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Foreign judgments are not enforceable in Thai Court but can be used as evidence in proceedings. It will be upon the court’s discretion to weigh the foreign judgment’s evidentiary value. Thailand adopts a conservative approach, which places the onus on the applicant to establish and prove that the judgment applies in Thailand. Therefore, it is necessary that when a foreign judgment is obtained, the plaintiff will have to initiate a new lawsuit against the defendant in Thailand.
This will depend on the complexity of the case and which court it is heard in. If a court case is heard through to the Supreme Court, then it is possible that it will be a lengthy court case up to 5 years in total from Court of First Instance to Supreme Court. If a case is heard in the Court of First Instance only, it is reasonable to expect one to two years. If the case is appeals in the Court of Appeal, then he length of time for a decision is generally less than a year. All of these timelines are outlines only and are subject to change due to volume of cases in the court and court busyness.
It is possible to appeal the judgement of the Court of First Instance should any party disagree with the decision of the Court of First Instance on permitted grounds only. The party may file for an appeal to the Court of Appeal within one month from the date of the delivery of the judgment of the Court of First Instance. However, if the delivery of the judgment from the Court of First Instance is done through hand delivery to the residence or office, then the party must file for an appeal within 30 days from the date of the judgement via hand delivery to the residence or office.
The Court of Appeal may hear both civil and criminal cases and it either affirms or revises the decision of the Court of First Instance. No new evidence from witnesses may be submitted at this level and unless decided by the court, only written arguments is submitted by the lawyers representing the parties, where the evidences submitted from the Court of First Instance will be examined and deliberated by the Court of Appeal
Thailand does not practice trial by jury as it is a civil law legal system where judgments apply law to the cases. The cases are decided on the merits of the submitted evidence. The number of judges may vary of one case to another.
It is possible for foreigners to file a case in Thai court as long as the matter falls under a Thai jurisdiction. However, please note only registered Thai attorneys are allowed to practice law in Thai and appear before the court. Foreign consultants can assist you with an understanding of the case and act as an intermediary.
The court fee that will be incurred in civil proceedings depends on the claimed amount. It is usually 2% of the claimed amount and is limited at 200,000THB. There are also the subpoena fees which will be incurred. This fee is not fixed as it depends on place where the party you are suing is located.
Depending on the matters that have arisen in your case, the dispute may be heard in a civil or criminal court. Further, the dispute may be heard in the Specialised Courts of First Instance, which are the Central Labor Court, the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court, the Central Tax Court or the Central Bankruptcy Court. If the disputes are heard within one of these Specialized Court, the appeals for these court usually goes directly to the Supreme Court.
The limitation period for filing a claim in Thailand can vary from 0.5, 1, 2, 5 or 10 years. Ten years is the basic prescription period in Thailand if the law does not establish a shorter period for a specific claim. The limitation period for claims concerning taxes is ten years. The limitation period for claims concerning arrears of interest, salaries, rent or hire of immovable properties is five years. The limitation period of two years will be more most commercial transactions.
It is possible to have your attorney represent you in the case, through a power of attorney. There are two types of form which are the General Power of Attorney and the Special Power of Attorney. The former allows a wider scope of authority whereas the latter is limited in scope and duration. This power of attorney will allow the authorized attorney to act on your behalf, including but not limited to filing the court complaint, acting as you in court hearings, receiving the judgement award for you if you are abroad. Although it is possible to proceed with the case when you are abroad, it is generally recommended that you appear in court although there will be many exceptions to this general recommendation.
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