Dispute Resolution in Thailand

Going to court is expensive and time consuming. It is often the last resort.

In Thailand, courts encourage parties to settle disputes outside the court system through mediation and arbitration. In some cases, courts may even order parties to participate in conciliation before proceeding with a trial.

Chandler MHM’s experienced dispute resolution team handles complex matters such as bankruptcy and rehabilitation proceedings, contentious construction matters, and labour and employment disputes. Our team also advises on international trade and customs disputes.


Arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution method in which disputing parties appoint their choice of arbitrators, choose the place of arbitration and select the language and rules. The process of settling disputes by arbitration can take up to one year on average.

A significant factor that makes arbitration a popular option in Thailand is the ability to keep proceedings confidential. This may be beneficial to businesses, public figures or celebrities who are concerned about their reputations.

Arbitration in Thailand is regulated by the Arbitration Act B.E. 2545 (2002), which is an updated version of the UNCITRAL model law on international commercial arbitration, with a number of amendments specific to Thailand. The governing statute provides for the appointment of arbitrators, the procedure and timeframe of out-of-court proceedings and imposes certain restrictions on the award that an arbitrator can make. There is also a mechanism for enforcing mediated settlement agreements. However, the current lack of a universally recognised framework for direct enforcement of international mediated settlement agreements remains a challenge for Thailand.


This is a dispute resolution option that involves the parties’ representatives negotiating with each other in order to find a compromise. This method is similar to mediation, but it’s more of an active process with the goal of helping both sides understand each other and resolve their conflict in a way that works for them.

Conciliation can take place in either court-annexed or out-of-court settings. The latter is typically conducted in a conference room, where the disputing parties are required to meet with the conciliator outside the court system and keep the proceedings confidential.

This type of mediation is usually a lot faster than trying to settle your dispute through the court system, but it also might be more expensive. In either case, it’s a good idea to have the assistance of experienced conciliation and mediation lawyers in Thailand to ensure you’re receiving proper advice and guidance. This will help you understand what the outcome of your conciliation may look like and how it could affect you in the long run.

Out-of-court Mediation

In Thailand, many disputes can be settled through negotiation and mediation. In the construction industry, for example, most contracts will contain a structured dispute resolution clause to account for any disputes that may arise during the course of the project.

Moreover, most courts in Thailand will allow for the conciliation of a dispute prior to a trial under the Civil Procedure Code. This is known as ‘court-annexed mediation’ and is an effective method to settle matters that may be complex and lengthy.

Unlike arbitration, a mediated settlement agreement can be enforced in court. Therefore, out-of-court mediation is a dispute resolution option that should be considered by companies of all sizes and nationalities doing business in Thailand. This is a more cost-effective alternative to litigation and, if successful, can result in the avoidance of costly legal fees and a speedy settlement. In addition, the negotiated solution is binding on both parties. This can also prevent the loss of reputation and business opportunities that may be caused by a prolonged legal battle.

Court Litigation

In Thailand, civil courts deal with litigation cases. Generally, a civil lawsuit has to be filed in the court where the cause of action arose or where the defendant resides. In cases involving immovable property, a lawsuit can also be brought in the court where such property is located.

Litigation is a lengthy process in Thailand, and it often takes a minimum of one to three years to obtain a final judgment. Consequently, many investors, businesses, and individuals choose to avoid this expensive and time-consuming option.

Fortunately, recent changes in the law have made it easier to speed up litigation in Thailand. For example, a court-supervised mediation before filing a statement of claim is now mandatory in certain types of disputes. This should reduce the number of disputes that end up in court. Nonetheless, it is still important to investigate the nature and extent of any disputed assets in Thailand and abroad. This should help you avoid a monetary judgment that is largely worthless.

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