Trade Disputes in Thailand

Overview by
Lawsuits must always be filed in courts of first instance. Courts of first instance can be courts of general jurisdiction or courts of special jurisdiction depending on the nature of the claim and the parties involved. For example, international claims involving goods and services or intellectual property matters should be submitted to the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court (IP&IT Court). Domestic claims involving goods and services should, in contrast, be submitted to civil courts of general jurisdiction. Examples of courts of general jurisdiction are kwaeng courts, to which claims for damages of Baht 200,000 or less must be submitted, and provincial courts in Thailand's 76 provinces. Examples of courts of special jurisdiction are the Labor Court, the Tax Court, the Bankruptcy Court, the IP&IT Court, and the Juvenile and Family courts. The statutes that deal with arbitration of dispute are The Civil and Commercial Code, Section 850-852 and the Civil Procedure Code, Section 138, for conciliation and compromising agreements, the Arbitration Act B.E. 2530 (1987) for extra-judicial arbitration; and The Civil Procedure Code, Sections 210-222, for interlocutory arbitration.
Arbitration Law
The Arbitration Act of 1987 expressly states that the action for enforcement of arbitral award (by way of a confirmed judgment) must be initiated in a Thai court within one year from the date the award was sent to the parties by the arbitrators. The Act also states clearly the preconditions for enforcement as well as the reservations made by Thailand under both the Geneva and New York conventions. For instance, the court may refuse recognition if the subject matter of the dispute is not resolvable by arbitration or the recognition would be contrary to public policy or the good morals of Thailand. In addition, it must be legally valid and final in the country where the arbitration was held and at least one of the parties to the dispute must be a subject of one of the member countries of these conventions.
Conformity to International Commercial Arbitration Rules
Party to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.
Party to the Geneva Protocol on Arbitration Clauses.
Party to the Geneva Convention of the Execution of Foreign Arbitral Awards.
Appointment of Arbitrators
Thai courts will compel arbitration if a written agreement to arbitrate exists between the parties. Interlocutory arbitration may be sanctioned by the courts upon the written request from the litigants concerned, if the court’s view is that expeditions and fair resolutions of the cases can be achieved by arbitration. Such a request may be made at any time during the trial, but must be submitted before the final judgment. An arbitrator will be appointed pursuant to the agreement of the litigants. Failing such an agreement, the court may appoint any arbitrator as it deems appropriate.
Arbitration Procedure
Before giving an award, the arbitrators are required to hear all the parties and may make enquiries as they deem appropriate. In the absence of a written agreement of the parties concerned or an order of the court, the arbitrators are also empowered to define issues or disputes and to adopt their own rules and procedures for hearings. The parties may present evidence and examine or cross-examine witnesses during the arbitration proceedings. Arbitrators’ fees may be fixed by agreement of the parties or by the courts. Witnesses’ fees may be fixed by the arbitrators, taking into consideration the “going rates”, which are generally approved by the courts.
Permanent Arbitration Bodies
Arbitration Tribunal of the Board of Trade  of The Thai Chamber of Commerce (Sectors Covered: All)

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