The most important obligation of the parties to a commercial contract is to deliver or provide services and pay in full and on time as agreed. However, in reality, there are times that one party or the parties fail to perform their payment obligations, causing damages to the other party. In particular, in the case of a breach of the payment obligation, the aggrieved party may request the person having caused damage to pay late payment obligations interest. Potential dispute on this matter might arise between parties.
Article 306 of the Commercial Law 2005 provides for the application of the interest rate due to the delay of payment as follows: Where a contract-breaching party delays making payment for goods or payment of service charges and other reasonable fees, the aggrieved party may claim an interest on such delayed payment at the average interest rate applicable to overdue debts in the market at the time of payment for the delayed period, unless otherwise agreed or provided for by law.
The interest rate for late payment of obligations in commercial business is applied according to the average interest rate on overdue debts in the market at the time of payment corresponding to the late payment period, unless otherwise agreed or otherwise provided by law.
However, the Commercial Law 2005 at that time did not have a specific regulation on the average interest rate of overdue debts on the market. The Resolution No. 01/2019/NQ-HDTP has detailed instructions on this interest rate. When determining the interest on late payments, the Court shall determine the interest rate on late payments on the basis of average interest rates on overdue debts announced by at least 03 (three) commercial banks (such as Vietcombank, VietinBank, Agribank, etc.) whose headquarters, branch or transaction office is located in the same province or central-affiliated city where the headquarters of the Court in charge of the case is located at the payment date (the date of first-instance trial), except otherwise agreed upon by the parties or regulated by laws.
In case of late payment liabilities defined in a contract which includes the parties’ agreement on interest payment, the judgment debtor is liable to pay interest on the outstanding judgment debt at the agreed interest rate which must be conformable with applicable laws; if the agreed interest rate is not available, the Court shall decide application of the interest rate prescribed in Clause 2 Article 468 of the 2015 Civil Code. In case interests are charged on amounts payable to the state budget as regulated by laws, the judgment debtor is liable to pay an interest on the judgment debt arrears calculated at the interest rate prescribed in Article 357 or Article 468 of the 2015 Civil Code, unless otherwise prescribed by laws.
In order to protect the best interest of parties, it is important to consult with dispute lawyers in Vietnam for advice.