- The literal translation of Forum Non Conveniens means forum which is not convenient.
This policy is strategically employed when the court chosen by the plaintiff can be construed as inconvenient for witnesses or be deemed to present an undue hardship for the defendants who must petition the court for an order transferring the case to a more convenient court (Kravchenko & Bonine, 2008, p.403). An example would be a lawsuit involving parties that live in different states and the plaintiff files the suit in their state of residence when the incident and all the witnesses reside in the defendant’s home state.
According to Kravchenko & Bonine (2008, p.412), the Spiliada case set the precedent for “the two-stage test for the doctrine of Forum Non Conveniens in English courts”. The Spiliada Maritime Corporation vs. Cansulex Ltd. (1987) 1 AC 460 determines that Forum Non Conveniens can be granted only if the court is satisfied that there is another more suitable forum competent to handle the proceedings and suits the interest of justice and all parties concerned (Kravchenko & Bonine, 2008, p.419). The courts must also determine if the new forum has suitable connecting factors that makes them a realistic candidate and if these are sufficient factors that merit such a suggestion (Kravchenko & Bonine, 2008, p.419). Connecting factors include (i) convenience and expense, including availability of witnesses, (ii) the laws regarding Forum Non Conveniens, and (iii) locations of the residences and places of business for the parties involved (Kravchenko & Bonine, 2008, p.419). However, despite evidence of prima facie, the court can still refuse to grant Forum Non Conveniens if such a motion would be detrimental to the service of justice (Kravchenko & Bonine, 2008, p.419).