Civil Litigation in Thailand: PART 5 – appeal

In most instances of a civil court case in Thailand either party may appeal the judgment of a trial court. And, in most cases, appeal to intermediate courts of appeal is available with a final option to appeal to the relevant supreme court. However, in some cases the law provides for appeal directly to the relevant supreme court, thus bypassing any intermediate appellate court. Notable examples of this would be cases involving: (1) the recognition and enforcement of arbitration agreements and awards; and (2) employment law disputes.

Although the law allows for oral arguments before courts of appeal, in practice this is rarely done. Thus, appeals are submitted in writing and, as a general rule, may be based on any issue of law or (unlike in many other jurisdictions) fact. However, there are exceptions. For example: options for appeal may be limited by a the financial amount in controversy; or the grounds on which one may appeal may be limited to points of law only, depending on the court which has jurisdiction over the case. In any event, intermediate courts of appeal, and the various supreme courts, in Thailand do not “retry” cases — no new evidence may be introduced in any stage of appeal.

Judgments in Thailand are read from the bench. As a general rule, any appeal of such judgments must be made within thirty days. But the thirty-day deadline may be extended on a showing of any acceptable good cause. However, it is important to note that, the thirty days do not begin to run until the parties have received notice, in fact or in law, of the judgment. If the losing party attends the reading of judgment from the bench, they will be considered notified. However, if the losing party does not attend the reading, notice will only be effected once the losing party legally receives the written judgment. However, the written judgment is not issued until well after the reading of the judgment from the bench. As a result, it is common practice for a losing party to choose not to appear for the reading of the judgment and await legally effective notice of such to follow later by way of service of the written judgment.


DUENSING KIPPEN is an international law firm specializing in business transaction and dispute resolution matters, with offices in Bangkok and Phuket, Thailand and affiliated offices in 45 other countries. Visit them at:

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4 thoughts on “Civil Litigation in Thailand: PART 5 – appeal

  1. Dan

    Anyone know what the chances are of overturning a trial level judgment? And for getting a reversal at the Supreme Court level? In California it’s supposed to be roughly 10% on the first appeal and very low at the Supreme Court level.

    1. duensingkippen Post author

      Unfortunately no such statistics are yet available as far as we know. We have wondered the same. But based on our experience, we would say it is very low here. But finding out can a very long time. Typically, 5 years or more for civil cases, not uncommon for it to take more than 10 years. We have an employment case that has now been on appeal from the trial court for 4 years and no word yet.

      1. Steven

        Hi Duensing,

        I’m very interested to hear that the Supreme Court rulings take so long. We lost a Civil case against a Plaintiff that has distorted the truth and lied in court yet its still gone against us. Based on reading this it has helped us decide to push this one forward to the Supreme Court. We pray that at this level there is no corruption since thats the only explanation for us losing at provincial and appeal court


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