LEGAL SYSTEM: REQUIREMENTS, PRACTICE, AND ETHICAL CONDUCT
a member of the Law Society of Thailand means a lawyer (member) must
abide by the code of ethics, called the Regulation of the Law Society
of Thailand on Lawyer's Ethics B.E. 2529 (AD 1986), which is overseen
and supervised by the Committee on Professional Ethics.(11) The types of professional and ethical conduct described are:
ethical conduct in court and towards the court, which generally
means a lawyer can not refuse to represent a defendant when asked
to do so by a judge in a criminal case UNLESS the lawyer has a
justifiable reason, or act in any way that shows disrespect to
the court, or act in contempt of court or to a judge, and/or cooperate
directly or indirectly to forge documents or evidence.
towards the client: a lawyer can not encourage litigation without
justifiable cause, threaten and/or mislead the client, and/or
make false promises and/or reveal client's secrets and/or abandon
a case intentionally.
towards fellow lawyers: a lawyer can not try to take another lawyer's
client UNLESS there is consent by the previous lawyer, or there
is justified cause to believe that the client has already withdrawn
the former lawyer, or that the former lawyer has already rejected
the client's case.
litigants in general: a lawyer can not make promises to people
or pay them to bring in clients or to advertise legal service
fees, or to advertise in a boastful way names, qualifications,
position, residence, or office.
personal behavior: a lawyer should not behave contrary to good
morals or jeopardize the good name of the legal profession.
appropriate attire: a lawyer shall dress modestly. A male lawyer
shall wear suits of solid and somber colors (e.g. white, black,
gray, blue); a female lawyer shall wear dresses in modest solid
members of the Law Society of Thailand must abide by the above Regulations.
A breach constitutes professional misconduct. If any lawyer violates
any of the professional ethics prescribed under the said Regulations,
it may result in any of the three types of penalties: probation, suspension
of practice not exceeding three years, or deletion of name from register.(12)
lawyer's license is usually valid for 2 years from the date of issuance.
Such a license can be renewed within 90 days prior to its expiration.
To avoid periodic renewal, lawyers may apply for a "lifetime membership".
termination of a lawyer, the following matters can result in a lawyer's
losing membership in the Law Society of Thailand:
of termination of practice;
| failure to
renew lawyer's license;
| removal of
name from register; or
Sections 54 and 55 of the Lawyers Act B.E. 2528 (AD 1985) provide as
"Section 54. There shall be appointed a Committee on Professional
Ethics composed of a Chairman, a Vice-Chairman and at least 7 other
Committee members fixed by the Board.
Each Committee member shall be appointed by the Board from a pool of
lawyers having the following qualifications:
(1) Having been a lawyer for a total period of not less than 10 years.
(2) Never having been subject to any disciplinary action or penalty
on account of professional misconduct or excluded from the Register."
"Section 55. The appointment of the Committee members under Section
54 shall be effective only upon an approval of the Chancellor."
Section 64 of the Lawyers Act B.E. 2528 (AD 1985) provides as follows:
"Section 64. An injured party or a lawyer may bring charge against
another lawyer on account of breach of professional ethics. The charge
must be made in writing to the Chairman of the Committee.
The right to bring charge under paragraph one shall be extinguished
upon the lapse of one year after the knowledge of the breach and the
alleged offender have become known to the person possessing such right,
provided that the charge is brought within 3 years after the breach.
A withdrawal of the charge brought under the first paragraph shall terminate
the case of breach of professional ethics only if such withdrawal is
approved by the Committee's resolution passed by affirmative votes of
not less than half of the total Committee members."
Generally, when a charge of professional misconduct is filed against
any particular lawyer, the Committee on Professional Ethics will appoint
an investigation team consisting of not less than 3 lawyers to investigate the case,
and if they decide that the charge is a valid one, the case will be
sent before the Disciplinary Committee consisting of at least 9 of its
members. If the Disciplinary Committee decides that the facts established
constitute unethical conduct, the Disciplinary Committee, with an order
from the Board of Governors of the Law Society of Thailand, is empowered
to decide and order according to the gravity of the offence, parole,
suspension of practice for not more than 3 years, or deletion of name
Section 44 of the Lawyers Act B.E. 2528 (AD 1985)