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Sino Channel Asia Ltd v Dana Shipping & Trading Pte Singapore Ltd & Anr [2017] EWCA Civ 1703


The case looks at the question of when notices of arbitration passed to a counterparty’s agent can be considered effective service on the counterparty in circumstances where that the agent is not authorised to receive the notice. It was held by the Court of Appeal that in this case, the agent possessed both implied actual and ostensible authority to receive the notice; however, this “rare case” was decided very much on its facts.

Dana (as Owner) had a claim against Sino (as Charterer) under a Contract of Affreightment (“COA”) dated 9 April 2013. Sino’s role in the negotiation was restricted to its director signing his name – it was fronting for a Chinese company, BX, which was to handle the day to day operation of the COA.

All but one of the communications following signature of the COA were between Dana and a Mr Cai of BX, though Dana believed they were in contact with employees of Sino and were completely unaware of BX’s involvement. Indeed, Sino’s broker informed Dana’s broker that Mr Cai was Sino’s representative or employee.
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