Civil Procedure I

Forum Non Conveniens

Forum non conveniens is when a court with jurisdiction declines to exercise it due to the fact that another court with equal jurisdiction is significantly more convenient for the parties.

Forum non conveniens causes a dismissal of a case despite the court having jurisdiction with the expectation that it will be re-filed in a more convenient court system.

It is usually only used in state courts as they lack the power to transfer to other states.

  • The plaintiff's choice of forum gives a strong presumption. Piper.
  • The law being better in the forum court is not enough to avoid forum non conveniens, but if a "remedy" is not available in the new forum, then substantial weight is given. Piper.
  • It is up to the sound discretion of the court and reversed only if the court clearly abused that discretion.
    • Private Factors:
      1. Relative ease of access to sources of proof
      2. Cost of litigation
      3. Availability and cost of compelling witnesses
      4. Ability to enforce the judgment
      5. Other problems like language issues
    • Public Factors:
      1. Choice of law issues and familiarity of the court with the law to be applied
      2. Local interest in the case
      3. Backlog of respective courts
      4. Burden on local court and community in hearing a case not related to their forum