In A/S Dan Bunkering Limited v F G Hawkes (Western) Limited and others, FGH Ltd claimed that a guarantee signed in the name “FG Hawkes” had not been signed under its authority and was, accordingly, ineffective.

It was agreed between the parties that the guarantee had not in-fact been signed by Mr Hawkes (the MD of the company). However, after hearing evidence, although it was not conclusively determined who had signed the guarantee on behalf of the company, the court determined that it was overwhelmingly probable that it had been signed by someone with actual or ostensible authority to do so and was accordingly effective. In reaching this decision, the court took into consideration the fact that several documents had been signed by the company in the same way by what appeared to be the same person. They therefore considered it highly unlikely that Mr Hawkes had not been aware of this arrangement prior to the litigation. The case demonstrates the possibility of leading extrinsic evidence to prove that a signatory had express or implied authority.