A quarter of a century on from the High Court of Australia’s landmark ruling in Voth v Manildra Flour Mills Pty Ltd, this article examines the application of the modern-day forum (non) conveniens doctrine in Australia. It outlines the prevailing view in the academic literature which claims that the Australian doctrine is functionally different from its English counterpart, articulated in Spiliada Maritime Corporation v Cansulex Ltd. Through a detailed assessment of the case law and commentary, this article questions the widely-accepted orthodoxy and demonstrates it to be unpersuasive. The article’s key contribution is to reconceptualise our understanding of the forum (non) conveniens doctrine in Australia. In this respect, its main contention is that while, theoretically, there may be a narrow conceptual space between Spiliada and Voth, it is so narrow as to be practically non-existent.
Bibliographical noteAccepted for publication: 6 October 2015
- Private international law
- discretionary (non-)exercise of jurisdiction
- Australian forum (non) conveniens doctrine
- English forum (non) conveniens doctrine