Integrity Legal

4th September 2013

It would appear that the newly established tourist court is opening in Pattaya, Thailand today. This initiative was instigated due to a desire by Thai officials to provide foreign tourists with a forum to lodge complaints and seek redress of grievances. The new tourism court will be a “night court” as hearings will be held from 4:30pm until 8:30pm. Although the court appears to be prepared to hear some cases of a general nature (which involve tourists) it seems the court will primarily concern itself with cases involving consumer protection issues as well as tourist safety.

Of further interest to those who may have a case to bring before the Tourist Court is the announcement from Thai officials that such cases will likely be decided in the relatively quick period of one day as opposed to the customary 6 months usually required for traditional Thai courts to render a decision in a given adjudication. It appears that matters arising before the tourist court are likely to handled in much the same manner as arbitration proceeding since an emphasis will be placed upon negotiation rather than litigation. Cases of a more serious nature may be removed to the traditional Thai court system depending upon the issues involved.

It appears that Pattaya is not to be the only jurisdiction with a Court of this kind as it appears that there will be six additional Tourist Courts added to the system in the future. Thai officials intend to have these new Tourist Courts convened in the Silom area of Bangkok (with Pathum Wan District to be the venue) and the Khao San area of Bangkok (Dusit District). While Tourist Courts in Samui, Krabi, Phuket and Chiang Mai are expected to be convening soon as well. It should be interesting to see how decisions by these new Courts will be enforced since one of the parties to a given case may have returned to their homeland before the court has rendered a final decision. That stated, due to the fact that many of these Courts’ decisions are likely to be handed down in one day it stands to reason that many of the parties bringing cases will see resolution rather quickly.

This first Tourist Court in Pattaya is intended to act as a sort of a beta test for the Tourist Court system as a whole. As Thai officials, citizens, and foreign nationals get a glimpse of how these Courts will actually operate those experiences should be used to assist in making later established Courts more efficient. In recent years, Thailand’s government has implemented policies to discourage scams perpetrated against tourists as tourism is an important facet of the  Thai economy. The establishment of a Tourist Court appears to be logical extension of previously promulgated policies.


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