Forum non conveniens (Latin for "inappropriate forum") is a discretionary power of mostly common law courts to refuse to hear a case that has been brought before it. The courts may refuse to take jurisdiction over matters where there is a more appropriate forum available to the parties.


The doctrine is used both internationally and domestically. Countries with overlapping, parallel or exclusive courts such as the United States and Canada also use the doctrine to decide when a judgment from a neighboring court should be recognized and enforced. It is an important organizing principle in the field of conflict of laws.

The underlying principles, such as basing respect given to foreign courts on reciprocal respect or comity, also apply in civil law systems (lis alibi pendens).

A concern often raised in applications of the doctrine is forum shopping, or picking a court merely to gain an advantage in the proceeding.

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