Litigation in Thailand

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Litigation in Thailand
 
What is litigation?

Litigation is the process of taking a case to a court of law or carrying on a lawsuit for settling controversies or disputes to come up with a judgment.

 

What courts deal with civil and criminal cases?

The general courts are ordinary courts which have authorities to try and adjudicate criminal and civil cases. Those courts are:

  1. Civil Courts
  2. Criminal Courts
  3. Provincial Courts
  4. Municipal Courts (Kwaeng Courts)

Under Thai Law, the plaintiff must bring a civil case to the court where the cause of action arises or where the defendant resides. If involving an immovable property, the plaintiff has to bring a lawsuit to the court based on such property’s location, or where the defendant resides. 

As regards to criminal cases, the court in a district where the accused committed or believed to have committed the offence, or where an accused resides or arrested, or where an inquiry official conducts an inquiry, has jurisdiction over the cases.

The primary function of Municipal Courts is to dispose of small cases quickly with minimum formality and cost. These courts’ jurisdiction covers both criminal and civil cases. Criminal cases fallen in the jurisdiction must deal with the criminal offence punishable with a maximum of three years imprisonment, or fine not exceeding 60,000 Baht or both. For civil cases, the amount of claims must not exceed 300,000 Baht. Moreover, the proceeding in Municipal Courts is emphasized on the speedy trial. Therefore, the trial is more simple and they may issue oral judgment or summarized judgment

 

How long will my case take if it goes through the litigation process?

Each case is certainly different. The length of the litigation procedure depends on the complexity of the legal issues and facts. The volume of cases being handled by the court also affects the process.  Some lawsuits are quickly resolved, while others may take several years to conclude.

 

Is there an alternative to filing a lawsuit?

There are different alternatives to filing a lawsuit, depending on the legal situation. Mediation and arbitration are two of the several Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods for settling disputes without resorting to lawsuits.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) refers to any means of settling disputes outside of the courtroom. It typically includes early neutral evaluation, negotiation, conciliation, mediation, and arbitration.

Mediating a case before filing a lawsuit enables both parties to present their case to a neutral third person who assists in finding mutually acceptable agreements before spending any money on litigation. 

 

What is the difference between arbitration and mediation?

Mediation is a form of dispute resolution facilitated by a neutral third person who assists the disputing parties in finding mutually acceptable solutions.  It gives both parties the opportunity to discuss and clear their issues and find areas of agreement.  If both parties reach an amicable solution, they may enter into a binding and enforceable compromise agreement.

If those involved in a dispute cannot resolve it by mediation, they often submit it to arbitration. Arbitration takes place out of court and the disputing parties select an impartial third-party, known as an arbitrator.  Disputing parties agree in advance to comply with the arbitrator’s decision and then participates in an informal hearing. Both sides can then present evidences and testimony.  The arbitrator’s decision is usually final, and courts rarely re-examine it.

 

Can I file a lawsuit at any time?

You must file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations.

 

What should I do if I get sued?

It is especially relevant that you have an appropriate legal counsel to comprehensively and competently evaluate your case at an early stage. Defendants usually have a specific period of time to respond.