Forum Non Conveniens | Recent BVI Commercial Court Guidance

BVI Commercial Court provides guidance on the place of incorporation as a factor when deciding a "forum non conveniens" application.

Walkers has recently acted for Applicants which successfully challenged forum in favour of the Russian courts. The Claimants unsuccessfully relied on the parties' jurisdiction of incorporation as a factor determining the appropriate forum for their claim.

The claim was a derivative action brought under Russian law on behalf of a Russian company which sought damages following alleged breaches of Russian corporate legislation. The four Applicants were companies incorporated in the BVI and of the other Defendants, one was a company incorporated in Cyprus, one was a company incorporated in Russia, and one was a Russian national.

It was argued by the Claimants that the facts and circumstances of the claim were truly international and it could therefore not be said that Russia was clearly the more appropriate jurisdiction for the resolution of the dispute. The Claimants argued that the fact that four of the Defendants were incorporated in the BVI was a deciding factor. The Applicants in turn argued that the only connection between the claim and the BVI was the place of incorporation of some, but not all, of the Defendants. Justice Bannister QC went on to hold that in circumstances where the claim involved alleged breaches of Russian legislation and the alleged individual wrongdoers were Russian, Russia was clearly the appropriate forum for the determination of the claim. The Court held that the mere fact that some of the Defendants were companies incorporated in the BVI was not sufficient to displace this conclusion.

Partner Oliver Clifton and associates Grant Carroll and Matthew Neal based in Walkers' BVI office acted in this matter

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