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英文契约上一些奇怪副词

明儿过儿:

文 / 赖丕仁


英文契约所用的文字,其实有点像文言文,既绕口又难懂,有时一个句子长达近乎一整页,加以经常出现的奇怪副词,使得初接触英文契约的人,随时想去撞墙。 

本文将介绍一些常见的副词,这些东西虽与契约法扯不上太大关系,但是,不懂这些,您可能只能在契约前面徘徊,不得其门而入。 

一、 hereinafter、whereas、in consideration of及in witness of

(一) hereinafter:我们在整份契约里面,首先看到的奇怪副词,往往是hereinafter,这字其实不难理解,就是”以下”的意思。之所以会先看到它,乃欲藉其指出当事人或其他事物的简称,例如”Pacific Digital Media Corp. (hereinafter referred to as PDMC)”,括符内的意思就是「以下称PDMC」。 

(二) whereas:whereas是用在契约正式条款之前,做为前言的提头语。以whereas为首的条款称为”Whereas clause”,用以说明订立契约之原因、目的。”Whereas clause”虽非契约正式条款,但亦非赘文,因其可做为解释契约的依据,若违反”Whereas clause”条款,依禁反言(estoppel)法理,契约相对人非不得请求损害赔偿或解除契约。实例如”WHEREAS, Lender and Borrower have entered into the agreement thatLender promises to provide a loan amount to USD$100,000,000.00 to Borrower. ”(贷方与借方兹此同意,由贷方提供美金一亿元予借方)不过,也常看到契约以”Recital”为题,直接叙述契约主旨者,有些契约甚至一开始就是正式条文,省略了whereas或recital的说明。 

(三) in consideration of:这用语是自英美契约法中的约因理论而来,其意为「以……为约因」,依英美法原始见解,认为契约必有其约因,若缺此约因,则契约不具效力,所以须于契约内明定约因。然而,约因之重要性正逐渐降低中,盖约因通常可寻绎契约内文而导出,并不一定要明定出来,现在在前言中仍出现”in consideration of”以表约因者,毋宁可视其为结尾的惯用语,实例如”NOW,THEREFORE,in consideration of the mutual covenants hereinafter set forth, the partieshereto agree as follows:”。此句之后就是契约主文了。”in considerationof”若出现于契约本文,非表示约因,则是「因…之故」的意思。 

(四) IN WITNESS WHEREOF:这字样通常出现于契约的结尾,是契约惯用语,没有甚了不起的意思,大概就是「立书为证」的意思,实例如”IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have signed this Agreement asof the day and year first above written.”此句后面就要写签署人姓名了。 

二、hereunder、hereto、hereof、herein、hereby及therewith、thereof、thereby

(一) here族群:大体以here为首后面加介系词的副词,把here当成agreement大概就可以推知其意,所以,hereunder是指「于此契约约定下」或「依据本合约」之意,实例如”At alltimes when the Employee is required to render services hereunder, the Employershall provide the Employee with separate dressing facilities.”(无论何时,依本契约所定,当受雇者被要求提供服务时,雇主须提供非成套的服装)须注意,hereunder和hereinafter是不同的意思,前者是「于此契约约定下」,后者是「以下」的意思;hereto是指「关于本契约」之意,herein是指「于本契约内」,二者可以一例明之”Capitalized terms used herein and not otherwise defined herein shallhave the meanings set forth in Exhibit A hereto”(本契约标题之意义除别有规定外,如附件所定之意义),至于hereof是指「of thisAgreement」的意思,实例如”The headings of the clauses of thisAgreement are solely for the purpose of convenience, they are not a parthereof, and shall not be used in the construction of any provision.”(本契约标题仅为方便之目的而设,其并非契约的一部份,亦不能用来解释条款内容);最后,我们看一下hereby,其意约等于中文「兹此」的意思,例如”Lender and Borrowerhereby agree to enter into this Agreement. ”(贷方与借方兹此同意进入本契约之约订)。总之,这族群只要将”here”视为”agreement”,大概就可以懂得意思。 

(二) there族群:此族群是指there后面加入介系词之意,常见的有therewith、thereof、thereto、thereafter等。这类族群比较麻烦,不像here族群,只要把here当成agreement就好了,而必须依上下文文义去推敲。首先看therewith,例如”Acom shall promptly andfaithfully comply with all the instructions, directions, requests, rules andregulations of the Bcom in connection therewith. ”(A公司须实时且忠诚地遵照B公司的指导、指示、要求、规则、规定及其他相关事项),此处的therewith可以理解为”with the instructions,directions, requests, rules and regulations of the Corporation ”,所以there族群和here族群的解释方法十分类似,但there在不同的情况下有不同的意含,不似here族群单纯。以下再分别对thereto、thereof、thereafter、therein举例。例如””Whenever in this Agreement thewords ””the term hereof”” or “”the term of this Agreement”” are used, suchwords shall mean and include not only the Initial Term, but also ExtensionPeriods if the options with respect thereto are exercised.”(本契约使用到”the term here of”或”the term of this Agreement”字眼时,其不只指初始的期间约定,亦可指选择权行使而延长的期间);又如”In addition to the Employee’s services, the Employer shall be entitled to, and shall own, solelyand exclusively, all the results and proceeds thereof, and all rights of everykind therein”(除受雇者的服务外,雇主亦得享有因服务提供过程及结果产生之各种权利);又如”If the Employer pays the Employee anycompensation that the Employee is not entitled to receive, the Employee shallrepay such compensation to the Employer on demand, or the Employer may at itsoption recoup the amount thereof by deducting the same from any compensationthereafter payable to the Employee.”(若雇主支付受雇者无权取得的补偿,受雇者须于雇主请求时返还,或雇主可选择于将来给付中,扣除已支付之补偿)。由以上例子可知,there族群并不易直接中译其意,而须藉由反复推敲始知其意。 

以上所举的副词,在传统契约中,颇为常见,但也形成一般人缔约之困扰,美国一般老百姓也很困扰呢!有人质疑,搞法律的人故意使用一些奇怪的文字,造成一般人进入障碍,于是只好给律师钱赚。这种说法,也不无道理。不过,各个惯用语由来,自有其历史,要转变这些习惯用法,可能尚需时日,所以,这些用法还是非懂不可的。




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