The Small Claims Court is also called the “District Court.” It is divided into a civil and a criminal chamber, and is responsible for a certain geographical area. The Small Claims Court handles two different matters – criminal and civil matters.
For criminal offences or criminal cases, the laws must specify that such acts are considered punishable with imprisonment not over three years or a fine not over 60,000 THB (or both) but in case that there is only one judge who makes the judgment, the imprisonment cannot be given over six months, and the fine not over 10,000 THB (or both). In case that the punishments should be more than that, such judge has to request another judge to review the case file and provide their opinion. In such cases, both judges will act together.
The value of the case must not be over 300,000 THB. In the case that the plaintiff wants to force another person to act (or refrain from acting) the case has to be submitted to the provincial courts.
The timeframe highly depends on the complexity of the case. As a minimum, you should take at least three months. In general, no cases are still pending after one year.
The required documents are the following:
- All documents relating to the debt (e.g. agreements, notices, invoices etc.)
- Power of Attorney
- Details on how the amount of the debt was calculated
- Lawyer’s license
- ID card of plaintiff or, in case it concerns a company, the company affidavit
- House registration of the defendant
The steps to be taken concern the following:
- First of all, the officer will check all documents
- Upon acceptance of the claim, the officer will make a black case number (undecided number)
- Then the officer will calculate court fees which will then have to be paid
- The court will send a petition to the defendant, including the date on which he/she will have to be present to be heard
- On the date set by the court, the case will be handled and the sentence will be known (unless further investigation is still required)
The judge can take the following decisions and actions:
- All measures to get additional information (e.g. hear witnesses)
- Issue criminal warrants required for further investigation
- All types of security measures
The following are the possible sentences:
- In a civil case: cash penalty at the value of the ‘asset’ but limited to 300,000 THB
- In a criminal case: depending on the facts; imprisonment of not over three years, fines of not over 60,000 THB or both in which case the imprisonment shall not be over 6 months and the fine shall not be over 10,000 THB
Admission fee200 THB per case (if the value of the asset cannot be calculated) or 100 THB (if the value is clear)
Document fee50 THB per page (in principle two per case but more in case of complex matters)
- If the impeached asset is not over 300,000 THB: fee of 2% with a maximum of 1,000 THB
- If the impeached asset has a value between 300,000 THB and 50 million THB: fee of 2% with a maximum of 200,000 THB plus an additional 0.1%