Negotiating must be conducted with care and accuracy. There must be complete agreement on all the terms and details between the two principals for an enforceable contract to come into being.
It has for many years been the custom for brokers to record the progress and details of negotiations in a "day book". This can provide a check-list as to the agreed position and outstanding issues and can later, in the event of a dispute, be used to safeguard their own and their principal's position. However, in the modern office environment there is less reliance on paper documents and copies of emails, instant messaging exchanges and the like may represent an equivalent of a day book. It is essential that such correspondence is recorded and retained for a reasonable period of time, at least until the Charterparty has ended and all matters have been finalised.
If agreement is reached a recapitulation (recap) should be exchanged between all parties summarising the final agreement. Verbal communications outside chartering negotiations, when a broker must act, for example passing on orders to ships, should be re-confirmed in writing back to the instructing company.
A broker authorised to sign a Charterparty on behalf of their principal should indicate the source of authority for example by telephone, facsimile or email authority of [the principal's name] ‘As Agents only’. When signing on behalf of a principal the basic rule is that with a signature qualified in this way a broker will not be held personally liable for the performance of the contract. If the name of the principal is not disclosed, then even the qualification of “as Agents only” would not absolve the broker from liability for the performance of the contract.