In Thailand, criminal litigation can be complicated. However, a knowledgeable local attorney will ensure that the process goes smoothly and that clients are aware of what to expect at each stage.
Thailand has thousands of organic laws and regulations, including the Constitution, the Criminal Code, and numerous other acts. There are 96 First Instance Courts in Bangkok, seven Kweang courts covering both civil and criminal cases, and 29 Provincial Courts.
Cases Filed in the Criminal Court
A criminal case in Thailand is started by a public prosecutor and is based on an accusation against a person. As in most other countries, you are presumed innocent until the court proves you guilty. The criminal system in Thailand is largely statute-based, which means that judges have a lot of power and do not usually have to consider case law in their decisions.
There are 96 provincial courts that cover both civil and criminal cases, as well as seven Kweang courts (with limited jurisdiction). In addition to the specialized courts, there is also the Court of Appeals, as well as the Supreme court which has appellate jurisdiction for both criminal and civil appeals.
As with all legal proceedings, choosing the right lawyer is an important decision for anyone who faces criminal charges in Thailand. A knowledgeable, experienced attorney can prevent surprises by keeping clients informed of the process and what to expect at every step.
As a result of the above, it is essential for anyone who believes they are being investigated or charged with a crime in Thailand to secure an attorney who understands the local system and comes highly recommended by Global Affairs Canada. In addition to ensuring that the process is carried out properly and in accordance with the local laws, your attorney can ensure that your rights are protected at all stages.
Cases Filed in the Civil Court
The Kingdom of Thailand practices a civil law system which is based on the body of laws established by a country. This type of law is interpreted on a case-by-case basis by the courts and it does not involve trial by jury. The courts are inquisitorial and they use professional judges to rule on cases involving facts and points of law.
Civil cases in Thailand are filed at the court where the cause of action arises or where the defendant is domiciled. For example, if you breach a contract with a Thai business partner, you would file the case at the court where the dispute occurred or where you are domiciled in the country.
Civil court proceedings are conducted in the Thai language and foreigners can find it challenging to participate. This is why it’s critical to have an experienced lawyer in the country where your case is pending. In addition, the criminal justice system in Thailand is complex and Global Affairs Canada cannot protect you from local legal consequences for breaking the country’s laws. Therefore, it is important to understand the judicial system in the country where you are working or staying so that you are not unwittingly breaking the law. This includes understanding the process of a case, as well as the responsibilities and rights of parties in a court proceeding.
Cases Filed in the Administrative Court
The Administrative Court is a branch of the national judiciary, focusing on grievance cases against government agencies. The Supreme Administrative Court and the Central Administrative Court were first established in 2001, following the constitution’s provisions on an independent judicial body to adjudicate administrative matters.
The court system in Thailand consists of three levels: Courts of First Instance, Courts of Appeal, and the Supreme (Dika) Court. All cases must start with the Court of First Instance, and a judgment from this court can be appealed to the Court of Appeal within one month. Appeals from the Court of Appeal may be further appealed to the Supreme (Dika) Court, if necessary.
As in many other jurisdictions, the burden of proof in criminal cases in Thailand is beyond a reasonable doubt, meaning that a defendant must prove his or her guilt to a higher degree than what would be expected of an ordinary person, considering all the facts of the case. In deciding the verdict, judges take into account the testimony of witnesses and submissions made by parties involved in the case.
It is important for a plaintiff or defendant to have a criminal lawyer in Thailand that understands and speaks their language well, since communication issues can lead to misinterpretations and adversely impact the case outcome. In addition, it is crucial for a lawyer to be familiar with the litigation process and to know what to expect at each stage of the case.