Thailand – Justice for the Crowd as Class Action
A class action is a type of lawsuit in which behalf of parties or the group, the plaintiffs, as the plaintiffs can sue a defendant in a single proceeding, but the result could affect the whole of the plaintiffs. This legal mechanism allows individuals with similar claims against a common defendant to join together and pursue their claims as a group rather than as individuals. Class actions are typically used when it would be impractical or unfeasible for every member of the group to file a separate lawsuit. Class actions can provide benefits such as efficiency, consistency, and reduced costs for the plaintiffs, as well as a way for companies and organizations to be held accountable for their actions. This type of lawsuit is originally from the United States. However, several civil law countries commonly use this process for bringing justice to a huge group.
Thailand also has a class action procedure that is similar to the one in the United States. According to the Civil Procedure Code B.E. 2477 (1934), as amended by the Act Amending the Civil Procedure Code (No.28), B.E. 2558 (2015), the process of the class action must be initiated with a request to the court by one of the plaintiffs, along with prosecution for the beginning of a case. The court will then consider the class action request based on several criteria, including the similarity in nature amongst the group, the difficulty and inconvenience of litigating separately due to the large number of members, and if the class action will be more efficient and fairer than the common litigation.
After the court approves the class action request, the plaintiff is required to pay court fees and expenses for class action to the court within seven days of the rendered order date. If the plaintiff fails to do so, the court reserves the right to cancel the class action and proceed with common litigation instead.
Class action is typically used in cases where there are a large number of victims, such as consumer or environmental cases. For example, around 3,000 Cambodian villagers initiated a class action lawsuit against a sugar finery company for damage caused when the defendant’s agent entered the land concessions. Witness hearings for this case would have taken a long time due to the large number of victims, which is why class action was the preferred approach.
In conclusion, class action lawsuits are more efficient, fairer, and easier for cases that demand a remedy for several people through a single legal action. It also gives more bargaining power to the plaintiffs and takes less time than common litigation, especially if it involves a large number of people.
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