Civil Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)


Civil Litigation


Dispute Resolution


Power of Attorney

Thai Notary and Translation


What is the system of law in Thailand?
Thailand is a civil law jurisdiction with most of the laws codified in statutes and core legal codes. Unlike common law jurisdictions, judicial decisions (or precedents) are generally not binding on courts. Decisions of the Thai Supreme Court are however considered ‘persuasive’ by lower courts.
What is the difference between civil and criminal proceedings in Thailand?
Criminal proceedings are usually brought by the government through the office of the Public Prosecutor with the aim of punishing an offender. In Thailand, private parties are also able to issue criminal proceedings. Civil proceedings are those issued by a party against another party with the aim of seeking compensation, usually in the form of damages, or some other remedy or form of restitution.
What is the standard of proof in Thai civil proceedings?
The standard of proof is on the balance of probabilities (more likely than not), also known as a preponderance of the evidence. The burden of proof with respect to individual issues in dispute (based upon the issues raised in the complaint, the answer to the complaint and any counterclaim) is assigned by the court, at an initial hearing to settle the issues in dispute.
How are civil proceedings commenced in Thailand?

Proceedings are commenced (or issued) by the filing of a complaint in a prescribed form and the payment of relevant court fees. The complaint contains the facts and allegations which form the basis of the claim, but may be pleaded generally and without full particulars provided all grounds the plaintiff (or claimant) intends to subsequently rely upon are included.

Following this, and on the basis the complaint is accepted by the court, the plaintiff files a request to the court for a summons and a copy of the complaint to be served on the defendant by a court officer. Depending upon the method of service, a defendant has between 15 – 30 days from the date of service to file an answer to the complaint, as well as any counterclaim. In the event the defendant files a counterclaim within the allowed time, this will be served on the plaintiff who has 15 – 30 days to file an answer to the counterclaim. At this point in the proceedings, extensions are both routinely requested and granted.

Are there any pre-action steps required before issuing proceedings in Thailand?
There are generally no formal pre-action steps that need to be taken before issuing proceedings in Thailand, but in practice a claimant will typically send one or more formal demands (or letters before action) before filing a complaint. Certain specific types of claims do require pre-action steps. These include claims relating to mortgages, the recission of contracts and the hire of property.
What is a typical timetable for civil proceedings in Thailand?

Following the issuance of proceedings, a court will generally schedule a hearing to settle the issues in dispute within 2 -3 months. At this stage, courts will encourage the parties to mediate the dispute and one or more mediation hearings are likely to be scheduled within the following 2 -3 months. In the event the parties are unable to settle the dispute, a trial of issues is generally scheduled 4 – 6 months following the hearing to settle the issues in dispute.

While it can be difficult to predict the precise length of proceedings in a Thai court, the courts have, in recent years, become far more efficient at case management and will endeavour to set consecutive hearing dates in order to create a continuous trial. The length of time from filing a complaint to judgment and final order in a court of first instance is approximately one year. Labour disputes, which are heard in a specialist court, are often resolved more quickly.

How are final orders appealed?
Appeals are made to the Court of Appeals and ultimately the Supreme Court (with some orders directly appealable to the Supreme Court) and must be made within one month of the judgment and final order being handed down. The granting of extensions, however, is common. Filing an appeal does not automatically stay the execution of a final order and a separate application must be filed with, or following, any appeal. Appeals generally take in the region of one year from the date of filing to be heard.
How are final orders enforced?
A Writ of Execution is applied for separately and issued by the relevant court in order to enforce a final order. The writ must be issued within 10 years of judgment and final order and will generally order the seizure and sale of the debtor’s property as well as attachment of the debtor’s rights of claim against third parties.
Are interim orders available in Thai courts?

Interim orders (also known as interim relief) are available in Thai courts, but in practice such remedies can be difficult to obtain, particularly with respect to without notice injunctions or temporary seizure or attachment orders. Summary judgment orders are also uncommon.

Orders for security for costs are available and routinely granted in the event a claimant is not domiciled in or does not carry on business in Thailand or there is good reason to suspect any claimant will seek to evade payment of costs in the event of losing a claim.

Are offers of compromise or settlement protected in Thai proceedings?
There is no formal concept of ‘without prejudice’ communications in Thai proceedings and parties to disputes need to exercise particular caution when communicating anything in writing with the opposing party. It is suggested that legal counsel is retained before any communication relating to a dispute takes place.
Are there formal disclosure procedures in Thai proceedings?
There are no provisions for formal disclosure or discovery procedures in Thai proceedings. Parties to a dispute simply file a list of witnesses and the documents upon which they will rely and a copy of those documents seven days before the commencement of trial. In circumstances where a party knows of the existence of specific documents, it is possible for that party to apply to the court to obtain a subpoena for the production of those documents from the other party or a third party.
Are there provisions for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Thailand?

Arbitration procedures are well-defined in Thai law and Thai courts will enforce legitimate domestic arbitration awards. Foreign arbitration awards will be enforced by the Thai courts providing they satisfy the requirements of the relevant conventions.

ADR is a significant topic in its own right and will be discussed more fully in a separate Q&A.

Are there prescription periods for claims in Thai law?
There are prescription periods (statute of limitation periods) and these will affect the time within which a claim is capable of being filed. Failure to comply with the relevant period of prescription will usually result in a claim being barred. Prescription periods vary significantly according to the type of claim being made and we can advise you on these.
What are the court fees for a civil claim in a Thai court?
Fees vary based on the value of the claim and the court in which the matter is being heard, but generally do not exceed 200,000 THB. We can advise you on the precise level of fees required.
Will I be able to recover the costs of litigation?
Costs generally ‘follow the event’ in Thai litigation which in practical terms means the loser pays the costs of the winner. However, in contrast to many western jurisdictions, Thai courts, following statutory guidelines, do not make significant awards for costs for legal fees and in practice it is likely that only a fraction of the actual costs will be recovered.
Is an asset investigation necessary before commencing proceedings?
It is always good practice to investigate the extent and location of a defendant’s assets before issuing proceedings. A judgment and final order are of little value in the event a defendant has limited or no recoverable assets. We can assist with asset investigation.
Is a Power of Attorney (PoA) necessary for your firm to conduct litigation proceedings?

Thai courts require a properly drafted and executed PoA in order for a Thai lawyer to act on behalf of any party. Its absence will almost certainly lead to the rejection of any claim or other matter and the challenge of improperly drafted or executed PoAs is frequently a tactic of opposing parties in Thai proceedings.

The proper draft and execution of the document will depend upon the court and where the claimant or defendant is located. If a claimant or defendant resides outside the jurisdiction, the document will generally need to be notarised and additionally authenticated by a local Thai Embassy or Consulate. This can often be a lengthy and time-consuming process, particularly if the claimant or defendant is a company. Good planning is therefore essential, especially if a claim or matter is time sensitive. We can advise and guide you throughout this whole process.

Can assets outside Thailand be executed against using a Thai judgment and final order?
Thailand is not a signatory to any reciprocal enforcement agreements and it would be necessary to issue separate proceedings in the relevant jurisdiction. We may be able to help you with this, particularly if proceedings need to be issued in the UK.
Can you help with the enforcement of a foreign judgment and final order in Thailand?
For the reasons discussed above, it would be necessary to issue a new claim in the Thai court. A foreign judgment can however be used as compelling evidence in any new claim. We can assist in this.
Can you help with inter-jurisdictional claims against a Thai defendant or a defendant domiciled in Thailand?

We have significant experience in the conduct of high value cross-border disputes and dealing with the challenges of complex multi-jurisdictional issues.

Equally, if you are based in Thailand and are facing a high value claim in a foreign jurisdiction, we may be able to help you with this, particularly if the claim is in the UK.

Can you help with the service of foreign issued proceedings on a defendant in Thailand?
The service of foreign proceedings can be a complex issue and is partly contingent upon the rules of service in the relevant foreign jurisdiction. Please contact us if you need help with the service of proceedings issued outside Thailand.
Can you provide formal expert advice to legal professionals in foreign jurisdictions?
We have been regularly providing formal expert advice on matters of Thai law to foreign legal professionals for many years and are very familiar with the requirements and standards on the provision of expert advice in several major jurisdictions. Any advice provided will be of appropriate quality and commensurate with those requirements.
Can you help with matters involving Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?
Our dispute resolution practice contains experts with a proven track record and years of practical experience in ADR, particularly with respect to the conduct of high value commercial arbitration proceedings.
Can your firm be engaged in relation to a civil or commercial litigation matter on the basis of a Conditional Fee Arrangement (CFA)?
In accordance with Supreme Court guidelines, we do not generally conduct work on the basis of purely conditional fee arrangements. We may be able to conduct work on a ‘mixed’ CFA basis, or find other appropriate funding solutions providing we are satisfied that such arrangements are not likely to be considered in any way unethical.
Can you arrange insurance in Thailand for the legal costs of a claim?
Litigation insurance, including After the Event (ATE) insurance, is practically impossible to obtain in Thailand and, given the local statutory guidelines on the award of legal costs, it is unlikely to be obtained from a provider based in any foreign jurisdiction in relation to proceedings conducted in Thailand.
Can your firm be engaged on a fixed or capped fee basis in relation to a civil litigation matter?

If the matter is reasonably straightforward, we can generally arrange to conduct the work on a fixed or capped fee basis.

If the matter is complex, particularly urgent, high value, likely to be especially time-consuming or will necessitate the significant involvement of a foreign consultant (or you would prefer the overall conduct of the matter to be dealt with by a foreign consultant), it is likely that it will need to be dealt with on an hourly rate basis. If the matter involves multiple jurisdictions, it is also likely that a foreign consultant will need to be involved.

Please contact the LAFS dispute resolution practice at  if you need any further information or assistance with litigation or dispute resolution.

This website uses cookies to improve its efficiency and for your best browsing experience. Read more about our Cookies Policy as well as our Privacy Policy. You can manage your cookies privacy setting by clicking the Setting button." Privacy Policy and Cookies Policy
Compare product
Remove all
Powered By MakeWebEasy Logo MakeWebEasy