Magna Carta Law Firm > FAQ Section > Thailand Civil Litigation


civil litigation


Civil Litigation is a lawsuit between persons or entities that does not involve criminal penalties. It generally includes all disputes that are formally submitted to a court about any subject in which one party claims that another party have committed a wrongful act, but not a crime. The remedy sought in Civil Litigation is usually to recover money or a judgment that requires one party to do something or to stop certain acts.

There are many cases which may involve Civil Litigation, it includes the following:

  • landlord/tenant dispute cases
  • property disputes
  • business disputes
  • personal domestic controversies
  • personal injury or negligence cases
  • accident cases
  • breach of contract cases
  • defamation cases
  • medical malpractice

A typical lawsuit begins with filing a complaint in court, clearly setting out the nature of the claim, the relief sought and the allegations. 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.


Once the defendant gets the complaint notice, he or she must file a written answer to the court within 15 days. The answer must clearly state his stand on every point of the complaint and what part of the claim he admits or denies. The defendant may also make a counterclaim against the plaintiff.  If the defendant filed a counterclaim, the plaintiff must answer it within 15 days from the date the plaintiff received the answer.

If one is duly served with a Summons and Complaint in a civil action and then fails to respond within the time limit, the plaintiff may file a motion in court to declare the respondent in default.  Once in default, the court shall continue conducting the proceedings. The defendant making a default of answer may cross-examine the evidence. However, he will lose the opportunity to defend himself on the accusations made against him or attest his own evidences.


In case a defendant making a default of answer appears in court before the court decides the case and informs the court in the first instance that he intends to defend the case. Upon consideration of the court that the default of answer did not occur intentionally or occurred with reasonable excuse, the court shall allow such defendant to submit his answer within a given time and shall re-conduct the proceedings since the time that the defendant made default.


In case the court does not allow the defendant making default to submit an answer or the court once issued a retrial order as per request of the defendant, he cannot be able to file a request for submission of answer and request for retrial.

All documents must be in Thai language because all court proceedings are conducted in Thai language. Therefore, documents in foreign language need to have Thai translations before the court can admit the documents.  This is except for Intellectual Property and International Trade court in which they may conduct the proceedings in English. This is only in case the parties mutually agrees not to translate. Moreover, it is not an evidence of the main point of the case.

The Civil and Commercial Code sets statutes of limitations for filing a complaint. The period of filing a complaint depends on the type of action or nature of the claim you are pursuing. It is especially relevant to promptly consult with a lawyer about the facts of your claims. The lawyer will make an assessment whether it is advisable to file a lawsuit. If you fail to respect the time limitations set out in the statute you cannot be able to bring an action to court.

Each case is different. The length of the litigation procedure depends on the complexity of the legal issues and facts. The  number of witnesses and the volume of cases that the court handles also affects the process.  Some lawsuits may resolve quickly, whereas lawsuits involving complex high value claims may take several months or years to conclude.

The easiest way is to consult a civil litigation lawyer who has a vast experience in the area of your concern. A lawyer is in the best position to evaluate your situation and assess your claim.