Nissho Iwai Company Limited et al v. Shanghai Ocean Shipping Company

In Admiralty Practice, Stays of Proceedings on (Updated )

This was an application to stay proceedings on the grounds that Canada was not the convenient forum. The action arose out of the grounding of the "Ning Hai" in the Kurile Islands and the consequent loss of the Plaintiff’s cargo. The Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant, as provider of the officers and crew of the "Ning Hai", owed it a duty of care to provide competent and qualified officers and crew and that it breached this duty. The Defendant argued that the Peoples Republic of China was a more convenient forum for the dispute because the officers and crew were Chinese nationals and were trained in China, the Defendant was a Chinese corporation and the grounding occurred far away from Canada. The Plaintiff argued that Canada was a convenient forum because the cargo was loaded in Canada, the charterer was Canadian, and there were a number of witnesses in Canada who had the opportunity to observe the competence of the crew before it left on the fateful voyage. The Plaintiff further argued that there would be no discovery of documents or examinations for discovery in China. The Court held that the fundamental issue in the dispute was the competence of the crew and that most, if not all, of the evidence on this issue was in China. In result, the Court allowed the motion and stayed the proceedings.