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在全球疫情下以证据法思维武装自己(二)对专家证人的独立要求与对仲裁员的比较

2020/3/3 字体: 来源: 作者:

在全球疫情下以证据法思维武装自己(二)对专家证人的独立要求与对仲裁员的比较

作者|杨良宜(最高院国际商事法庭专家委员会委员、香港国际仲裁中心名誉主席


(接上文)


不断听到说法是专家证人不能作为委任他/她一方当事人的枪手(hired gun), 看来对专家证人的持平性或公平公正的要求与仲裁员(arbitrator)的要求接近或 一样。从 CPR Rule 35.3 的题目(Experts - overriding duty to the court)可以看出 专家证人的超越性责任的对象是法院,而不是委任的客户,虽然有公平 (impartiality)的要求。另在 CPR PD 35 para.2.2 也要求专家证人向法院提供独 立(independent)、客观(objective)与不偏私(unbiased)的意见。但实际上着 是与对仲裁员(更不用法官)的要求的自然公正(Natural Justice)与不能有利益 冲突(conflict of interest)有重要分别,可去列举以下几点: (一)与仲裁员要作出一个最终(final)与有法律强制与约束力的裁决(Award) 相比,专家证人所做的与所起的作用关键性就低得多了。后者只是向法院(或仲 裁庭)提供专家意见,听不听这一个意见完全是法院(或仲裁庭)的裁量权。换 言之,法院是可以通过根据专家证人显示的不独立、不容观、偏袒与有利益冲突 的程度对该专家证人提供的意见证据给予不同的重量(weight),甚至不给任何重 量,因为这种意见是完全不值得听取的。 (二)另是,诉讼方怀疑对方的专家证人,大可以在出庭审理时的交叉盘问 阶段盘问他/她有关利益冲突方面的问题,以及在宣誓下确认他/她是完全理解对 法院的超越性责任。 (三)现实中,会有需要的专家证人是有明显的利益冲突的情况,例如他/她 与委任的诉讼方是雇佣关系(employer-employee relation):见 Field v. Leeds City Council (2001) 2 CPLR 129; Gallaher International Ltd v. Tlais Enterprises Ltd (2007) EWHC 464 (Comm); Kennedy v. Cordia (Services) LLP (2016) UKSC 6 等先例。这 种情况常会出现在一些尖端或独特的行业,外面没有独立的专家,能找到的可提 供专家意见的人士要么是诉讼方公司自己的雇员,要么是少数竞争对方甚至是对 方诉讼方公司的雇员。显然,如果法院(或仲裁庭)需要对有关专业了解才能掌 握事实真相并需要协助,就没有必要(而且也不现实,因为没有其他更好选择) 抗拒诉讼方委任自己雇员作为专家证人了。而只要该雇员在有关争议的专业是真 正懂行的专家,也完全理解他/她作为专家证人的超越性责任是协助法院(或仲 裁庭),并且能够让法院接受他/她有履行这个责任,也就看不出与外面的独立专 家证人有什么分别了。 这可节录上诉庭在 R (Factortame Ltd) v. Transport Secretary (No.8)(2003) QB 381 CA 先例所说: “ ... applying to an expert witness the same text of apparent bias that would be applicable to the tribunal. We do not believe that this approach is correct. It would inevitably exclude an employee from giving expert evidence on behalf of an employer. Expert evidence comes in many forms and in relation to many different types of issues. It is always desirable that an expert should have no actual or apparent interest in the outcome of the proceedings in which he gives evidence, but such disinterest is not automatically a precondition to the admissibility of his evidence. Where an expert has an interest of one kind or another in the outcome of a case, this fact should be made known to the court as soon as possible. The question of whether the proposed expert should be permitted to give evidence should then be determined in the course of case management. In considering that question the judge will have to weigh the alternative choices if the expert's evidence is excluded, having regard to the overriding objective of the Civil Procedure Rules.” (四)所以有说法是分别在仲裁员必须是(法官更是如此)不光是真正做到 公平公众,而且要被看到是公平公正(Justice must not only be done, must also seem to be done)。但专家证人则只需要真正做到,而不必在表面上被看到。 (五)这一来,就没有好像发觉有利益冲突的法官成仲裁员自己必须拒绝审 理或委任,或在被诉讼方或其他人发觉有利益冲突后可以被法院走赶走(remove) 或撤销(dismiss)一样的做法,专家证人无须被赶走或撤销。但考虑到法院在 CPR 下有一个超越性的主要目的是节省不必要的诉讼费用,所以在诉讼程序开始的案 件管理会议(Case Management Conference,简称 CMC)的时候,在双方诉讼方 申请引进专家证据时,法院如果知道该专家证人有严重的利益冲突,不太可能将 来提供的意见会被法院采纳,也不会对法院有帮助,就可以拒绝批准。这不是赶 走或撤销专家证人,只是法院行使它的裁量权。而如果是在事后才发觉专家证人 涉及利益冲突、意见不独立、处处为委任的诉讼方争辩,与/或根本不知道与没有 尽作为专家证人的超越性责任去协助法院,法院(或仲裁庭)可根据程度完全不 给该专家意见证据任何重量,并在费用上惩罚委任的诉讼方。所以,任何一方诉 讼方在委任专家证人也要掌握好轻重与十分小心,不要以为委任一个处处保护自 己利益,看客户的脸色讲话的专家就是好事。更可能会是劳民伤财,白花心思, 甚至有严重反效果。 (六)会是,笔者想到一个方面对公平公正的要求是仲裁员与专家证人一致 的,这就是他们都不能与委任的当事人或客户约定风险代理收费(contingency fees),也就是按案件最终结果的成败比例收费。这种收费安排明显是在太过分, 不只是简单的利益冲突,而是把利益与客户串在一起。别说是仲裁员严格要求自 然公正过不了关,只要求独立的专家证人也过不了关,难以相信他/她的专业意 见会是真心协助法院理解正确专业知识与他/她的经验。正如 ex parte Factortame (No.8)(2003)QB 381 先例之 73 段说:“we consider that it will be a rare case indeed that the court will be prepared to consent to an expert being instructed under a contingency fee arrangement.” 总而言之专家证人在收取费用方面与客户的关系上有任何不恰当的地方,例 如同意在案件结束后再收费,或客户同意在其他案件中委任他/她等,或专家与 当事人有长期业务关系,即使专家证据被采纳,也会在证据的重量方面有影响。例如在香港的 Tang Ping-Choi v. The Secretary for Transport (2004) HKCA 127 先例 中,上诉庭说: “… although an expert witness may be employed by a party to the litigation and/or may have undertaken activities which are inappropriate to his position, it is not the case that the entirely of his evidence is ‘tainted’ thereby rendering it automatically inadmissible.”   最后总结这方面,可节录《Phipson on EVIDENCE 》( 2018 年,第 19 版) 一书之 33-30 段,如下: “The current state of the law may be summarized by the following principles. (1) It is always desirable that an expert should have no actual or apparent interest in the outcome of the proceedings. (2) The existence of such an interest, whether as an employee of one of the parties or otherwise, does not automatically render the evidence of the proposed expert inadmissible. It is the nature and extent of the interest or connection which matters, not the mere fact of the interest or connection. (3) Where the expert has an interest of one kind or another in the outcome of the case, the question of whether he should be permitted to give evidence should be determined as soon as possible in the course of case management. (4) The decision as to whether an expert should be permitted to give evidence in such circumstances is a matter of fact and degree. The test of apparent bias is not relevant to the question of whether an expert witness should be permitted to give evidence. (5) The questions which have to be determined are whether: (a) the person has relevant expertise; and  (b) he is aware of his primary duty to the court if they give expert evidence, and are willing and able, despite the interest or connection with the litigation or a party thereto, to carry out that duty. (6) The judge will have to weigh the alternative choices open if the expert’s evidence is excluded, having regard to the overriding objective of the Civil Procedure Rules. (7) If the expert has an interest which is not sufficient to preclude him from giving evidence the interest may nevertheless affect the weight of his evidence.” 
R. (on the application of Factortame & Others) v. Secretary of State for Transport, Environment & the Regions (No.2) (2002) 3 WLR 1104 先例,案情涉及原告在胜诉后要求败诉的被告支付法务会计 (forensic accountant)的费用,金额是最终取回费用的 8%。但作为被告的英国政府认为这个安 排属于揽讼,所以在法律上是无效。虽然《Courts and Legal Services Act 1990》立法允许在一定 幅度内根据案件结果有条件收费,但这不是风险代理收费。上诉庭最后判揽讼的法律只针对提供 争辩与诉讼服务的律师与大律师,但不针对提供支持工作(support work)的法务会计。  
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