Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


Despite the regularity with which the issue of forum non conveniens is raised by defendants in maritime personal injury actions brought by foreign seamen, no reported case has presented a definitive analysis of the doctrine since the Lauritzen-RhodtLs choice of law method was established by the Supreme Court, In order to fill this void the author first suggests policy reasons which underpin the consistent judicial refusal to dismiss cases controlled by American maritime law. Next the author turns to the application of forum non conveniens in cases controlled by foreign law and discusses relatively recent innovations in law, technology and corporate structure which undercut the assumptions upon which the doctrine rests. The conclusion reached is that forum non conveniens no longer provides a meaningful standard to guide the courts in the exercise of discretionary jurisdiction, and a different method of approach is then recommended.