How do I file a complaint for a trade dispute?
In many cases, a complaint must be filed in writing with the Court of First Instance within the territorial jurisdiction of the defendant’s residence or of the location where the cause of action arose. However, in commercial cases with corporations or other legal entities that are registered or residing outside of Thailand, the proper court may be the court of International Trade and Intellectual Property based in Bangkok. The complaint must clearly indicate the nature of the plaintiff’s claims, the damages sought and the allegations founding such claims. If the plaintiff does not comply with the court order, the complaint will be rejected. A complaint may be submitted, whether or not the defendant is residing in Thailand.
What happens after my complaint has been received by the court?
Upon receiving the complaint, the court will issue a summons to answer together with a copy of the complaint to be served on the defendant at his residence or his business office. A defendant not residing in Thailand may be served at its domicile or business office outside Thailand.
Within seven days after filing the complaint, the plaintiff must file a motion requesting the court to arrange for the service to be made on the defendant. In the case where Thailand is not part of an international agreement, the plaintiff is required to arrange for a court summons, a copy of complaint, and other necessary documents to be translated into the official language of the country where the defendant is residing or where its business office is located. English may be used only if a certified translation is provided simultaneously.
Within 15 days upon the receipt of service, the defendant is required to file a written answer with the court, indicating whether he accepts or denies all or part of the plaintiff’s allegations, and his reasons for such denial.
Who is liable for the litigation expenses of a trade dispute?
In Thailand, the plaintiff is liable for the court fees (2.5 per cent of the claimed amount but not exceeding 200,000 Baht), payable at the time of filing the complaint. Generally, each party is responsible for paying his/her own attorney's fees. Although the losing party bears the costs of the lawsuit in most cases, the court does possess discretionary power to decide whether the winning party or each party shall bear its own costs.
How long is the litigation process for a trade dispute?
The time taken for a lawsuit to be resolved could range from a few months to years, depending on factors such as the number of parties involved, the complexity of the case, the lodging of any appeal action and the availability of the court. Initially, we recommend approaching the Defendant with a formal demand letter and in some instances, the Defendant may pay in order to avoid a costly and possibly, lengthy court battle.
What if I win my case but the Defendant still refuses to pay?
The Thailand Legal System provides for enforcement of judgments against assets, bank accounts and other forms of property.