Legal System

The Thai legal system is a civil law system. Many of its fundamental legal principles (in areas such as contracts, property, wrongful acts, i.e. tort law, hire of property, hire-purchase, suretyship, mortgage, pledge, warehousing, agency, bills of exchange and partnerships) have their origins in the codified systems of continental Europe (particularly France and Germany), as well as common law countries (including English law) and traditional Thai law.

Thailand does not recognise the common law principle of binding judicial precedent. However, certain persuasive decisions of the Supreme Court are published in the Supreme Court Law Reports.

The principal law of Thailand is the Constitution. This is supplemented by Acts of the Thai Legislature; Royal Decrees; Emergency Decrees; Ministerial Regulations; Ministerial Notifications; other governmental notifications and local government regulations. The major Codes are the Civil and Commercial; Penal; Civil Procedure; Criminal Procedure; Revenue and Land Code.

In accordance with principles set-out in the Act on Conflict of Laws, foreign law may serve as the law governing the case. It must, however, be proved to the satisfaction of the Court that the foreign law is not contrary to public order or good morals; otherwise the Court will apply Thai law.

The Thai system of jurisprudence is dualistic.

The fact that Thailand has entered into a treaty or convention with a foreign country does not automatically give the provisions of such treaty or convention the force of law within Thailand. Treaties are not law within Thailand until they are made law by legislative enactment, such as an Act, Royal Decree or Ministerial Regulation.


What is arbitration in Thailand?

It is a way of voluntary settling dispute(s) between parties who agree to submit such dispute(s) for resolution by one or more Arbitrators. Arbitration is a simple, speedy, and alternative to court action. It is intended to avoid the formalities, the delay, and the anxieties of court litigation.

The Arbitration Act of 2002 and the Thai Civil Procedure Code govern out of court arbitration and once an arbitration award is rendered it is enforceable by a Thai court. Foreign arbitration awards are also enforceable under the Act, provided the conditions of the relevant Conventions are met.

Thailand has these types of arbitration.

  • Domestic arbitration
  • International arbitration
  • International commercial arbitration
  • Ad-hoc Arbitration
  • Fast track Arbitration
  • Institutional Arbitration

Advantages and disadvantages of arbitration should be carefully discussed before you decide. Often an attorney will recommend arbitration to a client as the best means to resolve a dispute, but it is better to think twice and discuss the implications of advantages and disadvantages with a lawyer.

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