Commercial Litigation is any legal manner of resolving controversies between individuals or entities involved in commercial relationships. It covers a broad plethora of subjects, some of which include contract disputes, debt collections, corporation and partnership controversies, consumer fraud, insurance claims, and intellectual property contests.
Often, courts in Thailand will encourage a peaceful settlement to the dispute by employing Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) like Arbitration or Conciliation. In fact, there are two main institutions in Thailand which deals with commercial arbitration: the Thai Arbitration Institute (TAI) and the Thai Commercial Arbitration Committee of the Board of Trade.
However, when parties are unable to resolve controversies through the said methods, the injured party goes to court and proceeds to file a lawsuit for the adjudication on the involved issues.
As the number foreign investors and international commercial transactions have increased over the years, the number of Commercial litigation has likewise escalated. As a result of this, lawyers in Thailand are often confronted with the question on whether or not foreign entities may file a commercial lawsuit in Thailand, or if foreign judgements on commercial controversies can be enforced in the country.
The filing of a commercial lawsuit in Thailand is available to the injured party or entity if the cause of action arose in Thailand, or if the subject matter of the dispute is within the jurisdiction of the Kingdom. The foreign plaintiff need not appear personally in Thailand, but may provide his lawyer in Thailand a Power of Attorney for the purpose.
While your lawyer in Thailand may start the legal process or arbitrate on the foreigner's behalf, the foreign plaintiff must still prove his legal status and personality. The foreign party or entity is required to furnish a multitude of documents to show proper authorization. In addition, all of the documents must be notarized by a notary public as well as legalized by the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate in the plaintiff's country.
Also, in the course of the hearings, the Thai courts still require the foreign party to appear and to give his testimony against the respondent.
It is important that foreign litigants are represented by Thai lawyers in cases brought before Thai tribunals. This is because the entire proceedings are conducted in the local tongue. While some Arbitral proceedings now allow foreign lawyers to appear for their clients, much of the proceedings are still conducted in Thai. Likewise, all documents submitted before the courts have to be translated to Thai in order to be admitted to court.
The best option when filing commercial cases is to be assisted by a Thai lawyer who can deliver himself well in both English in Thai, and has extensive experience in commercial litigation.