CLASS ACTION LAWSUITS IN THAILAND

by Magna Carta Law Office

 What is Class Action?

Class action is a case procedure that allows a large number of people or a group of plaintiffs with the same rights deriving from the same facts and legal principle to present a complaint to the Court. The Court, therefore, passes a judgment showing the rights of the plaintiff and the members of the class.

What is the difference between Class Action and Ordinary Action?

In Ordinary Action, the interested person must join as the party in a case or interplead to be a party in the case after the Plaintiff has filed the lawsuit. The interested person must appear in the court procedure themselves or authorize a representative to appear in the court procedure, which then has corresponding expenses and complications.

On the other hand, Class action only needs the representative of the class of persons to be the Plaintiff on behalf of a large number of injured parties. Consequently, it is more convenient than the ordinary action. All the class members shall be bonded with the court judgment. In case a member does not want to be bonded with the judgment, he/she can show the intention to opt-out of the class action within the prescribed period. The prescribed or limitation period ends when the court allows for class action, or when the parties agreed to make a compromise agreement or has agreed to go for arbitration.

What happens after a person opted-out of the class?

A person who opted-out of the class has the right to file a separate lawsuit and pursue individual claims. Moreover, he/she cannot file a motion to intervene or join as a plaintiff in the class action.

What kinds of lawsuits are eligible for class action?

According to the Thailand Civil Procedure Code, where there are numerous members of a class, the plaintiff, who is a member of the class may request for a class action on the following cases:

  1. Tort cases;
  2. Breach of contract cases; and
  3. Cases claiming various legal rights such as the law concerning the environment, the protection of consumers, labour, stocks and stock markets, trade competition.

The court may allow a case to proceed as a Class Action in the following conditions:

  1. The nature of the claim and of relief applied for, as well as the allegation on which the plaintiff’s claim is based and of the class of persons with the same characteristics as the plaintiff;
  2. The plaintiff has demonstrated the same unique characteristics of the class of persons which are sufficiently clear for the class to be acknowledged, such as all members bought stocks in the same period of time, etc.;
  3. The class is so numerous that to conduct a case as an ordinary case shall be complicated and impractical. Since the minimum amount of the members of the class is not specified in the law, the court shall consider about the convenience and complication if the members go on ordinary action;
  4. To conduct the case as a class action is more just and efficient than as an ordinary case;
  5. The plaintiff has demonstrated that the plaintiff is a member of a class with the characteristics, interests, including the acquisition of the right to be a member of the class as prescribed by the President of the Supreme Court, if any; and the plaintiff, including the counsel that the plaintiff proposes to be the counsel for the class is able to conduct a the case in such a way as to justly and sufficiently protect the right of the class of persons.
  6. The lawyer must have enough capability to protect the rights of all the members of the class and must honestly perform as lawyer.

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