Legal Services in Thailand

Siam Attorney International is the wide rank of legal services in Thailand. First of all, we would like to express to make you understand how Thailand’s legal system look like. The legal system of Thailand is a civil law system, it is not like the western law system and unlike any other law system in the world, that law system is based on codes, as opposed to a common law or case law system. The interpretation and application of laws by the Supreme Court of Thailand does not constitute precedent for other courts to follow; it is, however, very influential. Therefore, in practice intensive research into the decisions of the Supreme Court concerning particular issues is often necessary.

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Proceeding in court is not always the best commercial solution as there are no jury trials in Thailand. A single judge decides trials for misdemeanors; two or more judges were required for more serious cases. The constitution provides for the presumption of innocence, and criminal detainees are guaranteed access to legal counsel. We actively promote alternative dispute resolution processes including mediation, conciliation and arbitration, and have achieved exceptional results for our clients using these strategies. Where litigation is unavoidable, we are experienced in running large and complex litigation matters, and will swiftly and rigorously pursue it. Where a court or tribunal hearing is required, we actively manage the litigation process and other legal services in Thailand with a view to reducing the size, complexity and cost of the hearing, without compromising our client’s interests.

Table of Contents:

1. History of Thailand’s Law
2. The Structure of Thai Government
3. The Thailand Court System
4. The Balance of Powers
5. The Pride of Thailand’s Legal Service
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1. History of Thailand’s Law

To understand how the law of Thailand works you must first know and have at least a little background of the History of Thai Law. Siam Attorney has summarized the History of Thai Law. Thailand was known as Siam until 1939. The name Thailand literally means “Land of the Free.” It is also affectionately referred to as the “Land of Smiles.” It is the only Southeast Asian country that was never colonized by the European Power. On June 24, 1932, the “People’s Party” (Khana Raat), led a bloodless revolution that transformed the country from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. The king is regarded as the head of the state and Thailand has a checks and balance system similar to the Western Country.

The ancient origins of Thai Law were based on the Hindu code of Manu. During the Sukhothai period (1238–1350 AD), there was no system of Justice since the King was “the Fountain of Justice” who alone settled disputes between the people.

During the Ayutthaya Period (1351–1767 AD), The first semblance of a legal system emerged. The law code was the Royal Stone Inscription which was formulated from a set of rules derived from the Kings’ decisions in the Court of Law. Although the law code allowed for people to be represented in court for civil and criminal matters, the lawyer’s work was limited. He could not be involved in the examination of witnesses before the court and was mainly concerned with writing plaints and filing them before the court.

When Thailand was invaded by Burma in 1767, collections of law were partially destroyed. King Rama I ordered to have all laws rectified and written into law books called “the Law of the three Great Seals” which remained in force for the next 103 years. Despite this development, the role of the lawyer remained static and constricted. This could be attributed to simple way of life of the society where majority did not resort to the law to settle their disputes.

2. The Structure of the Thai Government

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand is a very complex constitution. Over the years, Thailand has suffered political instability and numerous coups. After a successful coup, the military regime often abrogates the existing constitution and promulgates new laws. The constitution of Thailand has been changes and modified many times to make it reflect the changes in society. However, all the constitutions include the same important element, that the king is the head of the constitutional monarchy.

The Constitutional Day falls on December 10 and is a national holiday. On that day in 1932, King Rama VII relinquished his absolute powers and the first permanent constitution of the kingdom was established.

The current system of Thailand is constitutional monarchy. The Prime Minister acts as the leader of the government while the King or a hereditary monarch performs as chief of the state. Thailand comprises of the Judiciary, Executive and Legislative branches.

The King and the Prime Minister cover the Executive Branch. Based on the constitution, the King has direct authority nevertheless he remains as a figure of national identity and unity. Thailand has been under the rule of kings for centuries. King Bhumibol, the current King of Thailand, has gained significant respect and moral influence of the public as well as his political counterparts. On the other hand, the Prime Minister is the head of the government. Under the constitution, the Prime Minister should be a Member of Parliament.

The bicameral Thai administration is known as the National Assembly or informally called the Parliament, based on the 2007 Constitution. The Legislative branch has 2 bodies: The House of Representatives; and Senate. The House of Representatives has 480 seats, 400 members are chosen through electorate voting and the 80 members from the so-called “proportional representation” or parallel voting (Mixed Member Majoritarian. Both members serve a 4-year term. The Senate is represented by 150 seats – 76 members are elected, one for every province and the 74 are chosen through nomination by the Senates Selection Committee. Senators are in service for 6 years.

The Judicial Branch makes up of judges selected by the monarch. Every court in Thailand is under the Thai Ministry of Justice. An autonomous Constitutional Court also exists in Thailand. The Court of Appeals is divided into districts with 3 judges for each court.

3. The Thai Court System

The courts of Thailand are split into four distinctive courts which functions differently, the four courts are:
1. The Constitutional Court – with jurisdiction over the constitutionality of parliamentary acts, royal decrees, draft legislation, as well as the appointment and removal of public officials and issues regarding political parties.
2. The Administrative Courts – is the principle agency of the country having competence to try and adjudicate “administrative cases”. Administrative cases refer to disputes between a private individual and an administrative agency or a State official, or to a dispute between an administrative agency and a State official themselves.
3. The Military Courts – are judicial bodies with criminal jurisdiction over members of the Royal Thai Armed Forces and sometimes also over civilians as may be assigned by law. Military courts are subject to the Ministry of Defense and are operated by the military’s Judge Advocate General’s Department.
4. The Courts of Justice – have the power to try and adjudicate all cases except those specified by the Constitution or by law to be within the jurisdiction of other courts. The Courts of Justice comprise three levels, the Courts of First Instance, the Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Justice.

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4. The Balance of Powers

Each of the three branches of government which are the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary has a degree of control over the actions of the other branches. The power of each branch of government to have authority to place limits upon actions of the other is known as the system of checks and balances.

The executive, the power of preparing the budget has a degree of control over the functions of the judicial courts such as the number of employees the courts may afford to pay. The executive branch also has control over legislation passed by the parliament, in that all bills must be submitted to the king through the prime minister, and if the prime minister is opposed to a particular bill, he can express those feelings to the king who may decline to approve it in the form in which it is submitted to him. The executive also exerts extensive control over the government as it is tasked with the execution and enforcement of those laws passed by the parliament and approved by the king.

The legislative branch can approve, amend, or reject proposed laws and it gives thorough review to the budget submitted to it by the executive branch. It can make changes to the budget within limitations specified in the Constitution. The courts have a degree of control over legislation approved by the parliament by interpreting the law and in the case of the Constitutional Court, in determining whether the law is consistent with the 2007 Constitution. Any law found to be inconsistent with the Constitution by the Constitutional Court is rendered ineffective and cannot be followed. The courts also review governmental actions and can require changes or reconsideration in appropriate cases, such as environmental reviews.

5. The Pride of Legal Services in Thailand.

Siam Attorney is one of the most renowned law firm in Thailand that provides reliable and cost-efficient legal services in Thailand. We can offer you a multi-lingual dispute resolution and litigation lawyers who work closely with the firm’s other practice groups providing a multi-disciplined approach to ensure that clients receive well-informed legal advice on how to proceed regardless of the underlying cause of the legal dispute or the industry involved.

Our Legal Service is known for its fast-paced action and efficiency, our Dispute Resolution and Litigation attorneys advise transactional colleagues on how clients can avoid or minimize the negative effects of potential legal claims and disputes in relation to their deals, and always take into account the circumstances as well as clients’ ultimate commercial objectives, strategy and budget. We also provide services for those who want to apply for Marriage Registration in Thailand, our team is passionate especially when it comes to processing marriage registrations as we know how excited couples are when it comes to Marriage. We can also help you in filing Divorce in Thailand. Our law firm is also noted for its wide arrays of legal services such as Prenuptial Agreement, Last Will and Estate matters, Trademark Registration in Thailand and Notary Public. 

Siam Attorney excels in providing quality Thai notary services. They have a number of lawyers who are qualified to do such jobs. Siam Attorney has notary public in Bangkok and also a notary public in Phuket so finding a notary public in Thailand does not require tremendous amount of effort in choosing the perfect Thai notary. We provide clear communication channels and present clients with the most appropriate solution for resolving the issue – be it mediation, adjudication or litigation.

For counseling, guidance and assistance regarding any dissolution and disputes please feel free to contact us at support@siam-attorney.com