Civil actions are lawsuits brought before courts whereby one party sues another for the enforcement or protection of a right, or the prevention or redress of a wrong.
Civil cases commonly involve property and commercial disputes, personal disputes, employment actions, divorces, torts (known as‘wrongful acts’ in Thai law), and the recovery of debts.
While many disputes may be settled amicably, the injured party, called the "Plaintiff" may eventually have no option but to apply to the court for resolution after determining the matter can not be resolved without judicial intervention. The Plaintiff, through his or her lawyer, must file a complaint in writing with the appropriate Court of First Instance, clearly setting out the nature of the claim, the relief sought and the allegations upon which the claim is based. The party against whom the case is filed is called the "Defendant".
Several important initial factors are taken into account in the filing of a civil lawsuit. These include the merits of the claim, any relevant limitation period(s), the proper designation of the case, the jurisdiction of the court and the identification of the relevant parties. Failure to properly determine any such factors can lead to serious adverse consequences like summary judgment or the striking out of the claim.
Personal injury, breach of contract, debt collection and medical malpractice are among the most common of civil lawsuits filed in Thailand. When a case is filed in the Thai court, the tribunal will initially encourage the parties to settle through a process of court supervised mediation. A preliminary hearing will be set not only for the identification of the issues in dispute, but also to facilitate any possible compromise. In some cases, courts may temporarily adjourn a case if parties indicate they are willing to settle, but may also set in motion a continuous trial on the merits should it determine that a compromise is not likely to be achieved.
All court proceedings are required to be conducted in the Thai language, except in some special courts. Documents produced in a foreign language must be translated into Thai and only original documents are admissible in evidence, with some limited exceptions. A preponderance of evidence (also known as ‘the balance of probabilities’) is enough to satisfactorily prove a claim in a civil suit.
Until a final adjudication of the case is reached by the court, an experienced Thai lawyer's participation is critical. Not only because the court proceedings are conducted in Thai, but because there are also remedies and practices which are particular to the Thai judicial system. Your lawyer should be able to expertly guide you through the entire process, not only until judgement in the Court of First Instance, but potentially through the various stages of appeal with the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
If you are in need of help with a civil litigation matter, please call us or leave a message and we will contact you as soon as possible.
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