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Learn more about Arbitration

Arbitration is provided for by the inclusion of an arbitration clause in a contract or the drafting of a separate agreement by which the parties agree to submit their dispute to an arbitral tribunal in the event of a future dispute. Arbitration in Thailand is governed by the Arbitration Act B. E 2545 and Sections 210-222 of the Civil Procedure Code B. E 2477. E 2545 as well as Sections 210 to 222 of the Civil Procedure Code B. E 2477. In addition, Thailand is a signatory to several international treaties on arbitration. These include the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention), the Geneva Convention on the Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (Geneva Convention) and the Geneva Protocol on Arbitration Clauses (Geneva Protocol).

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The main arbitration centers in Thailand

The Kingdom of Siam has three main arbitration centers that manage and administer arbitration proceedings. We can name:

1. The International Court of Arbitration (ICC)

By far the oldest institution, the International Court of Arbitration settles international commercial disputes governed by internal rules, which apply to all ICC proceedings worldwide.

2. The Thailand Arbitration Centre (THAC)

The Thailand Arbitration Centre is an alternative dispute resolution organisation, which provides arbitration and mediation services for cross-border disputes.

3. The Thai Arbitration Institute (TAI)

This institute was established in 1990 in Thailand to promote and develop arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism for civil and commercial disputes. TAI is the main forum where disputes arising from contracts between the state and private parties are arbitrated.

The application of arbitration

The Arbitration Law B.E. 2545 follows the UNCITRAL Law on International Commercial Arbitration. For your information, the Arbitration Law is divided into 8 chapters, as follows:

Chapter 1: Arbitration Agreement
Chapter 2: Arbitral Tribunal
Chapter 3: Jurisdiction of the Arbitral Tribunal
Chapter 4: Arbitral proceedings
Chapter 5: Award and termination of the proceedings
Chapter 6: Challenges to the Award
Chapter 7: Recognition and Enforcement of the Award
Chapter 8: Fees, Expenses and Remuneration

In short, the arbitral tribunal has jurisdiction to rule on its own jurisdiction (the principle of jurisdiction-competence), including the existence or validity of the arbitration agreement, the validity of the appointment of the arbitral tribunal, and the disputed issues within its authority. The tribunal’s jurisdiction may be raised at the latest on the date of the submission of the statement of defense. Where the arbitral tribunal exceeds the scope of its powers, this must be raised as soon as it occurs in the course of the arbitral proceedings.

Furthermore, the parties are free to agree on the place of arbitration. Failing such agreement, the place of arbitration shall be determined by the arbitral tribunal taking into account the circumstances of the case, including the convenience of the parties.

The arbitral tribunal shall decide the dispute in accordance with the applicable law chosen by the parties. In the absence of a designation by the parties, the arbitral tribunal shall decide the dispute in accordance with the laws of Thailand, except that in the event of a conflict of laws, the arbitral tribunal shall apply the law determined by the conflict of laws principle as it deems appropriate. In addition, the arbitral tribunal shall decide in accordance with the terms of the contract and shall take into account the trade usage applicable to the transaction.

With regard to the language of use, the parties are free to agree on the language or languages to be used in the arbitral proceedings. Failing such agreement, the arbitral tribunal shall determine the language or languages to be used in the proceedings. Such agreement or determination shall, unless otherwise specified, apply to any statement of claim, statement of defense, written statement of a party, hearing and any award, decision or other communication to the arbitral tribunal. Also, the arbitral tribunal may order that any documentary evidence be accompanied by a translation into one or more languages agreed upon by the parties or determined by the arbitral tribunal.

Procedure for the enforcement of a foreign award

As previously mentioned, Thailand is a member of the New York Convention. As such, this allows for the enforcement of arbitral awards made in Thailand between the member states of the New York Convention. The New York Convention also allows through the Arbitration Act B.E. 2545 for the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in Thailand and the enforcement of arbitral awards made in Thailand in the signatory member states.

➤ The name of the court and the date of the charge
➤ The names of the parties to the case and the alleged offense
➤ In the case of a public prosecution, the office of the prosecutor, or in the case of a private prosecution, the name, surname, age, nationality and protection of the private citizen
➤ The name, surname, residence, nationality and protection of the defendant
➤ Insofar as will enable the defendant to understand the charge, all acts alleged to have been committed, the facts and details of the times and places of such acts, and the persons or things involved. In the case of a defamatory offence, the words, writings, pictures or other matter relating to the offence shall be fully set forth or attached to the charge
➤ A reference to the part of the law prescribing that the act constitutes an offence
➤ The signature of the prosecutor and the person who prepares, writes or types the charge

Recent amendments to the Arbitration Act in Thailand

1. Representation of foreign lawyers

The Arbitration Act B. E 2545 did not allow the representation of foreign arbitrators and lawyers in arbitration proceedings. However, in 2019 the Arbitration Act was reformed by the Arbitration Act B. E 2562 allowing foreign arbitrators and lawyers to perform their duties in arbitration proceedings conducted in Thailand without having to obtain a work permit. This reform promotes Thailand as a place for international arbitration.

2. Accelerated procedure

The IAT has added rules for expedited procedures in arbitration proceedings. Now parties to a dispute can benefit from specific procedures to speed up the arbitration process and resolve disputes more quickly.

3. Arbitration trends in Thailand

It is important to note that Thailand, through the signing of the New York Convention and its reforms in arbitration procedure, aims to position itself as a leader in international arbitration in the Asia-Pacific region and in the world.

Indeed, with Thai arbitration proceedings now open to foreign lawyers and the possibility of expedited proceedings to facilitate the settlement of disputes between parties, Thailand is strengthening its position as an international arbitration forum.

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