Applicable Law, Jurisdiction, Forum Non Conveniens

Discussion 4.1

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Applicable Law, Jurisdiction, Forum Non Conveniens

Jurisdiction denotes a court’s power to hear particular types of cases. Whereas there are numerous kinds of jurisdictions, general and specific personal jurisdiction are the most common. General jurisdiction signifies the authority a court of law has over a wide-ranging array of court cases. In contrast, specific jurisdiction signifies a court of law’s capacity to hear a lawsuit in a state other than the defendant’s home state if that defendant has fewer contacts in the state where the suit will be tried. The difference between general and specific personal jurisdiction is that specific jurisdiction needs a relationship between the defendant’s in-state contact and the claim, while general jurisdiction is all-purpose jurisdiction which denotes there is no need for a relationship between the contact and the claim. State courts are an excellent example of courts of general personal jurisdiction. Specific jurisdiction is a little more complicated.

A dismissal based on forum Non-conveniens is a discretionary power that permits courts to dismiss a case whereby another forum or court of law is much better in hearing that case. On the other hand, one lack of jurisdiction is whereby the court lacks the power to make decisions affecting the defendant personally. In this dismissal, the court lacks the power to rule on controversy. Dismissal based on forum Non-conveniens does not stop a plaintiff from re-filing his or her case in the more suitable court.

A court can apply to form Non Conveniens when a particular alternative forum is in a foreign country. Forum Non-Conveniens is usually distinguished from the transfer. Additionally, a court will classically only invoke forum non conveniens if it meets a two-step test: it is a seriously not appropriate forum, and if there is a more appropriate court that is available for the plaintiff’s claim.