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When Dylan sang “…you're gonna have to serve somebody…” he was right; however, the recent decisions in The Amity and Sino Channel Asia v Dana Shipping & Trading show, you do need to beware of some potential pitfalls.
Your starting point should always be the charterparty. Does it contain any specific service requirements within the arbitration clause? Does it specify parties who are authorised to accept service?
If not, then for service under English Law you should turn your attention to s.76 of the Arbitration Act 1996, which essentially allows service by “any effective means”. This could mean that service on a generic email address is valid (The Eastern Navigator), but this may not always be the case.
The recent decisions in both The Amity and Sino Channel Asia show, risks arise when notice is served on an individual only. Unless you are able to satisfy yourself that the recipient has the relevant authority to accept service, then you should take additional steps to ensure that service is valid.
Checklist for service