Thailand: New Alternative Dispute Resolution Act
by Panisa Suwanmatajarn, Onnicha Khongthon and Jin Sukme
On 24 October 2018, the Cabinet approved a draft Alternative Dispute Resolution Act (“Draft Act”) which had been proposed by the Ministry of Justice. For the next stage, the Draft Act shall be submitted to the National Legislative Assembly for further consideration and approval before publishing in the Royal Gazette.
Presently, the conciliation procedures in Thailand can be conducted by only some state agencies depending on the types of dispute. For example, according to State Administrative Act B.E. 2534, the district office has its authority to reconcile any civil case in relation to heritage, land, and other disputes related to civil matters in which the disputed amount is below or equivalent to 200,000 THB. The public prosecutor, the other example, is eligible to reconcile the compoundable offences according to the Rules of Attorney General regarding Conciliation of Criminal Offences B.E. 2555. This Draft Act is for the purpose of enhancing authority of state agencies on conciliation procedures and reducing backlog on cases submitted to the Court. However, this Draft Act will not affect to the conciliation procedures which is carrying on before the Draft Act has been enforced.
The conciliation procedures under this Draft Act is the process for allowing both parties a chance to negotiate and conciliate either civil or criminal disputes peacefully without adjudication. However, the conciliation procedures in the court and execution proceedings are separated procedures from the one in this Draft Act. The types of dispute under this Draft Act which the state agencies have their authority to reconcile are (1) The civil disputes related to land’s matters, but not about land’s ownership, heritage properties, other civil cases which the dispute amount is equivalent to or not more than 5,000,000 THB and any other dispute specified in the Royal Decree issued in the future by the Cabinet. (2) The criminal disputes which are compoundable offences, petty offences according to Sections 390, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, 397 of the Criminal Code and petty offences specified in the Royal Decree issued in the future by the Cabinet.
Aside from the state agencies, ordinary people can also reconcile the disputes if they are listed and registered with the Rights and Liberties Protection Department. The disputes which can be resolved by the ordinary people are the disputes which the dispute amount is equivalent to or not more than 200,000 THB and other disputes specified in the Royal Decree issued in the future by the Cabinet.
In case that any dispute can be settled under the provisions of this Draft Act by any state agency and that one party fails to comply with such settlement, another party has the right to request the court to enforce such settlement within 3 years after the resolution on such settlement has been issued. If the dispute has been settled by the ordinary people, before submitting such request to the court for enforceability, the approval from the Rights and Liberties Protection Department shall be obtained.