Fines for violations and compensations for damages are two sanctions mainly applied to the violating party. Due to the different application subjects, there are some differences between fines for violations and compensations for damages in the 2015 Civil Code (“CC”) and the 2005 Commercial Law (“CL”). Please review the following article to have a better understanding of this difference.

1. Regulations on fines for violations and compensations for damages in the CC 2015

  • Fines for violation are regarded as an agreement between the contracting parties, accordingly, the violating party must pay a fine to the aggrieved party. Fines for violations are a specific civil remedy, in which the penalty will be only applied by the aggrieved party when there has been an agreement on the fines for violations in the contract;
  • Regarding compensations for damages, individuals and legal entities whose civil rights have been infringed shall be compensated for all damages, unless otherwise agreed by the parties or otherwise regulated by law. The infringed party can request for compensation for benefits that he or she would otherwise have enjoyed under the contract. This party may also require the obligor to pay expenses incurred due to the non-fulfillment of the contractual obligations that do not overlap with the level of compensation for the benefits brought by the contract.
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2. Regulations on fines for violations and compensations for damages in the CL 2005

  • Fines for violation are regarded as a remedy whereby the aggrieved party requests the breaching party to pay a fine amount for its breach of the contract, if so agreed in the contract, except for the following cases: (i) a case of liability exemption agreed upon by the parties occurs; (ii) a force majeure event occurs; (iii) a breach by one party is entirely attributable to the other party’s fault; (iv) a breach is committed by one party as a result of the execution of a decision of a competent state management agency which the party cannot know, at the time the contract is entered into;
  • Basically, the compensations for damages regulated in the CL are similar to those in the CC. Except for the cases of exemption from liability, compensations for damages arise when the following factors are fully met: There is a breach of contract; There are material losses; The breach of contract is the direct cause of the loss. The breaching party shall indemnify the aggrieved party for the losses caused by the contractual breach, including the actual and direct loss value suffered by the aggrieved party caused by the breaching party and the profit directly to which the aggrieved party would have earned if the such breach had not been committed.

3. The relationship between fines for violations and compensations for damages in the Civil Code 2015

According to Article 418 of the CC, the parties can agree that the breaching party only has to pay fines for the violation but not the compensation for damages, or being responsible for both amounts. In case the parties previously agreed on fines for violations but did not reach an agreement on both penalties, the breaching party will only have to pay the fines for violations.

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4. The relationship between fines for violations and compensation for damages in the Commercial Law 2015

According to Article 307 of the CL, where the parties do not agree upon fines for breaches, the aggrieved party shall only be entitled to claim damages, unless otherwise provided for by this Law. Where the parties agree upon fines for breaches, the aggrieved party shall be entitled to apply both remedies of fines and compensations for damages, unless otherwise provided for by this Law.

5. Distinguishing the relationship between fines for violations and compensations for damages in the Civil Code 2015 and the Commercial Law 2005 (referred to as the “relationship between FFV and CFD in the CC and CL”)

When entering into a contractual relationship, there are definite obligations to be performed. To ensure that the parties properly and fully perform their obligations, the parties can agree on a sole provision that the breaching party must bear a certain fine for the breach and must compensate for damages corresponding to the breach, or the parties may agree on different penalty levels and compensation for each particular violation.

  • Common points of the relationship between FFV and CFD in CC and CL:

– The aggrieved party can only apply fines for violations when the parties have an agreement on fines for violations. In case a mutual agreement on fines for violation is not available, the aggrieved party can only request damage compensation. Please note that the fine for breach is a sanction applied based on the parties’ agreement, while the compensation for damage is the mechanism applied based on the damage caused by the breach of contract.

– The parties can agree that the breaching party must be responsible for both fines for the breach and compensations for damages, hence, when breaching the obligation, the violating party must both pay a fine for the violation and a damage compensation as well.

  • Differences in the relationship between FFV and CFD in CC and CL:
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– In the CC, the parties can agree that the violating one will only pay a fine for the violation without having to make compensation for damages. However, in CL, such an agreement is considered void, even if the parties agree as above. When there are sufficient legal grounds, the aggrieved party can still claim compensation and fines for violations from the violating party (if there is an agreement on fines for violations).

– In the CC, in case the parties have an agreement on the fines for violations but not on both fines for violations and compensations for damages, the violating party shall only have to pay fines for the violation. Meanwhile, in the CL, although the parties only reach an agreement on fines for violations, not on both fines for violation and compensation for damage, both remedies can be applied by the aggrieved party.

  • The difference in the relationship between FFV and CFD in the CC and CL can be summarized in the following table:
Fines for violation

(“FFV”)

Compensation for damage

(“CFD”)

Applicable remedies under the CCApplicable remedies under the CL
UnavailableUnavailableCFDCFD
UnavailableAvailableCFDCFD
AvailableUnavailableFFVFFV, CFD
AvailableAvailableFFV, CFDFFV, CFD

(Unavailable, available status should be understood as unavailable, available in the contract)

Above is the article “Distinguishing the relationship between fines for violations and compensations for damages in the 2015 Civil Code and the 2005 Commercial Law”. We hope this article is useful to you.

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