Civil actions are lawsuits brought before courts whereby a party sues another for the enforcement or protection of a right, or the prevention or redress of a wrong.
Civil cases generally cover property and business disputes, personal domestic controversies, divorces, torts, and such other types where a party's rights are breached.
While many disputes may be settled amicably, the injured party, called the "Plaintiff" eventually goes to court after he determines that the controversy can no longer be resolved without judicial intervention. The Plaintiff, through his lawyer, must file a complaint in writing with an appropriate Court of First Instance, clearly setting out the nature of his claim, the relief sought and the allegations upon which the claim is based. The party against whom the case is filed is called the "Respondent".
Several factors are taken into account in the filing of a civil lawsuit. These include the proper designation of the case, the jurisdiction of the court, the determination of the proper parties, and many others which will make the assistance of a lawyer indispensable. Failure to properly determine any of the said factors can cause serious consequences, like the early dismissal of the suit.
Divorces, breach of contract and collection of sum of money are among the most common of civil lawsuits filed in Thailand. When these cases are filed in court, the Thai tribunals still aim for a last chance at an out-of court settlement. A preliminary hearing is set not only for the identification of issues, but more importantly for the possibility of a compromise. In some cases, courts may temporarily adjourn a case if parties are willing to settle, but may also set in motion a continuous trial on the merits should it determine that a compromise is not feasible.
All court proceedings are required to be conducted in Thai language, except in some special courts. Documents made in a foreign language must be translated into Thai. Only original documents are admissible in evidence, save in some instances. Preponderance of evidence is enough to prove one's claims in a civil suit.
Until a final adjudication of the case is reached by the court, a Thai lawyer's participation is crucial. Not only because the court proceedings are conducted in the native tongue, but because there are also remedies and practices which are atypical to the Thai judicial system. Your lawyer must be able to take you through the entire process, not only until the judgement stage at the Court of First Instance, but through possible stages of appeal with the Appeals Court and the Supreme Court.