Plaintiff reasonably believed his life would be in danger if he attempted to litigate case in UAE

Conflict of laws - Contracts - Choice of law

Plaintiff sued defendants for wrongs committed against him in United Arab Emirates in period of 1993 to 2000. Plaintiff claimed he and defendant T entered into joint venture to develop worthless desert property into productive farm property. Plaintiff claimed they were successful and that T unlawfully took over entire business and excluded plaintiff from it. This was allegedly followed by intimidation, threats, harassment and duress, which were approved of and acquiesced in by the government and royalty of Dubai. Defendants were personally served with statement of claim, but did not respond and did not appear. Defendants were noted in default. Plaintiff brought motion for default judgment on statement of claim. Motion granted. Claim did not have real and substantial connection to Ontario; all of conduct complained of occurred in United Arab Emirates. However, plaintiff established this was one of exceptional cases in which forum of necessity doctrine should be used. Plaintiff reasonably believed that his safety, and his life would be in danger if he were to attempt to litigate case in United Arab Emirates. Plaintiff reasonably believed government and royal family of Dubai aligned with T such that he would not get fair trial in United Arab Emirates. Court exercised its residual discretion to assume jurisdiction based on common law forum of necessity exception to real and substantial connection test.

Mohammad v. Tarraf (2019), 2019 CarswellOnt 4014, 2019 ONSC 1701, Gray J. (Ont. S.C.J.).

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