Addresses That Aren’t So Dependable

In contracts, addresses occur in the notices provision. And if a contract doesn’t include a notices provision, usually I’ll include in the introductory clause the address of any individual that’s a party, so as to distinguish that individual from anyone else with the same name; see MSCD 1.49.

But some addresses are more dependable than others. Reader Chris Lemens recently shared with me an address from the notices provision of a contract he’s working on:

52, Ferena Building, 5th Floor
Opposite Fariyas Hotel
Near Colaba Telephone Exchange
Mumbai 400 005

And he offered the following observations:

It always amazes me how much I take for granted. Of course there are places in the world where addresses are less clear than landmarks. I’m aware of that, in the abstract, because I read a lot of economics, and there’s an entire literature on how the lack of clearly defined property rights (including the lack of plats and property registries) limits growth in less developed countries. But I’ve not previously encountered in a contract an example of a more improvised approach to addresses. I’m wondering whether I should rethink how parties should give notice in countries where addresses are hit-and-miss.

This reminded me of how on my trip to Oman I was told that addresses are much less reliable than national identification numbers when it comes to information to include in the introductory clause with respect to individuals.

Anyone have any practical experience in dealing with such addresses?

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.

3 thoughts on “Addresses That Aren’t So Dependable”

  1. Regularly working with Chinese clients, the problem is less that addresses are unreliable, but how to transliterate them for use by the foreign party in a consistent manner that the postal service in China will be able to understand.

    Using an email address might be an option, but I wouldn’t recommend it in China as people tend to use their private email addresses for work, making email it unsuitable for use in a notices provision. In addition, many people in China share completely identical names, making it hard to distinguish them.

    Including the national ID number for natural persons and the company registration number for legal persons (plus a copy of the company’s business license) is the most reliable way of persistent identification.

  2. The vaguest address I put in a contract simply said (translated from French) “Monsieur XXX, near the barracks, Pointe-Noire, Republic of the Congo” – amazingly there were never any problems in him receiving notices from us!


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