Effects of Institution of Bankruptcy Proceedings on an Arbitration Agreement and Arbitral Proceedings

파산절차에 있어서의 중재합의의 효력과 중재절차

  • Published : 2005.03.01


Bankruptcy proceedings serve the purpose of the collective satisfaction of the debtor's creditors through the realisation of the debtor's assets and the distribution of the proceeds therefrom. Upon the adjudication bankruptcy, the debtor's right to administer and dispose of the property belonging to the bankruptcy estate shall be vested in the administrator. If a mutual contract was not or not completely fulfilled by the debtor and the other party at the time of the adjudication of bankruptcy, the administrator has right to choose wether to fulfil or terminate the contractual relation. Legal acts that have been conducted prior to the adjudication of bankruptcy and that are detrimental to the debtor's creditors may be contested by the administrator. However, these effects of bankruptcy will have not great influence on the arbitration agreement between the debtor and another party. An arbitration agreement that has been conducted prior to the adjudication of bankruptcy is binding the administrator as an universal legal successor of debtor. Only the arbitration agreement directly disadvantageous to the debtor's creditors may be contested by the administrator. Furthermore, it is not at the discretion of administrator whether or not to submit the dispute to arbitration because an arbitration agreement does not belong under the category of Art. 50 Korean bankruptcy Act which demands a mutual contract. Arbitral proceeding upon the property of the bankruptcy estate and pending for the debtor as plaintiff or against the debtor as defendant at the date of the adjudication of bankruptcy may be taken up at the given status by the administrator. This leads to a change of the party. If a duly summoned party fails to appear in arbitration court, the arbitrator, if satisfied there is no valid excuse, may continue the proceedings and make the award as if all the parties were present. This may be disadvantagious to the debtor's creditors because the arbitral award have the same effects on the participants as the final and conclusive judgement of the court. Even if there is a change of party on side of debtor to the administrator in bankruptcy, the arbitral proceedings will not be automatically postponed or suspended. The matter of how to proceed is at discretion of administrator, when the parties haven't agree on the arbitral proceedings. He can continue the arbitral proceedings without to grant an adjournment of hearing. However, an arbitration award may be challenged by a party dissatisfied and set aside by the court based upon the misconduct that violates the basic rights of the parties to a fair hearing. The arbitrator must treat the parties equally in the arbitral proceedings and give each party a full opportunity to present his case. The arbitrator, therefore, will carefully exercise his discretion in determining whether to continue the arbitral proceedings or to grant a postponing. In the practice, the arbitral proceedings may be usually postponed to grant due process.