Getreide-Import GmbH v Contimar SA Compania Industrial, Comercial y Maritima [1953] 1 WLR 207

Contract – Notice – Arbitration – Letter – Offer – Receipt – Appeal


The complainants, Getreide-Import GmbH, entered into a contract to buy a quantity of wheat from the defendants, Contimar SA Compania Industrial, Comercial y Maritima. This contract included the terms of Form no 41 (Rye Terms) of the London Corn Trade Association Ltd. This meant that if any dispute arose from the contract, the issue would be dealt with by arbitration and the party would have 14 days from the date of award to appeal the decision. In addition, any notice should be given in writing and sent to the address of the party. It would be classed as received after 24 hours. A dispute arose between the parties and the defendant wanted to appeal the arbitration decision. On the 13th day after the decision, the defendant gave notice of appeal to the complainants by letter. This letter was incorrectly addressed; although it had their company name, the street and number were wrong. When it was received, the letter was forwarded to the correct address, but it was after the 14 days from the date of the award.


The issue in this case concerned when the notice of appeal was received and whether it was within the expiration date and receipt within 24 hours.


The court held that the conditions for appeal had not been complied with by the defendants in this case. The appeal notice had not been communicated within the 14-day limit; the letter had been wrongly addressed to another company and the chances of it being received were remote. The clause that details receipt within 24 hours would only apply to a notice that was properly addressed.