Orient Overseas Container Line Limited v. Sogelco International

In Carriage of Goods by Sea, Judgments and Enforcement of Judgments on (Updated )

This was an appeal from a decision of a Prothonotary granting recognition and enforcement of a New York arbitration award. The appellant argued that the Prothonotary had erred in finding that there was a written arbitration agreement, a requirement of recognition and enforcement. The Appeal Judge, however, agreed with the Prothonotary. He found the undisputed evidence was that a services contract containing an arbitration provision had been signed. The appellant’s argument that it had only been given one page of the agreement was not considered germane as that one page referred to the other pages and the appellant never asked for the other pages. The Appeal Judge did not agree with the Prothonotary that the appellant’s participation at the arbitration was relevant since that participation was done under protest. The Appeal Judge also did not agree that there was a three month time period within which to appeal the award as the three month time period under the Commercial Arbitration Code applies only to Canadian arbitrations not foreign arbitrations. Having found that there was an agreement to arbitrate, the Appeal Judge refused to consider the appellant’s arguments that the arbitrator erred on the merits. The Judge said: “If one agrees to arbitrate, one accepts the possibility that the arbitrator may get it wrong. This is not a jurisdiction in which one may go to court on a point of law, but only on whether there was an agreement to arbitrate and what I would broadly call principles of natural justice”.