)和"刺穿公司面纱"(piercing the Veil of the company),而德国则称之为直索责任(Durchgriffshaftung),日本称之为透视理论[1],虽然称谓各有不同,但其内涵及目的基本一致。我国《公司法》第20条第3款规定"公司股东滥用公司法人独立地位和股东有限责任,逃避债务,严重损害公司债权人利益的,应当对公司债务承担连带责任"即是对公司人格否认的明文规定。在《公司法》之后,2017年10月1日起施行的《民法总则》第83条进一步明确规定:"营利法人的出资人不得滥用法人独立地位和出资人有限责任损害法人的债权人利益。滥用法人独立地位和出资人有限责任,逃避债务,严重损害法人的债权人利益的,应当对法人债务承担连带责任"。

股东有限责任是公司法的基石性制度,而公司人格否认则是对股东有限责任制度行之有效的个案修正,主要通过具体案件的裁判刺穿股东有限责任保护,并在具体个案中要求股东对公司债务承担连带责任,但该个案判决不能适用于后续案件的审理,也不得永久性否认公司人格,以此达到平衡保护公司股东与债权人之间的利益,合理分配风险。然而,无论是《公司法》第20条的规定,还是《民法总则》第83条的规定都过于原则,在司法实践中其构成要件并不清晰且难以统一,从而给司法机关留下了较多的自由裁量空间,随之也成为了司法的难点和疑点。最高院近期正式对外发布《全国法院民商事审判工作会议会议纪要(征求意见稿)》(以下简称"《九民纪要(稿)》"),与之前的网传版本相比,在官宣的版本中直接删除了"反向否认"的规定,在实体问题上仅保留了财务或者财产混同、滥用控制行为以及资本显著不足三个要点[2]。

一、如何认定公司人格否认的构成要件?

最高院法官在其著述中认为适用公司法人人格否认制度,应当具备三个方面的要件[3],分别为:其一,主体要件:其认为原告只能是因股东滥用公司法人人格而受到损害的公司债权人,被告则只能是实施了滥用公司人格和股东有限责任的行为的积极的控股股东;、其二,行为要件:即公司人格利用者实施了滥用公司人格和股东有限责任的行为,主要包括两类,一是利用公司人格规避合同或法律义务的行为,二是公司人格形骸化;其三,结果要件:公司人格利用者必须给他人或社会造成损害。以上观点在司法实践已有诸多案例予以接受,如北京市高级人民法院在(2018)京民再51号、58号案件中即认为:本案中西南水泥公司、资中水泥公司与东方红水泥公司不构成公司人格混同,主要理由正是两家公司均不符合上述三个要件。

法学理论界,以朱锦清教授所著的《公司法学》[4]为例,其主张"3+1"标准,所谓"3"是指满足大前提的三个必要条件:其一,债权人自愿还是不自愿覧合同与侵权,如果债权人是自愿参与交易,则不刺穿;其二,股东是积极还是消极的,刺穿面纱只针对积极股东,具体而言是指参与公司经营管理有管理权的投资人,此条件和最高院法官的前述主体要件有相似性;其三,公司是封闭的还是公众的,如果是公众公司,因为投资者一般不参与经营管理,所以其认为刺穿面纱主要是针对封闭公司。除了前述三个必要条件的大前提之外,朱锦清教授认为还应当具备小前提,即"符合两类案情中的一类,资本不足或主体混同"。

《公司法》与《民法总则》对公司人格否认应当符合何种要件并无明确规定,从实务界和理论界所提出的上述两类构成要件的观点来看,都无法涵盖实践中的公司人格否认的情形,以李国光、王闯二位先生的观点来看,主体条件中被告限定为公司股东,但实务中除了公司股东,可以利用有限责任制度逃避债务还可能包括实际控制人、关联公司乃至其下设的子公司,至少在外在形式方面,限定为股东明显过窄;回到朱锦清教授的观点,因其在著作中引述的案例多为美国公司法案例,归纳和总结的观点与我国司法审判实务也有不一致之处,尤其是其所提及的封闭公司与公众公司的分类,在我国即便是公众公司其投资者和经营者大部分情况下甚至是一致的,所以单纯从是封闭公司还是公众公司的外在形式推导尚与国内情形有别。

上述两种构成要件的分析对公司人格否认的认定,尤其是最高院法官对实务观点的提炼在裁判实践中仍颇具有代表性,但公司经营活动包罗万象且尚一直处在演变之中,也许从立法精神的角度,对公司人格否认的规定进行目的解释,而不机械拘泥于构成要件的框架,更能准确把握公司法设定此制度的真正宗旨;即便如此,"三要件说"的实务观点在进行适当延展(比如主体要件)之后,将更贴合国内公司经营活动的发展,对司法裁判仍具有不可忽视的影响力,同时《九民纪要(稿)》中所列的"财务或财产混同"、"滥用控制行为"以及"资本不足"实际和朱锦清教授所提及的两个案情小前提"主体混同"或"资本不足"也是遥相呼应的,其中"财务或财产混同"、"滥用控制行为"实际也是"主体混同"的表现形式之一。

《九民纪要(稿)》是全国法院审判经验的汇总,也是将来很长一段时间指导各级法院司法审判、统一裁判规则的重要司法文件,本文聚焦于上述有关公司人格否认的四个问题(含反向穿透),结合已有的裁判案例并从如何预防公司(尤其是集团化运作的公司)被刺穿公司面纱的角度略作分析,以抛砖引玉。

二、财务或财产混同是否构成混同的充分条件?

《九民纪要(稿)》明确:"出现以下情形之一的,可以认定为财务或者财产混同:(1)股东随意无偿调拨公司资金或者财产,不作财务记载的;(2)股东用公司的资金偿还股东个人的债务,或者调拨资金到关联公司,不作财务记载的;(3)公司账簿与股东账簿不分;(4)股东自身收益与公司盈利不加区分,致使双方利益不清;(5)公司的财产记载于股东名下,由股东占有、使用"。实务中已基本形成的主流观点认为:公司与股东或他人之财产或财务混同是判断是否构成主体混同的关键标准,而人员、业务及场所的混同一般伴随着财务或财产混同而发生,因此是否在该纪要出台后,是否可以理解为财务或财产混同是法院认定主体混同的充分条件?

1.最高院及浙江高院关于财产混同之司法判例

在《九民纪要(稿)》之前,最高院和地方高院其实已经就此问题形成了较为明确的观点,比如:

(1)浙江高院(2016)浙民终599号案之二审判决

在该判决中,浙江高院认为:从上述证据看,......台化宁波汇入中科旭能的货款,除部分汇入嘉盛公司外,其余基本上均在当天或第二个工作日汇入科元塑胶,而科元塑胶又非本案买卖合同所涉货物的生产方或最初供应方,如此资金走向确属反常。尽管科元塑胶在一审时提交了其与中科旭能之间的采购合同、增值税专用发票、记账凭证,但从其提供的前述证据看,中科旭能与科元塑胶签订的KAXA-20140612-53号和KAO-20140612-108号两份合同被反复作为科元塑胶与中科旭能2015年往来款项的附件,其中2015年以KAXA-20140612-53号合同为附件共发生12笔,金额合计102432500元,2015年以KAO-20140612-108号合同为附件共发生10笔,金额合计19253000元,两者相差83179500元,对此,科元塑胶并未作出合理解释..."。最终,浙江高院驳回上诉,判决中科旭能对科元塑胶29,748,642.27元应退货款以及税款损失4,688,831.94元承担连带清偿之责任。

(2)最高院(2002)民二终字第95号民事判决书

最高院在此判决中认为:糖业公司成立后,虽然没有在商业银行开立独立的账户,但在集团公司的所谓内部银行开立了独立的账户,建立了一套完整的与集团公司及其他子公司相独立的账册、账务记录,并进行独立核算,不存在与集团公司财务混同的情况;虽然集团公司将其300平方米的营业场地交给糖业公司长期无偿使用,但产权仍归属于集团公司,且糖业公司的账目与集团公司的账目相互独立,财产归属明晰,不存在财产混同的情况;虽然糖业公司在经营中所需资金由集团公司向商业银行统一借贷,再由集团公司发放给糖业公司使用,但集团公司并非是无偿划拨,而是以借贷的形式进行,双方因此形成债权债务关系,且历年的往来账目中对糖业公司欠集团公司的款项均有记载。故不能据此认定糖业公司无权独立对外进行民事活动及自主经营;虽然糖业公司成立后未进行税务登记及独立缴纳税款,但其在独立核算的基础上,根据自己的营业及利润情况将自己的应缴纳税款交付给集团公司,再由集团公司统一向税务机关代为缴纳,这只是集团公司对子公司进行管理与控制的一种模式。

2.案例分析及笔者观点

从上述案例可以看出,上述两个案例的裁判观点一正一反基本也被《九民纪要(稿)》吸收和接纳,但本次《九民纪要(稿)》较为突出及更明确的一点在于,其不再强调股东和公司同时构成业务混同、人员混同及场所混同之后才可认定混同,而是强调"人民法院在审理公司人格否认案件时,关键要看是否构成财务或财产混同,而不要求同时具备其他方面的混同,其他方面的混同往往只是财务混同或者财产混同的补强",反过来讲,即便股东和公司在人员、业务、场所方面存在混同,但如果财务或财产上不存在被认定混同的情形,则也不能认同二者构成混同,因此从一定程度上将,财务或财产混同已经构成公司主体混同的充分条件,但要说明的是,主体混同不一定代表股东需要承担责任,若不符合前文所述的结果要件,法院裁判时也可能酌情不要求股东承担连带责任,这与《公司法》的规定也是相符的。

随着公司经营规模的逐渐扩大,涌现出大量的金融控股公司以及集团公司,财产或财务之间的往来十分频繁,如果将此类频繁的资金往来和内部调剂视为财产或财务混同则将大大降低资金效率,也不符合市场经济发展的需求,因此回到《九民纪要(稿)》中关于财务混同的认定,我们也理解可以反向推论,如果公司、股东及其他主体之间在财务上同时满足下述条件,则其被认定构成财务或财产混同的可能性会大大降低:(1)公司财产登记与股东独立;(2)公司与股东财务账簿独立记载;(3)公司与股东之间的资金来往、财产调拨依照财务规范做好记载,并履行必要的决策程序;(4)股东和公司之间的利益分别核算,独立清晰,若需分配利润,则依公司法及章程规定进行。由此,也可以看出要证明两家公司之间存在财务或财产混同,其举证难度也相当之大,因为作为债权人而言很难完成《九民纪要(稿)》之标准,这里又会涉及公司人格否认案件中举证责任分配的问题,本文因篇幅所限不再展开,后续另撰文分析。

三、滥用控制行为的边界如何判断?

公司法人人格制度作为公司法基石制度发挥着巨大社会效益和经济效益的同时,也多次被少数人恶意利用以规避公司债务,因此在股东存在滥用控制行为损害债权人利益之情形时,也应当否定其法人人格。根据《九民纪要(稿)》,滥用控制行为的具体情形包括:子公司向母公司及其他子公司输送利益;母子公司进行交易,收益归母公司,损失却由子公司承担;先抽逃公司资金或解散公司,再以原设备、场所、人员及相同经营目的另设公司,从而逃避原公司债务。

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No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq痴 right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

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