(a) For the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice, a district court may transfer any civil action to any other district or division where it might have been brought or to any district or division to which all parties have consented.
(b) Upon motion, consent or stipulation of all parties, any action, suit or proceeding of a civil nature or any motion or hearing thereof, may be transferred, in the discretion of the court, from the division in which pending to any other division in the same district. Transfer of proceedings in rem brought by or on behalf of the United States may be transferred under this section without the consent of the United States where all other parties request transfer.
(c) A district court may order any civil action to be tried at any place within the division in which it is pending.
(d) Transfers from a district court of the United States to the District Court of Guam, the District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands, or the District Court of the Virgin Islands shall not be permitted under this section. As otherwise used in this section, the term "district court" includes the District Court of Guam, the District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands, and the District Court of the Virgin Islands, and the term "district" includes the territorial jurisdiction of each such court.
(June 25, 1948, ch. 646, 62 Stat. 937; Pub. L. 87–845, §9, Oct. 18, 1962, 76A Stat. 699; Pub. L. 104–317, title VI, §610(a), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3860; Pub. L. 112–63, title II, §204, Dec. 7, 2011, 125 Stat. 764.)
Based on title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., §§119, 163 (Mar. 3, 1911, ch. 231, §58, 36 Stat. 1103; Sept. 8, 1916, ch. 475, §5, 39 Stat. 851).
Section consolidates sections 119 and 163 of title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., with necessary changes in phraseology and substance.
Section 119 of title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., related only to transfer of cases from one division to another on stipulation of the parties.
Subsection (a) was drafted in accordance with the doctrine of forum non conveniens, permitting transfer to a more convenient forum, even though the venue is proper. As an example of the need of such a provision, see Baltimore & Ohio R. Co. v. Kepner, 1941, 62 S.Ct. 6, 314 U.S. 44, 86 L.Ed. 28, which was prosecuted under the Federal Employer's Liability Act in New York, although the accident occurred and the employee resided in Ohio. The new subsection requires the court to determine that the transfer is necessary for convenience of the parties and witnesses, and further, that it is in the interest of justice to do so.
Sections 143, 172, 177, and 181 of title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., relating to the district courts of Arizona, Montana, New Mexico, and Ohio, contained special provisions similar to subsection (b), applicable to those States. To establish uniformity, the general language of such subsection has been drafted and the special provisions of those sections omitted.
Subsection (b) is based upon section 163 of title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., which applied only to the district of Maine. This revised subsection extends to all judicial districts and permits transfer of cases between divisions. Criminal cases may be transferred pursuant to Rules 19–21 of the new Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and the criminal provisions of said section 163 are therefore omitted.
2011—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 112–63, §204(1), inserted "or to any district or division to which all parties have consented" before period at end.
Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 112–63, §204(2), substituted "Transfers from a district court of the United States to the District Court of Guam, the District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands, or the District Court of the Virgin Islands shall not be permitted under this section. As otherwise used in this section," for "As used in this section,".
1996—Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 104–317 amended subsec. (d) generally. Prior to amendment, subsec. (d) read as follows: "As used in this section, 'district court' includes the United States District Court for the District of the Canal Zone; and 'district' includes the territorial jurisdiction of that court."
1962—Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 87–845 added subsec. (d).
Amendment by Pub. L. 112–63 effective upon the expiration of the 30-day period beginning on Dec. 7, 2011, and applicable to any action commenced in a United States district court on or after such effective date, and to any action removed from a State court to a United States district court that had been commenced, within the meaning of State law, on or after such effective date, see section 205 of Pub. L. 112–63, set out as an Effective Date note under section 1390 of this title.
Pub. L. 104–317, title VI, §610(c), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3861, provided that: "The amendments made by this section [amending this section and section 1406 of this title] apply to cases pending on the date of the enactment of this Act [Oct. 19, 1996] and to cases commenced on or after such date."
Amendment by Pub. L. 87–845 effective Jan. 2, 1963, see section 25 of Pub. L. 87–845, set out as a note under section 414 of this title.