During legal proceedings at any level of the Thai court system—be it district courts, provincial courts, or the Supreme Court—parties may have concerns regarding their safety, the protection of their rights, or the preservation of their interests. The Civil Procedure Code of Thailand provides a mechanism for addressing these concerns. A party involved in a case can submit an application to the court requesting a temporary injunction. This legal tool is designed to halt the other party from engaging in or continuing actions that could cause harm or give rise to legal disputes.
Additionally, injunctions can encompass measures aimed at preventing the other party from engaging in activities such as squandering, damaging, transferring, selling, relocating, or otherwise disposing of any contested property. These measures remain in effect until the conclusion of the case or until the court issues a directive to the contrary.
Thai law, through its judicious application by the courts, is designed to offer balanced consideration to all parties involved in a legal dispute. Unlike some jurisdictions where laws may disproportionately favor one party, the Thai Civil Procedure Law provides a framework that ensures equitable treatment for both plaintiffs and defendants, particularly in the context of Temporary Injunctions.
This balanced approach underscores the Thai legal system's commitment to fairness and justice, providing both parties with an opportunity to protect their rights and interests pending the court's final decision.
1. The Thai Civil Procedure Code in relation to the Temporary Injunction Relief for the Plaintiff
A plaintiff who files a civil case against a debtor (could be a family member or simply an acquaintance) in whatsoever liabilities and obligations e.g. loan, hire of work, lease, sale, and purchase agreement, etc., may be concerned about a remedy and compensation which has to be fulfilled by such debtor. In some cases, the debtor fails or is not willing to comply and settle any liabilities and obligations to the lender.
In the event that the debtor is unwilling to sell, transfer and/or dispose of his/her assets, the plaintiff shall submit an application to the court to order an injunction or a measure to impede such debtor's act.
The Thai Civil Procedure Code of Thailand, Section 254 stipulates that:
“In a case other than a petty case (e.g. a case having the case capital of not more than 300 thousand baht), the plaintiff is entitled to file with the Court, together with his plaint or at any time before judgment, an ex parte (one side) application requesting the Court to order, subject to the conditions hereinafter provided….”When a plaintiff seeks an injunction from the Court, there are four main purposes or measures for which such an application can be filed:
Seizure Before Judgment: This measure allows for the seizure of all or part of the property in dispute that belongs to the defendant, as well as any money or property owed to the defendant by a third party.
Temporary Restraining Order: This injunction prevents the defendant from repeating or continuing any wrongful act, breach of agreement, or the specific act that led to the case filing. It may also include other orders necessary to provide relief to the plaintiff from the defendant’s actions.
Order for Temporary Changes in Registration: This involves requesting the registrar to temporarily extinguish, amend, or revoke the registration related to the asset in dispute or the defendant’s property.
Temporary Detention of the Defendant: In certain circumstances, the court may order the temporary arrest and detention of the defendant.For the Court to consider an injunction application, the plaintiff must demonstrate that there is a valid reason for the request and that the proposed measure is necessary for their protection.
Additionally, specific criteria must be met for each type of measure. For example, if a plaintiff requests an injunction to prevent the transfer of land by the defendant, evidence must be presented to the Court showing the defendant's intent to register, amend, or revoke the land's registration. This is essential for the Court to approve the temporary injunction request.
2. The Thai Civil Procedure Code in relation to the Temporary Injunction Relief for the Defendant
The Thai Civil Procedure Code grants defendants the right to request that the plaintiff deposit a sum of money, furnish a security for payment, or procure security to cover potential unforeseen events. This provision ensures that defendants are protected against possible financial losses that may arise during the course of legal proceedings.
The Thai Civil Procedure Code, Section 253 stipulates that:
“Where the plaintiff is not domiciled or his business office is not situated within the Kingdom and he does not have property liable to execution within the Kingdom or where there is strong reason to believe that he will, if he loses the case, evade the payment of costs and expenses, the defendant may, at any time before judgment, file an application by motion with the Court for an order directing the plaintiff to deposit money or to furnish security for such payment costs and expenses.”The point of Section 253 is that the defendant can file an application to the Court for an order directing the plaintiff to deposit money or security if:
1. The plaintiff is a foreigner or is a foreign entity of which their business office or domicile is not in Thailand or does not have a property in Thailand; or
2. There is a strong reason to believe that the plaintiff will evade the payment of costs and expenses if he loses the case.
The Thai Civil Procedure Code affords defendants the right to request that plaintiffs either deposit money or provide security to cover potential payments or costs arising from unforeseen events during legal proceedings. This provision is particularly relevant in scenarios where the plaintiff, whether an individual or a business entity, has a domicile or is registered outside Thailand—for instance, if a plaintiff once operated a business within Thailand but has since relocated operations abroad.
Additionally, this right becomes pertinent if, during the examination of a plaintiff's witness, there is an indication that the plaintiff might not cover the court costs and fees should the court dismiss their charge or find in favor of the defendant. It is important to note that this motion can be filed at any stage of the proceedings, including appeals to the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court.
Should the Court, upon reviewing the motion and conducting necessary examinations, find the defendant’s request warranted, it will mandate the plaintiff to deposit the specified money or security within a set timeframe. Failure to comply will result in the case being removed from the court's docket, unless the defendant opts to continue or the plaintiff successfully appeals the order.
Conversely, if the Court denies the defendant's application, the defendant retains the right to appeal this decision. It's also crucial to understand that even if the case is struck from the record, the plaintiff is not barred from refiling the case against the defendant. This is because the dismissal is procedural, without the Court having addressed the substantive issue at hand.
Based on our extensive experience with civil litigation at Juslaws & Consult, we've found that securing a temporary injunction is a strategic approach to safeguarding the plaintiff's rights, especially in debt recovery cases. Filing a temporary injunction serves as a more reliable assurance that the debtor will fulfill their financial obligations, rather than merely depending on their goodwill or ethical conduct. This approach is particularly pertinent when the plaintiff is a foreigner, reflecting our understanding of the complexities faced in such scenarios.
Our seasoned attorneys often recommend filing for a temporary injunction when we represent plaintiffs, aiming to secure our client’s rights before the court reaches a decision. Should you require further information or assistance with legal matters in Thailand, Juslaws & Consult is prepared to offer expert legal consultation and services. In instances where a court injunction is necessary for our client's case, we commit to providing our utmost support to facilitate this process. Juslaws & Consult is dedicated to delivering comprehensive legal solutions tailored to our clients' unique needs.