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Commercial Litigation in the Kingdom of Thailand

Oct 10, 2007
Thailand, officially the Kingdom of Thailand, is not only a popular as well as serene tourist destination but also a booming commercial center comprising a flourishing dispute resolution market. In other words, Thailand is one of the prominent trading partners with investment in almost all international businesses.

Every business in turn cannot exist without contract. In case, if any of them goes wrong, it is vital to fix the problem as quickly and as easily as possible. Hence, it is evident that disputes form an integral part of Thai commercial life. Although, in most cases, disputes occurring as a result of commercial business activities are quickly resolved, there are certain instances during which commercial disputes are complex and require some kind of formal assistance in the form of lawsuit to resolve or negotiate Thai business disputes as well as contracts.

Mostly, such conciliatory methods as arbitration, negotiation, and adjudication are commonly used for dispute resolution. However, when disputes pertaining to business or commercial conducts become complex as well as chaotic, confrontational methods such as commercial litigation is adopted to resolve the business disputes.

Commercial litigation is the lawful way of resolving dispute that usually occurs between professionals and people involved in commercial relationships. Broadly speaking, Commercial litigation usually involve resolving disputes in a plethora of areas in connection with business arguments, such as, bankruptcy matters, debt collections, settlements, contract disputes, financial transactions, shareholder litigation, partnership disputes, allegations with regard to consumer fraud, disputes regarding insurance coverage claim, unfair competition, and real estate litigation.

However, commercial litigation in Thailand is foreign, and this is considered unwelcome as per Thai custom and culture. Discussed further in this article are regarding the features as well as procedures involved in commercial litigation in the Kingdom of Thailand.

The court system in Thailand is three tiers: the Supreme Court (also known as Dika), the Courts of First Instance, and the Appeal Court. Apart from these, Thai court system also consists of several specialist courts such as the Labour Court, the Bankruptcy Court, the Juvenile and Family Court, the Tax Court, and the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court, and above all, the Administrative court for considering and handling disputes as a result of administrative contracts. Further, there are two main institutions in Thailand for dealing with commercial arbitration, such as, the Thai Arbitration Institute (TAI) and the Thai Commercial Arbitration Committee of the Board of Trade.

Usually for civil or commercial litigation, first of all, a claim or complaint must be filed with the First Instance Court. As the next step, it must be ensured that lawyer chosen on the behalf of applicant has been appointed properly.

Usually, an applicant appoints his attorney using a power of attorney. It is also necessary that that the applicant should prove his legal status and the person who has been given the power of attorney are eligible to execute the functions duly. In case, the applicant is a foreign entity, he is required to furnish a multitude of documents to show proper authorization. In addition, all of the documents must be notarized by a notary public as well as legalized by the Thai embassy.

If the applicant fails to submit any of the required documents, it may sometimes prove fatal to the claim of the applicant. A foreign entity can be sued in a court in Thailand. But, in case, if the foreign entity does not have domicile in Thailand, the procedures are usually conducted via the diplomatic channel and mostly it may take a period ranging from six months to one year to receive it.

The language is another important feature pertaining to civil as well as commercial litigation in Thailand. Usually, all of the court proceedings are conducted in Thai, since it being the official language of Thailand. Hence, no exception in the case of commercial litigation proceeding. Apparently, all of the documents in connection with the legal proceedings must be translated into the Thai language.

Above all, the success of commercial litigation proceedings usually depends on the expertise of the lawyer. Hence, it is vital to make a thorough investigation with regard to the reputation as well as professionalism, before approaching or contracting them.

A host of law firms are now in Thailand, providing the services of expert lawyers for dealing commercial litigation. Many of these law firms render a continuum of services in connection with solving disputes in arenas such as banking, construction, insolvency, transport, commercial and corporate, and employment.
About the Author
For nearly 30 years, Bamrung Suvicha Apisakdi Law Associates (BSA Law) has focused on providing reliable legal advice and services to the Thai and foreign business community in Thailand. We provide international standards of legal services while retaining the customs of the Thai business culture.
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