Sino Channel Asia Ltd v. Dana Shipping and Trading Pte Singapore and Another  EWHC 1118 (Comm)
A recent English High Court decision serves as a reminder of the importance of taking great care in relation to service of notice to commence arbitration. The case concerned whether the notice was sent to the correct party.
The judge set aside a US$1.68 million arbitral award for being neither valid nor binding as the notice to commence arbitration was not correctly served.
- A notice of arbitration must be served on the intended respondent as set out in the arbitration agreement.
- It is insufficient to serve notice on the person/entity with whom you commercially communicated during the business if they are not a party to the contract.
- An agent for commercial purposes is not necessarily an agent to accept service of the notice of arbitration.
It is common in commercial contracts to communicate with an agent, associated company or head office. If the contract ends up in dispute, a party should take care to ensure that the arbitration claim comes to the notice of the contract counterparty, rather than simply the ‘usual’ party communicating during the business relationship.
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