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Posts Tagged ‘Thai Tourist Court’

19th September 2013

Recent reports indicate that Thailand is preparing to launch court proceedings at the Suvarnabhumi airport. On September 17th 2013, the Airports of Thailand PLC (AOT) approved a proposal to establish a court at the aforementioned airport. It appears that the airport court will be a division of the provincial court for Samut Prakan. The court is to be tasked with adjudicating cases involving infractions against foreign nationals. As of the time of this writing, the new court is supposedly scheduled to commence proceedings on Monday September 23, 2013.

Officials with the AOT have reported that within the past year there have been almost 2,000 crimes reportedly committed at the Suvarnabhumi airport. Although most such allegations involved mere petty crime. The establishment of the “airport court” is apparently an attempt to bolster the image of Thailand as a safe and tourist-friendly destination which takes crimes committed against foreign nationals seriously. Apparently, it may be possible for foreign nationals to schedule their cases with an eye toward maintaining their departure schedule from Thailand. Furthermore, any legal grievance which may arise at the airport could be dealt with at the airport court.

In a recent posting on this blog it was pointed out that Thai authorities had approved the commencement of proceedings at a recently established Tourist Court in the resort town of Pattaya. It was further pointed out that six more similar courts were scheduled to commence proceedings in the coming months. It would appear that the establishment of an airport court is in line with what appears to be an overarching Thai policy designed to provide new venues for tourists who have grievances in the Kingdom. That being stated, it currently appears that the airport court is modeled after traditional Thai courts while the tourist courts are more akin to arbitration venues. Those monitoring the justice system in Thailand are likely to be interested in the effectiveness of the new tourist court as well as the new airport court since no similar tribunals have ever existed in Thailand.

As in the case of the recently established tourist court, the airport court at Suvarnabhumi is to be the first court of its type to be established in Thailand. Thai officials have explained that there are plans to establish another two airport courts at Don Mueng (another airport in Bangkok) and at the international airport in Phuket, Thailand. Hopefully these new venues will provide an efficient and convenient avenue for tourists in Thailand to seek redress of grievances.

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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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