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  • William Kanaan

Political Context Applied to Appropriate Forum Issue in Qatari Claim Involving UAE

The High Court rejected a jurisdiction challenge, holding that England was the appropriate forum for a malicious falsehood claim brought by the owner of Qatar Airways (QAG).

The judgement dealt with several matters and included a particularly interesting finding regarding the principle of forum non conveniens.

Given the difficulty in establishing a real risk of substantial injustice before a foreign court, the judge regarded the political context as being most important in weighing up forum non conveniens considerations based on the hostile environment for Qataris in the UAE, stating:

"In the highly political circumstances of this case, the UAE would not be a perceived neutral forum … Any judgment it would give would have less international force."

"… perhaps of most importance, is that fact that the political situation has created very grave problems for the pursuit of any litigation in the UAE by QAG …"

"I conclude therefore that there is a real risk that anyone involved in QAG's litigation in the UAE would be committing a crime or threatened with such and this would have a chilling effect on representatives and witnesses."

“… a major factor which has persuaded me that the UAE is not an appropriate forum is what I would broadly call 'access to justice' considerations in what has clearly become a 'hostile environment' for Qataris in the UAE".


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