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ResourcesThailand Criminal LawCriminal LitigationThe Unique Aspects of Private Criminal Actions in Thailand

The Unique Aspects of Private Criminal Actions in Thailand

Transcript of the above video:

I kind of often like to do, sort of, a comparison-contrast sometimes between Western legal traditions and certain aspects of the Thai system. To be clear, I'm not a Thai attorney. We have Thai attorneys on staff but having been around both systems and having been trained in the American system, some insight as to the differences often provides a great deal of clarification for individuals who have to deal with the system here in Thailand.

One interesting thing in Thailand that the West, or I should say, really the common law jurisdictions - the United States and the Commonwealth (that's the former to British Empire) system, Thailand utilizes private criminal actions. So in a common law jurisdiction like the United States, depending on the jurisdiction you're in the U.S., a criminal proceeding brought against an individual will be named something like United States versus Smith or the People vs. Smith or the state versus Smith or the Commonwealth versus Smith. In Thailand, you can have criminal actions that are that are Jones versus Smith if it's a private criminal action. It's my understanding that even in other civil law jurisdictions this is somewhat unique to Thailand compared to even those other civil law jurisdictions and it’s sort of the unique novelties that very much just part of for lack of better term, uniqueness of the Thai legal system. It just it just is what it is.

So to be clear, what we're talking about here is an individual can bring a criminal action against another individual and if the individual defendant is found to be guilty of said action, they can be put in jail. In the United States, this would require something - one would need to make charges with the police and go ahead and the prosecutor would have to, you know a district attorney or prosecutor would need to go ahead and say yeah, this warrants prosecution and proceed from there.

It should be noted that the police still play a role in these type of personal criminal actions and in certain cases, a prosecutor it's my understanding can go ahead and take up the case and turn it into a government matter rather than sort of a private matter. But that doesn't necessarily have to happen for the action to proceed through the courts.

So it's interesting to note that this is a big difference between the American system, the common law system and it appears to be even a fairly significant difference between Thailand which is a civil law jurisdiction versus other civil law jurisdictions which don't utilize these private criminal actions in their criminal legal system.