Thai Legal System

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Table of Contents in the Asian Legal Encyclopedia

Thai Legal System in Asia

Thailand (official name: Kingdom of Thailand) is called in Thai: ราชอาณาจักรไทย, RTGS: Ratcha Anachak Thai; IPA: [râːt.tɕʰā ʔāːnāːtɕàk tʰāj. The country is situated in Southeast Asia. The legal system of Thailand is based on the Civil law system with some Common law influences.

Legal Research in Thailand: a Guide for Lawyers

In a globalized world, lawyers outside Thailand may come into contact with Thai law, Thai lawyers or Thai clients, and the last would be better served when their lawyers have an understanding of the essential characteristics and aspects of the Thai legal system. Likewise, in researching Thai law, it is important for non-Thai lawyers not to limit their inquiry to their country sources. In addition, instead of looking for precedents, in Thailand lawyers browse first the provisions of the corresponding legislation for an appropriate legal principle applied to the case or Thai law problem.

Any serious legal issue involving Thailand must require consultation with a lawyer trained and licensed in Thailand. International materials and resources, like this Encyclopedia, however, may provide some familiarity with the basic concepts of the Thai law, a solid starting point and new perspectives and solutions that are not apparent, sometimes, from within a non-Thai legal tradition. Their study may help the non-Thai lawyer to determine the general nature of a problem, and can facilitate a better understanding with the Thai colleague who may be called in to assist.

Where to Start

General Information about Thailand and their Legal Tradition

Thailand and their People

Read about Thailand and their People here.

Historical Background of Thailand

Overview of the history of Thailand.

Legal Education

Offering a summary of the legal education, including law schools , in Thailand.

Development of Thai Law

Report on the development of the law in Thailand.

Structures of Thai Law

It offers a description of the structures of the law in Thailand.

Sources of the Thai Law

Summary of the sources of Law in Thailand.

Historical Background

More about the history of the Thai law here.

Enacted Law in Thailand

Read more about the legislation in Thailand.

  • The Thai Constitution

Learn more about the Constitution of Thailand.

  • Thailand Codes and Statutes

Survey of Thai Codes and Statutes.

  • Thailand Statutory Decrees

Outline of the Thailand Statutory Decrees.

  • Thailand Regulations

Scope of the Regulations enacted in Thailand.

  • Thailand By-Laws

Observation about the By-Laws in existence in Thailand.

Customary Law

Learn more about the customary law of Thailand.

Case Law as a Source of Law

Analysis of the Case Law in Thailand.

Precedents in Thailand

Evaluation of the role of Precedents in the Thai legal system.

Doctrine in Thailand

Review of the legal Doctrine in Thailand.

International sources of law

See more about the international sources of law in Thailand and Asia, including International Treaties.

The Thai Government System

Study of the Government system in existence in Thailand.

Thai Constitutional Structure

Overview of the Constitutional Structure in Thailand.

Historical Background

Read more about the history of the Government System of the country.

General Characteristics of the Constitution

Constitution of Thailand: the main features.

Human Rights in Thailand

Scope of the Civil and Human rights in the country.

Legislative Branch

The legislative branch proposes laws. Find a description of the Legislative Power in Thailand here.

Structure of the Thai Legislative Branch

Observation of the structure of the legislative power in Thailand.

Functions and Powers

See more about the role of the legislative power in Thailand here.

Legislative Process

Read how the Thai legislative procedures work here.

Supervision of the Executive

Learn how the legislative branch supervises the executive branch.

Executive Branch

The executive power proposes laws. Read more.

Head of State in Thailand

The head of state of Thailand is the formal head of the executive, legislature and judiciary of Thailand.

Head of Government in Thailand

The head of government in Thailand is the Prime Minister of Thailand, the political leader of the government of Thailand.

Thai Council of Ministers

See information about the Cabinet Ministers of Thailand here.

Thai Local Governments

Review of the local government powers in Thailand. See the definition of local rule here.

Local Organizations of Central Administration

The central administration consists of a number of ministries and other organizations, including local ones. Various departments, offices and divisions are established in each ministry in Thailand. See the definition of centralization here.

Thai Municipalities

Outlook of the cities, towns, villages and other communities, including municipal courts (when applicable), and their legal authority in Thailand.

Judiciary Branch

The judiciary power interprets and applies laws. Find here a review of the Judicial System in Thailand.

Main Features of the Judiciary

Read the most important characteristics of the Judiciary system in Thailand here.

Thailand Judicial Structure

Report of the Court Organization and Jurisdiction in Thailand.
The Courts in Thailand may be divided into:

  • High Courts

Description of the functioning of high courts in Thailand.

  • Lower Courts

Summary of the roles of courts of lesser rank.


Information about rules that influence sentencing in Thailand.

Participants in the Administration of Justice

Survey about the players in the Administration of Justice in Thailand and other countries.


Information about the impartial administration of justice, the independence and status of the judiciary and other issues related to Judges in Thailand.

Public Prosecutors

The role of those government officials who represent, in Thailand, legal authorities (often prosecuting criminal actions in Thailand and Asia).

The practice of law

More about the practice of law in Thailand and Asia.

The legal professions

Outline of the legal professions in Thailand and Asia.

Practitioners (Lawyers and others)

Learn about the legal role of practitioners, specially lawyers.

Notary-Public in Thailand

Overview about Public Notaries practising in Thailand.

Court reporter – Clerks

Overview of Court reporters and Clerks in Thai and Asian courthouses.

Civil Law Procedure

Outlook of the main features of the Thai civil process, including:

Pretrial Proceedings in Thailand

Information about what pretrial proceedings consist of.

The Trial in Thailand

Review of the judicial examinations in civil or criminal actions in Thailand.

Civil Litigation

Overview of the steps of litigation in Thailand, the litigator’s role and the types of civil litigation in the country here.


Evidence law outline in Thailand.

The Judgment

Outlook of the tribunal decisions in Thailand. For Judgments which are of significance as legal precedents on points of law in Thailand, see precedents.

The Effect of the Judgment

Overview of effects and recognition of a valid judgment delivered by a court of competent jurisdiction in Thailand.

Legal Remedies in Thailand

Enforcement of a legal right ordered by the court. See also the Judicial Relief definition.

Appeals – Judicial Review

Description of the Appeals process and the Judicial Review process of challenging the lawfulness of decisions in Thailand.

Criminal Law Procedure

Observation of the Criminal Process.

The Investigation of Crime

Scope of the investigation of crimes:

The Prosecution of Crime

Crime Prosecution.

Criminal Trials in Thailand

Laws and rules of the administration of justice when a person has been accused of a crime.

Appeals – Judicial Review

When a party files an appeal, asking to review the case:

Alternative Dispute Resolution in Thailand

Method of resolving disputes out-of-court (ADR).

Private Law

Family Law in Thailand

Guide to Marriage Law, Succession Law and other Family Law topics in Thailand.

Contract Law in Thailand

Contracts Law outline in Thailand.

Tort Law in Thailand

Regulating claims by civil wrongs that result in an injury or harm.

Property Law in Thailand

Real property and Personal property law in Thailand.

Copyright and Industrial Property

Survey of industrial and intellectual property laws in Thailand.

Foreign Trade

Regulation of Foreign Trade in Thailand and Asia.

Business Law in Thailand

Besides commercial law and the law of corporations and other entities, this guide provides comprehensive information about:

Criminal Law in Thailand

Penal law involves prosecution for a crime in Thailand and Asia. Find out more.

Family Law in Thailand

Family legal issues including:

  • Divorce and separation
  • Child protection, custody, support and access
  • Adoptions
  • Property Division

Public Law

More about Public Law here.

Administrative Law

Report of the branches of the Administrative law, including Environmental law.

Administrative Processes

Administrative Processing in Thailand and Asia.


Taxation in Thailand explained.

Labor Law

Overview of the labor law and social security in Thailand.

Asia Legal Systems

Further Resources

History of the Thai Legal System

The Thai legal tradition has been shaped by many different influences, domestic as well as foreign. More than one different legal system has coexisted in Thailand at various points in the long country history. The Portal of Thai law provides introductory entries about the background and history of the law of the country.

Thailand Law Portal

The Thailand Law Portal provides an introductory overview of the history of legal development in Thailand, major legal concepts, the structure of Thai government, the Thai judicial and court system, and peculiar characteristic of the response of the Thai legal system to development in Thailand.

The Thailand Portal presents the main areas of its legal system and the wider aspects of how law is made and reformed. The entries of the Thailand Law Portal include consideration of the primary features of the Thai legal system, including the Thai legal history, Thai judicial structure and operation, the Thai Constitution and the legislative and administrative structure and process. The contents of the Thailand Portal also include discussion of Thai legal actors (including Thai lawyers), legal education, judges and other participants in the Thai legal landscape.

The Portal introduces legal professionals, students and the general reader to terms and concepts necessary for understanding the Thai legal system, the jurisdiction, organization and authority of courts in Thailand, and the Thai judicial interpretation and decision-making. The substantive areas of law such as public law, torts and product liability, property (including intellectual property rights and copyright infringements), and family law are also covered. The Portal also treats the law governing the main business legal topics: contracts, business regulation, companies and taxation. It also examines the civil, criminal and administrative processes, the procedural rights, main court opinions and the various modes of alternative dispute resolution available in Thailand.

Useful to the reader of the Encyclopedia as a reference, the Portal provides a table of cases, indices provides even greater detail, a glossary of selected legal terms and many entries provide bibliographies for further reading.

Comparative Law and Legal Systems in Asia

One of the goals of the comparative law is to wrap up the similarities and differences among countries, including Thailand. the different legal traditions in Asia and could be able thereby better to understand the Thai law. to the reception of legal systems in Thailand and other countries of Asia, with special reference to the reception of foreign law (specially English law and Islamic law) by these countries.

The Asian Encyclopedia of Law provides a survey of the legal systems of almost all the Asian jurisdictions. Being the Encyclopedia a work in progress, the length of the entries may vary considerably. Each country section includes a description of their major subject areas of law, notes on the main compilations (or official codifications), a detailed listing of legislation covering specific topics and resources for enacted laws and judicial decisions (including references to further online sources).

Conclusion about the Legal System of Thailand

A good comprehension of the Thai legal system requires knowledge and skill in a number of disciplines. The Thai system itself is the result of developments in law, economy, politics, sociological change and the theories which feed all these bodies of knowledge. The law or Thailand may be relevant in a foreign jurisdiction court proceeding involving international transactions. The Knowledge of the Thai traditions and its legal institutions allows a good understanding of the Thai law, its institutions and processes and sets the Thai law and system in a social context.

This guide introduces some of the main procedural and substantive Thai principles, with a more detailed treatment of resources in the major subject areas of the Thai law, with access to primary materials.

The general reader and students may learn some basic legal concepts and principles of the Thai law, to explain how the Thai legal system operates, and to provide a sense of how the systems within Thailand have evolved historically in Thailand from its origins.

A globally focused guide like this site, including the legal concepts and principles of Asia, cannot
avoid taking many culture-specific elements into account.

About the Author

Salvador Trinxet Llorca is a law writer, professor and lawyer specialized in comparative and international law.

See Also

References and Further Reading

  • Comparative law in a global context: the legal systems of Asia and Africa, Werner Menski
  • Asian legal systems: law, society, and pluralism in East Asia, Poh-Ling Tan
  • Philanthropy and law in Asia: a comparative study of the nonprofit legal systems in ten Asia Pacific societies, Thomas Silk
  • Law and legal institutions of Asia: traditions, adaptations and innovations, E Ann Black; Gary F Bell
  • Law, capitalism and power in Asia: the rule of law and legal institutions, Kanishka Jayasuriya
  • Asia-Pacific legal development, Douglas M Johnston and Gerry A Ferguson
  • Modern legal systems cyclopedia, Kenneth R Redden and William Emerson Brock
  • Constitutionalism in Asia: Asian views of the American influence, Lawrence Ward Beer
  • The judicialization of politics in Asia, Björn Dressel
  • East Asian Law: Universal Norms and Local Cultures
  • Law, Capitalism and Power in Asia : The Rule of Law and Legal Institutions
  • Doing Business in Asia (updated regularly)
  • Copyright Law and the Information Society in Asia
  • Insolvency Law in East Asia
  • Intellectual Property Law in Asia
  • A Legal Guide to Doing Business in the Asia-Pacific


  • Asia-Pacific Development Journal
  • Asia-Pacific Journal on Human Rights and the Law
  • Asian Law Journal
  • Australian Journal of Asian Law
  • Columbia Journal of Asian Law


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