Power of attorney applied in Shanghai Maritime Court

(enccmt.court.gov.cn)Updated : 2017-07-28

In Shanghai maritime court, agent ad litem authority overcame procedural barriers in a recent case: with a power of attorney, a foreign defendant granted that authority to its Shanghai branch enabling the branch to conduct the case on its behalf.

A power of attorney is a document that authorizes the attorney, in this case a branch company of the defendant, to take any legal step as if it were the giver of the power of attorney, but always in the giver’s interests. When the power of attorney is used in litigation, the attorney is said to have agent ad litem authority.

The plaintiff, Changshu Kailing Knitting Co Ltd, booked cargo space with CMA CGM Group, a French company, for a shipment of knitted fabric from Shanghai to Algeria. 

CMA issued a marine bill of lading to Changshu Kailing. When the cargo arrived at its destination, it was delivered to the consignee without Changshu Kailing receiving payment. Changshu Kailing consequently sued both the Algerian importer and CMA. 

CMA CGM’s Shanghai branch used the power of attorney to represent the French defendant. After an hour of trial, it was agreed that CMA would pay more than $ 1.16 million in damages to the plaintiff.

According to Xie Zhenxian, president of the maritime and foreign-related commercial trial tribunal, use of a power of attorney eliminates the need for frequent notarization of document and is allowable in the Shanghai maritime court when the case is within its jurisdiction.

The practice has been used in more than 100 cases reducing litigation costs and raising trial efficiency.