Forum Non-Conveniens Law and Legal Definition

Forum non conveniens is a Latin term meaning a forum which is not convenient. This doctrine is employed when the court chosen by the plaintiff is inconvenient for witnesses or poses an undue hardship on the defendants. The hardship may arise from such factors as travel distance to the courthouse or presence of witnesses and evidence in another state. The defendant must petition the court for an order transferring the case to a more convenient court. For e.g., “A” met with an accident out of state and “A” files the complaint in his/her home state. If the witnesses and doctors who treated “A” are out of state, then the court located out of state becomes the most convenient place for trial.

A court may use its discretion in declining to exercise jurisdiction over a matter because of the inconvenience of the forum. However, the court will only dismiss the case if there is another forum available to the plaintiff.