There are many misconceptions and uncertainties about the Litigation System in Thailand.

Thailand is a civil law country. Most laws are codified and, unlike common law jurisdictions, the Thai courts are not bound by previous decisions. Stare decisis or compliance with former decisions of the Supreme Court is not mandatory, but in practice, Supreme Court decisions generally have a persuasive effect in the adjudication of disputes.

There is no jury system in Thailand. Cases are decided on the merits of the arguments and evidence submitted by the parties. Alternative dispute resolution is encouraged and settlements reached between the parties are respected by the court. Discovery (aka disclosure) procedures are still an unfamiliar concept in the system and are often difficult to enforce.

Actual damages are awarded, but punitive or exemplary damages are rarely awarded. This is often a significant issue in personal injury claims, where compensation is also usually sought for ‘pain and suffering.’ Thai courts are unlikely to award damages in this category.

Thai culture generally has a strong bias towards the amicable resolution of disputes. Thai courts prefer parties to act in a conciliatory way and make good faith efforts to resolve any dispute before court intervention. This is reflected in the common practice of mediation: courts of first instance will generally order the parties to attempt to resolve any dispute between themselves before the hearing of any substantive issues.


Types of Litigation

Criminal Litigation: criminal offenses from filing a police claim to representation in criminal court.

Civil Litigation: filing for petitions, requests for court orders.

Commercial Litigation: breach of agreements, tort action, consumer protection case, employment dispute, intellectual property infringement case, Investors & Shareholders dispute, etc.


Court of First Instance: This initial stage would involve preparing and filing a claim or an answer to the claim, representing the party in court, preparing necessary documentations, as well as planning on the strategies of the case, and negotiation.

Enforcement: the enforcement process will be required in the event that the losing party refused to comply with the court’s judgment. A special enforcement process would help the winning party receive the compensation or benefit from the judgment as ruled by the Court of First Instance.

Appeal process: In the event that the party is not satisfied with the Court of First Instance’s judgment or orders, the party would be able to bring such judgment or order to be re-considered by the higher court.

What to do when going into Litigation in Thailand

a) Prepare evidence : a good track of evidence will make your life very much easier in court. When thinking of going into litigation, you will have to make sure that you have sufficient evidence to support your case. This could be in a form of documents, emails, photographs, tape recorder, etc. Under Thai court, the best form of evidence would be in a form of written documents.

b) Know your legal position : to decide whether or not you should move forward with litigation, you will need to know your legal position, i.e. know where you stand in that particular case, whether or not you have a strong argument for the case, and how likely you will win the case. Most of the time, to find out your legal position, you will need to consult with your attorney. In most cases, a legal research is required to reveal the exact position and to know how best to move forward in each particular case.

c) Provide accurate information : it is recommended to provide your attorney with accurate information from the very beginning to avoid misunderstanding and incorrect analysis.

d) Work closely with your attorney : when going into litigation, most people would leave all the work to their attorney and expect highly on the result. However, this is not the best attitude for involving yourself in litigation. It is recommended to double check all claims, answers, petitions, and other relevant documentations which will be submitted to court. Most attorneys will send you the draft of the documents prior to submission. This will be a good chance for you to double check the detail.

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