阿联酋业务重组制度:法律和文化的变化

原文始发于微信公众号(瑞中法协):阿联酋业务重组制度:法律和文化的变化


The Regime for Restructuring Businesses in the UAE: A Legal and 

Cultural Change(阿联酋业务重组制度:法律和文化的变化)

如今,与许多其他司法管辖区一样,阿联酋已成为支持重组的司法管辖区。 如今,阿联酋破产法被视为具有拖欠债务人监禁条件的严厉法令。与1993年以前的《联邦商业法》中有关破产的规定(其中包括不少于255条专门用于破产和破产程序的条款)相比,阿联酋2016年和2020年的破产法在许多方面都是开创性的。该法律引入了新的制度“解决程序协议”,这可能有助于复兴企业。 该法律对债权人委员会和拥有债务人的债务融资制定了主要规定,但是旧法律并未对此作出规定。


文章作者为Bashar Malkawi,美国亚利桑那州大学教授,为《瑞中法律评论》投稿。由张天泽翻译。

阿联酋业务重组制度:法律和文化的变化
阿联酋业务重组制度:法律和文化的变化


Like many other jurisdictions these days, the UAE has become a pro-restructuring jurisdiction.  Earlier in the days, UAE insolvency law was seen as draconian with jail terms for defaulted debtor.  Compared to the previous 1993 provisions on bankruptcy in the Federal Commercial Code -which included no less than 255 articles dedicated to insolvency and bankruptcy procedures- the UAE insolvency law of 2016 and then that of 2020 is ground-breaking in many aspects. The law introduced a new regime “agreement for settlement procedure” which can be helpful in rejuvenating businesses.  The law created major provisions on creditors’ committees and debtor-in-possession financing, something the old law did not provide.  


如今,与许多其他司法管辖区一样,阿联酋已成为支持重组的司法管辖区。[1] 如今,阿联酋破产法被视为具有拖欠债务人监禁条件的严厉法令。[2]与1993年以前的《联邦商业法》中有关破产的规定(其中包括不少于255条专门用于破产和破产程序的条款)相比,阿联酋2016年和2020年的破产法在许多方面都堪称是开创性的。譬如,该法律引入了新的制度“协商解决的程序机制”,这可能有助于复兴企业。[3] 该法律对债权人委员会和拥有债务人的债务融资制定了主要规定,但是旧法律并未对此作出规定。[4]


Those changes are timely considering the current COVID-19 global health pandemic and the fact that small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) account for more than 94% of the total businesses and employ more than 86% of the private sector’s labor force.  In Dubai, for example, SMEs represent nearly 95% of all businesses in the city; provide jobs for 42% of the labor force, and contribute about 40% of the city’s GDP. SMEs are key players in the UAE economy.  SMEs encourage both innovation and economic sustainability. Governments worldwide have adopted the decision to support SMEs. The UAE Central Bank announced a plan to provide aid in the short and medium term for SMEs, which includes support to the tune of DH100 billion. 


考虑到当前的新冠疫情的大流行以及中小型企业(SME)占企业总数的94%以上,以及雇用私营部门劳动力的86%以上的情况,这些变化应无疑,是及时的。[5]例如,在迪拜,中小企业占该市所有企业的近95%;为42%的劳动力提供工作,并贡献该市GDP的40%左右。中小企业是阿联酋经济的主要参与者[6]中小企业鼓励创新和经济可持续性。世界各国政府已通过了支持中小企业的决定。阿联酋中央银行宣布了一项为中短期中小企业提供援助的计划,包括其中的一项,提供1000亿迪拉姆的支持。[7]

 

The Legislative Guide on Insolvency Law was prepared by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) provides for the key elements that ought to be included in any insolvency regime.  Thus, an effective insolvency law must have the following key provisions. It should clearly outline its applicability and commencement standards.  In addition, the law should prescribe the treatment of assets of the debtor entity upon commencement of the proceedings.  The law should also indentify and provide for the rights and obligations of the key participants in any proceedings such as debtors, insolvency representatives, and creditors including secured creditors.  There should be procedures for the management of the proceedings e.g. procedure for processing creditors’ claims priority of creditors’ claims, liquidation waterfall.  Ideally, the process ends with a reorganization plan.  The UAE bankruptcy law checks all the boxes. 


联合国国际贸易法委员会(贸易法委员会)编写的《破产法立法指南》规定了任何破产制度应包括的关键要素。[8]因此,有效的破产法必须具有以下关键条款。它应该清楚地概述其适用性和启动标准。[9] 此外,法律应规定在诉讼程序开始时如何处理债务人实体的资产。[10]法律还应确定并规定主要参与程序的主要参与者的权利和义务,例如债务人,破产代表和债权人,包括有担保债权人。[11]应该有程序管理程序,例如处理债权人债权优先权的程序。[12]理想情况下,该过程以重组计划结束。[13]阿联酋破产法则包括了其中所有的可能。


In reality, however, the annual number of the corporate bankruptcy cases handled by UAE courts remains limited.  After few years in existence, one can envisage some scenarios for this state of affair and lack of effective use of the law. Many businesses maybe hesitant to use the system out of lack of understanding of its provisions which revolutionized the culture of bankruptcy from selling defaulted party assets, as the norm, to focusing on reorganization. Other explanation is that courts are used to fair distribution, the pari passu principle, in judgment execution in lieu of bankruptcy proceedings.  The execution order by courts gives the right to seize and sell any assets of the debtor. Moreover, culture factors could help explains the limited number of court cases.  Stigma, among peers, associated with default and bankruptcy can play a factor in the UAE and for that matter in Arab countries.  


但是,实际上,阿联酋法院每年处理的公司破产案件数量仍然有限。[14]在存在了几年之后,人们可以设想这种情况和缺乏有效使用法律的情况。许多企业可能会因为缺乏对制度规定的理解而犹豫使用该制度,从而彻底改变了破产文化,从出售违约方资产(作为规范)转向专注于重组。另一种解释是,法院在判决执行代替破产程序时习惯于公平分配,即同等权益原则。[15]法院的执行令赋予了扣押和出售债务人任何资产的权利。此外,文化因素可能有助于理解现有的法院案件。[16]与其他国家相比,与违约和破产相关的污名在阿联酋和阿拉伯国家中都可能起一定作用。[17]


Many issues remain to be addressed to have a holistic bankruptcy regime. For example, there are no specialized insolvency judges who are trained and appointed to apply the law. The same applies for bankruptcy office-holders. In terms of coverage, the law does not apply to non-profit entities such as educational or religious or scientific institutions. The law also lacks early warning mechanisms which aim at a prompt detection of the financial distress of an enterprise, as well as a quick adoption of the more suitable remedies. These mechanisms can be activated by the control bodies such as statutory auditors, supervisory board, internal control committee or external auditors. Directors should have due regard to the need to take steps to avoid insolvency.  Furthermore, the UAE law does not provide for a possibility of a cross-class cram-down, the power to impose the plan on any dissenting creditors considered fair, equitable and in the interests of creditors.  


拥有完整的破产制度还有许多问题需要解决。例如,没有专门的破产法官经过培训和任命以适用法律。破产办公室负责人也是如此。就覆盖范围而言,该法律不适用于非营利实体,例如教育,宗教或科学机构。该法律还缺乏旨在迅速发现企业财务困境以及迅速采用更适当的补救措施的预警机制。这些机制可以由控制机构(例如法定审计师,监事会,内部控制委员会或外部审计师)启动。董事应充分考虑采取步骤避免破产的必要性。[18] 此外,阿联酋法律没有规定进行跨阶级清算的权利,即有权将计划强加给任何被认为是公平,公正并符合债权人利益的异议债权人。[19]


The UAE insolvency regime serves as prototypical jurisdiction for other developing countries to follow. The UAE regime requires over time adopting substantive legal, practical, and cultural changes. It must be borne in mind that an insolvency regime should be designed not to punish businesses and their management. Rather the task of an insolvency regime is to revitalize the distressed business by the restructuring its debt. In general, insolvency is not a moral failure but rather an economic failure.


阿联酋破产制度可以其他发展中国家遵循的案例。阿联酋政府要求逐渐采取实质性的法律,实践和文化变革。 我们必须认清,破产制度的设计不应惩罚企业及其管理。相反,破产制度的任务是通过重组债务来振兴陷入困境的企业。一般而言,破产不是道德上的失败,而是经济上的失败。


Bashar Malkawi, Global Professor of Practice in Law, University of Arizona. He holds LLM from University of Arizonaand SJD from American University, Washington College of Law.


注释:

[1] See Aurelio Gurrea-Martínez, Singapore’s New Insolvency Restructuring and Dissolution Act (23 July 2020) (https://cebcla.smu.edu.sg/sgri/blog/2020/07/23/singapores-new-insolvency-restructuring-and-dissolution-act), available at <> (last visited July 31, 2020).

[2] See Financial Times, UAE bankruptcy no longer leads (March 22, 2017).

[3] See Federal UAE Law by Decree No. (9) of 2016 on Bankruptcy, art. 5.

[4] Id. art. 104.

[5] See The United Arab Emirates Government Portal, The Impact of SMEs on the UAE’s Economy, available at at < https://u.ae/en/information-and-services/business/crowdfunding/the-impact-of-smes-on-the-uae-economy > (last visited July 29, 2020).

[6] Id.

[7] See Waheed Abbas, UAE Central Bank Willing to Extent Stimulus Package: Governor, Khaleej Times (March 16, 2020).

[8] See UNCITRAL Legislative Guide on Insolvency Law, available at < https://uncitral.un.org/en/texts/insolvency/legislativeguides/insolvency_law > (last visited July 31, 2020).

[9] See UNCITRAL Legislative Guide on Insolvency Law (2005), Part Two: I (B) Commencement of Proceedings.

[10] Id. Part Two: II Treatment of Assets on Commencement of Insolvency Proceedings.

[11] Id. Part Two: II Participants.

[12] Id. Part Two: III (C) Creditors.

[13] Id. Part Two: IV Reorganization.

[14] See Ehab Ata, Five Bankruptcy Cases before Dubai Courts since Issuance of the New Law, Khaleej Times (April 20, 2017), available at < http://www.alkhaleej.ae/economics/page/315b8d9f-76d3-4f8b-80f2-e0c1f8c5e5ba> (last visited July 28, 2020).

[15] See David A. Skeel Jr., The Empty Idea of “Equality of Creditors”, 166 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 699, 739 (2017).

[16] See Aurelio Gurrea-Martínez, The Low Usage of Bankruptcy Procedures: A Cultural Problem? Lessons from Spain, 27 U. Miami Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 272, 279 (2020).

[17] See Hawkameh/World Bank/OEC/INSOL International, Survey on Insolvency Systems in the Middle East and North Africa p.16 (2017), available at < https://www.oecd.org/daf/ca/corporategovernanceprinciples/44375185.pdf> (last visited July 16, 2020).

[18] See UNCITRAL Legislative Guide on Insolvency Law, Part Four: Directors’ Obligations in the Period Approaching Insolvency (2013), available at < https://uncitral.un.org/sites/uncitral.un.org/files/media-documents/uncitral/en/leg-guide-insol-part4-ebook-e.pdf > (last visited July 18, 2020).

[19] See COVID-19 Changes Announced to UK Insolvency Law and for AGMs, available at < https://www.shearman.com/perspectives/2020/03/covid-19-changes-announced-to-uk-insolvency-law-and-on-agms > (last visited July 21, 2020)


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