Validity of Marriage Under Thai Family Law
According to Section 1495 of the Thai Civil and Commercial Code, any marriage that violates the conditions of marriage causes a marriage to be invalid. However, the Code provides that only a court judgment may determine a marriage to be invalid. Sections 1496, 1497. Therefore, an important issue that must be addressed concerns legal standing.
In other words, who has the right to petition a court to invalidate a marriage? In regards to a marriage that is void because one of the spouses is already married to another person, Section 1497 provides that “any interested person” may petition a court to invalidate the marriage. Therefore, who is an “interested person”? In 1999, the Thai Supreme Court Youth and Family Division announced a principle of law contradictory to that in the English case of Miles v.Chilton (1849) 1 Rob.Ecc.684, which held that a person who registers a marriage, while already married, has standing to petition for a court order invalidating the second marriage.
In Decision No. 3279/2542, the Thai Supreme Court held that a person who, in bad-faith, registers a marriage, while already married, does not count as an “interested person” for the purposes of Section 1497. This ruling alters the plain meaning of Section 1497, which does not contain any requirement of good-faith.
Furthermore, the Court held that an illegitimate child of a man who registers two marriages, even if the child is later registered as a legitimate child, does not have standing under Section 1497. The illegitimate child only has the right to inherit from her parents.
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