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Service of Process, Obtaining Evidence and Enforcing Judgments and Arbitration Awards in Thailand from Foreign Courts

Overview: Thailand is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra-Judicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (Hague Convention). Therefore, service of process, obtaining evidence, compulsion of testimony, compulsion of documentary evidence or physical evidence, and authentication of foreign evidence can be a complicated process. In general, being unaware of Thai and relevant international and foreign laws may forestall and further complicate such processes. Contacting a law firm or representative in Thailand is advisable as early as possible in any legal proceedings in order to avoid such complications.

Service of Process: Service of Process of Foreign Subpoena Within Thailand: There are four major issues with regard to service of process in Thailand: (1) Is the service legal pursuant to the foreign laws and (2) Is the service legal pursuant to Thailand law? And is the service enforceable in Thailand? (3) What are the conflict of law issues?

(1) Is the service legal pursuant to Foreign Law? There is a split in jurisdictions on this question. Some jurisdictions (including many US states) allow service by certified mail or by the execution of a return of service form prepared by the person serving the documents. Many US states require that the person serving the documents speak English. Other jurisdictions require that the service be pursuant to local (Thailand) laws.

(2) Is the Service Legal Pursuant to Thai law? The relevant provision is Section 70 of the Civil Procedure Code:

All plaints, summonses and other writs, and all orders and decrees of the Court shall be served by an officer of the Court on the parties or any third person concerned; however (1) subpoenas for witnesses shall be served directly by the party on whose behalf the witnesses are summoned, unless the Court otherwise orders or the witnesses refuse to accept the subpoenas; in such case, the subpoenas shall be served by an officer of the Court. (2) any order or decree of the Court, including orders fixing the day of hearing or of taking evidence, as the case may be, or an order for adjournment, shall, if the parties or persons concerned are present in Court at the time when it is issued and have affixed their signatures in cognisance thereof, be deemed to have been served according to law. "In case of plaints, the plaintiff shall pay the fees for service, and he shall or shall not procure the service as he thinks fit, unless the Court shall order him to have the duty to procure the service thereof. In case of summonses, other writs, orders or decrees of the Court issued upon the application of any party, if the Court does not order him to procure service also, such party shall only pay the fees for service. In any other case, it shall be the duty of the Court to secure service on the party or person concerned."

Part 2