Supreme Court of Thailand (Thai page) : http://www.supremecourt.or.th/webportal/supremecourt/index.php
Office of the Judiciary of Thailand (English Page): https://www.coj.go.th/th/page/item/index/id/9
Thai Arbitration Institute, an arbitration centre under a supervision of the Office of the Judiciary
Please refer to website: https://tai-en.coj.go.th/th/page/item/index/id/1
Practice Guidelines on Case Management During the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic No.3, dated 4 January B.E. 2564 (2021): Link here
The COVID-19 Speech by the Supreme Court of Thailand at the 9th CACJ Meeting, delivered on 7 October 2021, may be accessed here: Link here
The presentation material of the COVID-19 Speech by the Supreme Court of Thailand at the 9th CACJ Meeting, delivered on 7 October 2021, may be accessed here: Link here
The Criminal Courts for Corruption and Misconduct Cases
The Criminal Courts for Corruption and Misconduct Cases consist of one Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases in Bangkok and nine regional Criminal Courts for Corruption and Misconduct Cases. They were established under the Act establishing The Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases B.E. 2559 (2016), in order to have courts dedicating to misconduct cases, to expand corruption cases prosecution to private sector and lower levels of government officials and to expedite adjudicating corruption cases.
The hierarchy of the Criminal Courts for Corruption and Misconduct Cases is equivalent to court of first instance. Its responsibility is to try and adjudicate the corruption and misconduct cases against government officials, as well as against other persons, whether as a principal, instigator, supporter or accomplice.
In brief :
A “State Official” means State Officials, Foreign State Officials, and International Organization Officials under the Organic Act on Counter Corruption, the law on administrative measures for the prevention and suppression of corruption, and includes the Official under the Penal Code.
“Corruption” means corruption under the Organic Act on Counter Corruption, the law on administrative measures for prevention and suppression of corruption, or other Organic Acts or other laws.
“Misconduct” means an act that is not Corruption, but the performance or omission of a particular act on account of such person committing the offence having the position or duty, which violates the laws, rules, regulations, orders, or Cabinet Resolutions aiming to control the acceptance, keeping, or expenditure of money or property of the State.
Juvenile and Family Courts
The Juvenile and Family Courts consist of the Central Juvenile and Family Court and the Provincial Juvenile and Family Courts. Two career judges and two lay judges, one of those must be a woman, constitute a quorum of the Juvenile and Family Courts. An appeal against a judgment or order of the Juvenile and Family Courts lies with the Courts of Appeal for Specialized Cases.
The purposes of establishment of the Juvenile and Family Courts is to improve on rights protection, welfare and practices for children, women and members of the family including setting up the procedure in the Juvenile and Family Courts to be in line with the Constitution, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against women.
The Labour Courts consist of one Central Labour Court in Bangkok and nine Regional Labour Court. They were established under the Act on Establishment of Labour Courts and Labour Court Procedure B.E. 2522 (1979). The establishment of the Labour Courts is to ensure that specific and technical problems regarding labour cases will be solved by appropriate adjudicators. Apart from professional judge who is appointed because of competent knowledge on labour cases, lay judges also involve constituting a quorum.
The hierarchy of the Labour courts is equal to court of first instance having jurisdiction over the cases concerning employment contract as well as rights and obligation under the Labour Protection Act, Labour Relations Act, Workmen’s Compensation Act, and Social Security Act.
Central Tax Court
The Central Tax Court was established under Act on the Establishment of and Procedure for Tax Court B.E. 2528 (1985) in order to ensure that specific and technical problems regarding tax cases will be solved by appropriate adjudicators.
The Central Tax Court is the Court of First Instance for all tax cases throughout the Kingdom. It was empowered authority to try the following cases:
- Appeals against the decision of tax officers or committees
- Disputes over the claims of state tax obligations
- Disputes over tax refunds
- Disputes over rights or obligations concerning tax collections. Disputes over the right or obligations regarding tax collection obligations
- Other cases made subject to the Act as prescribed by other laws.
At present, the Central Bankruptcy Court is situated at Ratchadaphisek Road, Chatuchak, Bangkok.
Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court
The Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court was established due to the notion that the characteristics of the intellectual property and international trade cases are different from other general cases and should be handled by judges and associate judges who have expertise in those area.
The Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court was established under the Act on the Establishment of and Procedure for Intellectual Property and International Trade Court B.E.2539 (1996), having power to adjudicate civil and criminal cases in relation to intellectual property and international trade. Currently, as regional Intellectual Property and International Trade Courts have not yet been established, the jurisdiction of the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court therefore covers the entire Kingdom according to transitional provision of the law.
At present, the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court is situated at Ratchaburi Direkrit Building, The Government Complex, Chaengwattana Rd. Laksi District, Bangkok.
Central Bankruptcy Court
The Central Bankruptcy Court was established under Act on the Establishment of and Procedure for Bankruptcy Court B.E. 2542 (1999) in order to ensure that specific and technical problems regarding bankruptcy cases will be solved by appropriate adjudicators.
The Central Bankruptcy Court was empowered its jurisdiction over Bangkok. Technically in accordance with the transitional provision of aforementioned act, the Central Bankruptcy Court also has its jurisdiction over the area throughout Thailand in which no bankruptcy court was established. Cases brought to the Central Bankruptcy Court are civil cases, criminal cases, reorganization cases according to the Bankruptcy Act. B.E. 2483 (1940)
At present, the Central Bankruptcy Court is situated at Ratchaburi Direkrit Building, The Government Complex, Chaengwattana Rd. Laksi District, Bangkok.
Courts of First Instance
Courts in Bangkok – Civil Cases
Under Thai Law, the plaintiff must bring a civil case to the court where the cause of action arises or where the defendant is domiciled. Where an immovable property is involved, the plaintiff has to bring a law suit to the court where such property is situated, or where the defendant is domiciled. However, in the consumer case, in which the business operator will bring a case against the consumer, only domicile principle is applied.
In Bangkok, Courts of First Instance dealing with civil cases are the Civil Court, the Bangkok South Civil Court, the Thon Buri Civil Court, the Min Buri Civil Court, the Taling Chan Civil Court, and the Phra Khanong Civil Court, depending on the district where the cause of action arises or where the defendant is domiciled.
For disputes on civil matters occurring outside the territorial jurisdiction, the Civil Court has discretion either to try and adjudicate those cases or to transfer them to the court having territorial jurisdiction.
Courts in Bangkok – Criminal Cases
As regards criminal cases, the court in a district where an offence has been committed, alleged or believed to have been committed, or where an accused resides or is arrested, or where and inquiry official makes an inquiry has jurisdiction over the cases. In Bangkok, Courts of First Instance handling criminal cases are the Criminal Court, the Bangkok South Criminal Court, the Thon Buri Criminal Court and the Min Buri Criminal Court, the Taling Chan Criminal Court, and the Phra Khanong Criminal Court, depending on the district where an offence has been committed, alleged or believed to have been committed, or where an accused resides or is arrested, or where an inquiry official makes an inquiry. Like the Civil Court, the reason to establish other criminal courts in Bangkok was to alleviate the workloads of the Criminal Court. Also, the Criminal Court has a discretion either to try and adjudicate criminal cases arising outside its territorial jurisdiction but was brought before it or to transfer to the court having territorial jurisdiction.
Provincial Courts exercise unlimited original jurisdiction in all general civil and criminal matters within their own districts which are generally the provinces themselves. For the purpose of expansion of services of the court to the distance area, some provinces of the court to the distance area, some provinces may have more than one Provincial Court. For example, in Nakhon Ratchasima Province, there are three Provincial Courts, i.e., the Nakhon Ratchasima Provincial Court, the Sikhio Provincial Court and the Bua Yai Provincial Court. Where a case within the jurisdiction of the Municipal Court is brought to the Provincial Court, the latter has to transfer the case to the former.
Each Provincial Court has a Chief Judge who is the head and responsible for the judicial work of the Court. The Director of “The Administrative Office of such Provincial Court under the supervision of the Chief Judge is responsible for administrative work of the Court”
Municipal Courts (Kwaeng Courts)
The Municipal Court is known as Kwaeng Court. There are six Municipal Courts in Bangkok Metropolis : the Bangkok North Municipal Court, the Bangkok South Municipal Court, the Thon Buri Municipal Court, the Dusit Municipal Court, the Pathumwan Municipal Court and the Don Muang Municipal Court. The primary function of Municipal Courts is to dispose of small cases quickly with minimum formality and expense. The jurisdiction of these courts 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. The proceeding in Municipal Courts is emphasized on the speedy trial; therefore, the trial is more simple and oral judgment or summarized judgment may be issued.
Courts of Appeal
General Courts of Appeal
Courts of Appeal consist of the Court of Appeal and nine Regional Courts of Appeal. The Courts of Appeal handles an appeal against a judgment or order of Civil Courts and Criminal Courts. Meanwhile the Regional Courts of Appeal handle an appeal against a judgment or order of the other Courts of First Instance located within their regions. According to the 2007 Constitution, Section 219 paragraph three prescribes that the Court of Appeal has power to try and adjudicate cases relevant to the election and revocation of the election rights in the election of local councils and local administrators. The jurisdictions of the Regional Courts of Appeal are consistent with the jurisdictions of the Courts of First Instance of Regions I – IX. Each Court of Appeal is headed by the President of the Court assisted by Vice-Presidents of the Court. At least three Justices form a quorum. Each Court of Appeal has a Research Justice Division consisting of research judges. The primary function of the Division is to assist justices of the Courts of Appeal by examining all relevant factual and legal issues of the cases, conducting legal researches and discussing with those justices to ensure uniformity and fair results.
Court of Appeal for Specialized Cases
In order to harmoniously organize the appeal and dika appeal system nationwide, the Establishment of the Court of Appeal for Specialized Cases Act B.E. 2558 (2015) was enacted to facilitate judges with various expertise in adjudicating specialized cases with expediency and uniformity and conform to the new appeal and dika appeal for ordinary civil cases already amended by laws. The Court is empowered to try and adjudicate cases appealed for specialized courts as follows:
- Intellectual Property and International Trade Court
- Tax Court
- Labour Court
- Bankruptcy Court
- Juvenile and Family Court
The Court of Appeal for Specialized Cases is divided into 5 divisions: Intellectual Property and International Trade Case Division, Tax Cases division, Labour Case Division, Bankruptcy Case Division, Juvenile and Family Case division. The Court was inaugurated on October 1, 2559 (2016).
The Supreme Court is the highest court where the President of the Supreme Court, acts as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has power to try and adjudicate cases which are appealed on judgments or orders rendered by the Courts of Appeal in accordance with the provision of the Dika Appeal, and cases which are under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court as prescribed by the special law. There is only one Supreme Court in Thailand which is located in Bangkok. The ordinary quorum in the Supreme Court consists of three justices of the Supreme Court. However, in special cases where there are important issues, whether factual or legal issues, and the President of the Supreme Court deems it appropriate to bring the case to be adjudicated by the plenary session of the Supreme Court, the President of the Supreme Court therefore has authority to bring such cases to be adjudicated by the plenary session of the Supreme Court.
According to the promulgation of the Civil Procedure Code Amendment Act (No. 27) B.E. 2558 (2015) which has come into force since November 8, 2558 (2015), the Supreme Court shall have the power to consider whether cases submitted for the dika appeal to the Supreme Court deserves the permission for the adjudication of the Supreme Court. This results in the change of the appeal and dika appeal system, from a right-based system to a permission-based system, in the Civil Procedure Code of Thailand. If the Supreme Court does not permit the dika appeal, a judgment or an order rendered by the Court of Appeal is final. As a result, the adjudication of the Court of Justice will genuinely be effective and fair to all related people without any delay.
The Criminal Division for Persons Holding of Political Positions
Following the adoption of 1997 Constitution, the Criminal Division for Persons Holding of Political Positions was set up in the Supreme Court to act as a trial court in cases where the Prime Minister, a Minister, a member of the House of the Representatives, a senator or other political official is accused of becoming unusually wealthy, committing malfeasance in office according to the Criminal Code, performing duties dishonestly, or of corruption under other laws.
According to the 2017 Constitution, the quorum of this special division of the Supreme Court consists of nine justices of the Supreme Court who hold positions of not lower than justices of the Supreme Court or the senior justices in the Supreme Court, and are elected by a plenary session of the Supreme Court on a case by case basis. A judgment will be made by a majority of votes; provided that each justice constituting the quorum will prepare a written opinion and make oral statements to the meeting before making decision. Orders or judgments of the Supreme Court Criminal Division for Persons Holding of Political Positions must be disclosed and can be appealed to the plenary session of the Supreme Court Justices.
The appeal may be submitted to the plenary meeting of the Supreme Court within thirty days as from the date of judgment of the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Persons Holding Political Positions. The consideration of an appeal shall be undertaken by a panel of judges of the Supreme Court consisting of nine judges of the Supreme Court holding a position not lower than the Presiding Justice of the Supreme Court or senior judges having held a position not lower than the Presiding Justice of the Supreme Court who have never considered the case, and have been selected at the plenary meeting of the Supreme Court on a case-by-case basis, and when such panel of judges has made a decision, this decision shall be deemed as appellate decision of the plenary meeting of the Supreme Court.