Court fees are the fees charged by the Court when filing complaints or applications filed or applied by the person whose rights and duties under the civil law are challenged. The fees differ depending on the subject matter of the claim.
In cases where the claim is based on a calculable monetary value, the court fee for an amount not exceeding fifty million baht is THB 2 per one hundred baht of the amount in dispute, but not exceeding two hundred thousand baht. For the amount exceeding fifty million baht, the court fee is THB 0.1 per hundred baht of the amount claimed.
On the other hand, regarding non-monetary claims, for example, it is the case of a claim to compel the defendant to take certain actions or to refrain from taking certain actions for the benefit of the plaintiff without any claim or demand for a sum of money or certain property. In cases of non-pecuniary claim, the plaintiff will be charged at the rate of THB 200 per case. The fee for the case where the relief sought is partly calculable in monetary terms and partly non-calculable shall be at the same rate as that applied for cases where the claim has a calculable monetary value but not less than THB 200.
If the Court is of the opinion that the applicant does not have sufficient assets to pay the court fees, or if the applicant’s circumstances would cause undue hardship if an application for exemption from court fees is denied, the Court may make an order for full or partial exemption from court fees. Where the plaintiff is the complainant or applicant, the reasonable registration of a complaint or appeal is also considered by the Court before making an order.
Petty cases are small cases that meet the following criteria:
|➤ Cases where the amount of money sought or the amount of money in dispute does not exceed THB 300,000 or does not exceed the amount prescribed by the Royal Decree|
|➤ Cases of eviction of any person from any premises or house or land having a rent, or capable of being rented at the time of filing the complaint not exceeding THB 30,000 or not exceeding the amount prescribed by the Royal Decree|
A small case is subject to the same court fees as ordinary civil cases, but the total amount of such fees shall not exceed THB 1,000. The plaintiff may file a small case with the Court either by filing a written complaint or by appearing in person to state his or her claims orally before the Court. If the plaintiff appears before the Court to state his or her claims orally, the Court shall prepare a detailed memorandum of those claims.
Upon acceptance of the case, the Court shall promptly set a hearing date and issue a summons setting forth the issues in the case. This summons shall include a statement requesting the defendant to appear before the Court on that date to reconcile, answer and take evidence, and the Court shall order the plaintiff to appear on that date. If the defendant fails to respond, the Court may, in its discretion, proceed to judgment on the case, at which time the defendant shall be deemed to be in default of response.
On the date set for the hearing, the Court shall proceed, in the presence of the plaintiff and defendant, to the first conciliation of the parties. During the hearing, the Court may call a witness for the hearing itself. The Court shall first question this witness and the parties or their lawyers may question him further. In taking the minutes of the witness’ testimony, the Court may record it summarily.
Criminal procedure refers to all the rules that organize the procedure for finding the perpetrators of an offence and punishing them. The application of criminal law is in fact subject to very strict procedural rules, defined in the Code of Criminal Procedure. Criminal procedure defines the different phases or stages of the procedure from the filing of a complaint to the trial. It is possible to distinguish three main successive stages: the filing of a complaint, the investigation and the trial. From a legal point of view, criminal proceedings involve two parties: the public prosecutor, i.e. the public prosecutor or the public defender. The public prosecutor is responsible for defending the interests of society and brings the charge. The alleged offender. This person is called the “accused” in the case of a misdemeanor or infraction, and the “defendant” in the case of a crime.
According to the Courts of Justice Act, BE 2543 (2000), the Criminal Court has jurisdiction ratione materiae over all criminal offenses committed or alleged to have been committed within its territory. With criminal cases concentrated in Thailand, the prosecution process is the responsibility of several government organizations: the Royal Thai Police, the Attorney General’s Office, the courts of justice and the Ministry of Justice. Almost all criminal cases are filed by the state, the prosecution, or a person or organization that violates the criminal law.
The reason why the prosecution and not the injured private person or the victim prosecutes the perpetrator, is that the crimes are considered as breaches of peace and order in society. The victim is considered only as a witness for the state to prove the guilt of the criminal. This lengthy process begins with the victim’s obligation to obtain a report of the criminal incident from the police. The police then proceed to investigate the alleged crime and forward the results of the investigation to the prosecutor’s office.
The court with territorial jurisdiction to hear a criminal case is the court in the place where the offense was committed, is alleged to have been committed or is supposed to have been committed, or where an accused resides or is arrested, or where an investigating officer conducts an investigation, has jurisdiction over the cases. The courts have jurisdiction in the district where the offense was committed, alleged or supposed to have been committed, or where the accused resides or is arrested, or where an official investigation is being conducted.
Only the following persons are entitled to initiate criminal proceedings in a court of law, i.e. the prosecution or the victim.
After hearing witnesses for the prosecution and the defense, the court renders its judgment. Since the victim of the crime is also affected by the perpetrator and the huge number of reports, the Criminal Procedure Code allows the victim of the crime, a private citizen, to hire lawyers to file the criminal case directly to the court, instead of reporting it to the police. In the Thai judicial system, only judges decide criminal cases; the jury system does not apply in this country.
The charge is brought before any court of competent jurisdiction and the indictment must contain the following information:
|➤ 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|
The Thai criminal justice system recognizes the right of the victim to be compensated by the perpetrator. According to Section 43 of the Criminal Procedure Code, public prosecutors – only in cases of theft, snatching, robbery, piracy, extortion, cheating and fraud, criminal embezzlement and receiving stolen goods – can seek restitution on behalf of victims. In 2005, the Criminal Procedure Code was amended; Article 44/1 gives the prosecutor the right to seek compensation for loss of life, bodily or mental injury, injury to the person, damage to reputation or property damage from the perpetrators of the crime on behalf of the victims of the crime or injured persons. Prior to this amendment, victims of crime had to file complaints with the civil court to obtain such compensation at their own expense; therefore, many of them were not entitled to assert their rights.
In recent years, the length of a court case in Thailand has been difficult to predict. However, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has introduced a continuous trial method to facilitate trial proceedings. In this regard, at the problem-solving conference, the Court, depending on the availability of judges and parties, will endeavor to schedule consecutive court dates for the presentation of both parties’ cases to create a continuous trial. Typically, one or two witnesses will be presented on each day of the trial. In a reasonably simple case, judgment will be rendered within two months of the last court date.
There are two courts of appeal in Thailand: the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. Judgments rendered by a court of first instance may be appealed to the Court of Appeals on sufficient grounds, provided that, where the appeal is on a question of fact, the claim exceeds THB 50,000. Although new evidence is not normally heard, an appeal may take from one to three years to be finalized. There is a final appeal to the Supreme Court, provided that when the appeal is on a question of fact, the claim on appeal exceeds THB 200,000. There is no limit to appeals based on questions of law.
The filing of an appeal does not suspend the execution of a judgment of the lower court, unless the Court decides otherwise. Any judgment or order on appeal shall have effect only as to the parties involved in the appeal, unless the judgment requires the inclusion of other parties or unless it concerns the status or capacity of a person, the enforcement of the dissolution of a legal entity, bankruptcy orders or the granting of a judgment determining the right to or ownership of property in favour of a party.
Once the judgment is rendered, it is necessary to ensure that the judgments are enforced.
A judgment can be enforced at any time within ten years of its issuance. To enforce a judgment, the creditor may file an ex parte application with the Court to request enforcement. Upon presentation of the required documents, the court may order enforcement by seizure and auction of the judgment debtor’s property and assets, and by seizure of the judgment debtor’s claims against third parties.
Thai law does not specifically provide for the direct enforcement or recognition of a foreign judgment in Thailand. Indeed, Thailand is not a party to any treaty or agreement under which a foreign judgment can be recognized and enforced in Thailand. Therefore, a new trial on the merits must be initiated in Thailand. However, foreign judgments and documentary evidence produced in foreign court proceedings, including settlement negotiations, may be admissible as evidence in Thailand.
Themis Partner assists and represents you in all your disputes. Do not hesitate to contact us for information on the procedure before the Thai courts.