foreign investor looking at a project or transaction in
Thailand for the first time will find a legal framework
and administrative practices, which satisfactorily govern
most business transactions. The role of the law, lawyers
and the judiciary in Thailand has been long established.
It is a system within which most foreign and local investors
can operate comfortably with a high degree of confidence
in consistent interpretation and enforcement of the law.
modern Thai legal system is long established, dating from
the reign of King Chulalongkorn (pictured above) in 1868.
A Ministry of Justice was established in 1892. The Thai
Bar Association was established in 1914. Its members presently
number over 63,000 and include judges, prosecutors, practicing
lawyers, professors, and others.
is an independent judiciary that provides a forum for
fair settlement of disputes. A high status is attached
to being a judge, and the examinations to enter the judiciary
are very difficult. The judiciary jealously guards its
independence. Government agencies may be sued in the courts,
and cannot raise a defense of sovereign immunity. However,
state property is not subject to execution.
is a Thai civil service that administers laws and regulations
with a high degree of consistency, and is largely free
from political influences. Few, if any, decisions in a
normal business transaction or investment project require
going above the civil service for a political decision.
are four basic codes: Civil and Commercial Code, Criminal
Code, Civil Procedure Code, and Criminal Procedure Code.
In adopting these codes early in this century, Thailand
selected features from the two western legal systems (common
law and civil law), and adapted them to circumstances
in Thailand. Decisions and rulings of the judiciary and
civil service are not binding but have considerable force
as precedents. In addition, there are the Land Code, the
Revenue Code and hundreds of special laws and regulations
governing most areas of commercial activity, many of them
drafted and implemented with the assistance of international
legal advisors. The legal and accounting professions are
regulated under professional licensing systems, which
encourage high standards of service.
Thai is the language of the courts, most contracts between
private parties may be executed in English or other foreign
languages, and may be governed by foreign law.
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