Golden Ocean Group Ltd v Salgaocar Mining & Anr [2012] EWCA Civ 265

We first reported on this case in Issue 131.

The Court of Appeal endorsed the decision below. The requirement that the agreement must be in writing and signed by the guarantor was not there to ensure that the documentation was economical. The reason was to ensure that the parties knew exactly what had been promised and to avoid ambiguity.

When it came to the signature, it was agreed that all that was required was that the guarantor’s name is written or printed in the document. The key document here was an email ending with the name Guy, indicating that it was sent by Mr. Hindley, the broker. It was suggested that this was not a signature at all. It was no more than a salutation, and it was certainly not a signature appropriate or eff ective to authenticate a contract of guarantee.  

In the view of the CA, by putting his name at the end of the email, Mr. Hindley indicated that the email came with his authority and that he took responsibility for the contents. Further, brokers understood that their communications gave rise to obligations binding their principals. This was not simply an inconsequential communication. It was a communication which the brokers will readily have appreciated brought into being both the charterparty and the guarantee. It was therefore suffi cient to act as a signature as required by the Statute of Frauds.