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Overview of The Thai Legal System

:: The Thai Legal System
:: The Judicial System
:: Arbitration

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The Thai Legal System - The Judicial System

Thailand has three classes of courts which can be classified by their retrospective methods of hearing.

Courts of first instance (Trial Courts)
Courts of first instance (Trial Courts) conduct the original trial of cases and render decisions. The judge decides both issues of fact and law. In a big province such as Bangkok, Courts of first Instance may be called differently depending on their subject matter jurisdiction, such as Civil Court, Criminal Court, Labour Court or Juvenile and Family Court. In rural areas, a Provincial Court has jurisdiction over all matters subject to a few exceptions .

The Court of Appeals
If a party disagrees with the decision of the lower court, they can appeal to a Court of Appeals, The court of Appeals will normally entertain legal issues rather than factual issues,

Dika Court (Supreme Court)
Subject to the statutory prohibitions, a party who disagrees with the decision of the court of appeals can take its case to Dika Court (Supreme Court). The decision of Dika Court is final.

In a civil suit, an interested party may initiate proceedings by filing a complaint or petition to a court having jurisdiction over the matter. In a criminal suit, only the individual injured party may be a plaintiff alone or joint plaintiff with the public prosecutor depending upon the type of offense.

Foreign Judgment

Thailand does not recognize foreign Judicial judgments. A party may not enforce a judgment adjudicated in a foreign country and a new proceeding must be initiated.
However foreign arbitrate awards are recognized and enforceable under the Arbitration Act of B.E. 2530 (A.D. 1987); providing that such arbitrate award is covered by a treaty, convention or international agreement to which Thailand is a party and will have effect only as far as Thailand accedes to be bound.

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