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Thailand Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Note concerning Thailand Supreme court opinions: Thailand is a civil law jurisdiction that also has elements of the common law system. Accordingly, the principle law sources are acts, statutes and regulations. However, published Supreme court decisions are an important part of the legal development of Thailand and are frequently used as a secondary authority. (Summaries sponsored by Chaninat & Leeds)


Supreme Court Opinion No. 7386/2005
Veerachai Narkwatchara vs. Yupa Rutthanasanghirun

Re: Contracts

The plaintiff verbally agreed to allow the defendant to continue to rent a building after the rental term in their written contract had elapsed. However the new agreement was not included in the old contract. Although the plaintiff consented to their new agreement before the old contract had elapsed and created a new contract, the consent was not given as a written contract therefore the defendant cannot force the plaintiff to allow the defendant to continue to rent the building. Therefore the plaintiff had the right to evict the tenant after their written contract had ended.


Supreme Court Opinion No. 678-680/2548
v. Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation

Re: Labor

The three Plaintiffs working for the Defendant - the employer - held positions in assets cooperation, building and general mechanic work. The Defendant moved the workplace to a new building with high-technology facilities. Aor. Company, lessor of this building, was responsible for maintaining the Thailand community property as well as the telecommunications while the Defendant had responsibilities to maintain the Thailand leased property which is not part of the communal property. The Defendant hired a company specializing in security and telephone system to maintain the leased building. Soon after, Sor. Company sold the Defendant's office building to another party. The Defendant no longer required the Plaintiffs to do maintenance work in the building. The Plaintiffs were also under-qualified and lack proficiency in handling the systems at the Defendant's new workplace. There was also no evidence showing that the Plaintiffs were better qualified and hence able to replace existing employees. Therefore, it was deemed reasonable and justified for the Defendant to dismiss all the Plaintiffs without any compensation.


Supreme Court Opinion No. 252/2548
Ministry of Defense
v. Keawlek

Re: Contract, Government, Scholarship Civil Procedure

When the Defendant obtained the scholarship from the Plaintiff to pursue his studies abroad, he had voluntarily signed an agreement which included a clause - if a breach of contract was committed by the Defendant, he would have to return to Thailand immediately or be discharged from the ministry. The Defendant was also liable to repay three times the amount of the scholarship, including all expenses, to the Plaintiff. However, as the breach-of-contract clause has been included in the agreement prior to the breach of contract, it was deemed as a fine instead. If the court finds that the repayment amount is too exorbitant, it can reduce the amount as it deemed appropriate after considering all the damages of the creditor according to Civil Code Section 383 clause 1. The court settlement was deemed to be the amount of damages including the fine. Besides having the right to demand for interest payment from the principal amount paid by the Plaintiff, the Plaintiff also has the right to calculate the interest rate at 7.5% per annum accrued from the default date under Civil Code Section 224 Clause 1.


Supreme Court Opinion No. 256/2548
v. Government Housing Bank

Re: Labor

The Plaintiff was the head of loans. His duty included the consideration, deliberation, examination and the exercise of control in releasing loans in such a manner that was in line with the Defendant's strict banking regulations, instructions and operating procedures. However, the Plaintiff was too quick in releasing the loan, without giving it due consideration and gave his approval of the loan hastily. Moreover, the loan amount approved was more than the amount required. His negligence and failure to comply with the Defendant's regulations has caused the Defendant to suffer huge losses. Although the Plaintiff has shown no intention of profiting from the loan himself or with third parties, his lack of job responsibility and negligence has given the Defendant sufficient reasons to terminate the employment contract of the Plaintiff.


Supreme Court Opinion No. 516/2548
Nonthaburi Province
v. Muangthai

Re: Jurisdiction, Criminal

Although Bang Kwang was the domicile of both Defendants at the time of filing this case under the Thailand Civil and Commercial Code (TCCC) Section 41 , the Defendant s were in the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance pursuant to The Criminal Procedure Code Section 22(1). However, such provision did not proscribe the Court of First Instance, whose jurisdiction the Defendant was in, to accept the filed case which the Plaintiff has sued. Therefore, the Court of First Instance held the discretion to accept or deny the filed case. The ground of action was in the jurisdiction of the Phuket Provincial Court. The investigator of the Phuket Police Station has also investigated this case. There was no evidence that the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance, was more suitable than the jurisdiction of the Phuket Provincial Court. Safety issues should be taken into consideration if both Defendants were to be sent to the Phuket Provincial Court for the case proceedings. It was the responsibility of the Penitentiary Department to provide protection measures for the problem that might arise from the transportation of the Defendants. As such, there was insufficient reason for the Court of First Instance to accept the case.


Supreme Court Opinion No. 406/2548
v. Tangtrongvechakhit

Re: Contract

The Plaintiff and the Defendant agreed to execute the agreement to sell or buy the Thailand land along with three units of a commercial building, of which the Plaintiff shall retain the sole ownership of the land. Due to the complexity of such an agreement, a special agreement should be drafted for better clarification. The duty of the Defendant was to divide the land into sub-plots, according to the area of the commercial building which the Plaintiff had intended to purchase. The Defendant also had to register the transfer of land ownership to the Plaintiff. However, on the day of registration, the Defendant did not divide the land accordingly to complete the registration for the transfer of ownership. The fact that the Plaintiff was absent on that day and whether he could afford the payment of the remaining plot or otherwise was not the issue - the Plaintiff did not breach the contract. However, the Defendant had confiscated the money that the Plaintiff had paid pursuant to the agreement. The agreement was still a binding contract between the Plaintiff and the Defendant. Subsequently, the Plaintiff had informed the Defendant in writing regarding the date of registration but the Defendant failed to show up. As such, it was the Defendant who has breached the contract and therefore he should return the confiscated amount to the Plaintiff according to Thailand Civil and Commercial Code (TCCC) Section 378 (3) and the Plaintiff had a right to claim for the penalty for such a breach of agreement.


Supreme Court Opinion No. 470/2548
Government Housing Bank
v. Sawangampai

Re: Interest, Civil Procedure, Appellate Procedure

After due consideration, the Court of First Instance concluded that the Plaintiff had no right to request for an interest rate of 19% per annum from the Defendant as this was higher than the rate declared by the Defendant. However, the court gave a judgment order for the Defendant to repay the amount of 1,300,031.26 baht, including the interest amount of 300,394.17 baht which the court has previously ruled out. As such, the Court of First Instance was inappropriate in its judgment, for the Defendant had to pay the interest which was more than the amount he was liable for according to the law and the motion. According to the Plaintiff's appeal to the Supreme Court, this matter concerned the provision of the public order whereby the Appeal Court Region 5 could apply to this case pursuant to The Civil Procedure Code Section 142(5), Section 243(1) and Section 246. The judgment of the Appeal Court of Region 5 to dismiss all the issues of the Plaintiff's appeal was inappropriate. Moreover, the Supreme Court thought that it was proper for it to consider the case without sending the case back to the previous court. The Plaintiff did not have the right to enforce the interest rate pursuant to the agreement because the court has previously ruled it out. However, as there is a debt involved, the Defendant is liable for the interest rate of 7.5% per annum accrued from the date of default, under the Thai Civil Procedure Section 224 paragraph 1.


Supreme Court Opinion No. 887/2548
Neotech Impacts Co., Ltd
v. Janvieng

Re: Labor

The reduction or extension of time according to the Act for Establishment of and Procedure for Labor Court , Section 26, does not specify that the party should file the motion to the Labor Court before the end of the period which has been set. Although the period of filing the appeal in the Labor Court has expired, the Plaintiff still had the right to file the motion for the extension of time to the Central Labor Court. Whether the Central Labor Court grants the extension of time or otherwise is dependent on the consideration of the necessity or the cause of the necessity and for fairness. Since the Plaintiff filed the appeal motion for the extension of time after the period set, the court dismissed that motion without considering the cause of the necessity in the Plaintiff's motion and did not consider fairness. Therefore, it was not deemed as the right judgment.



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