The Thai court system is a bit different to those on the Westminster type system. As Thai laws had not originated out of the British legal system it might in some parts resemble it but they are different. Thailand does not have a jury system like they have in the United States. There is a judge or judges who specialize in the dispute at hand. Hence Thailand much like other British legal systems have special courts outside of the normal courts.
If you wish to see the legal system in action then spend a month at a law firm in Thailand as an intern to see the workings of the system. Many Western lawyers new to laws in Asia to this on a regular bases in Thailand and Honk Kong.
The general courts are divided into the following sections:
- Civil Courts
- Criminal Courts
- Municipal Courts
- Provincial Courts
Each province in Thailand has its own provinical courts and municipal courts. As Bangkok is such a large city, it is split into two sections. All matters are heared in the Bangkok Court, however any matters in the Northern parts of Bangkok will be heared by the Minburi Court. So if you are arrested in Silom, you will be sent to Bangkoks Provinical Court, yet if you are arrested in say Bangkapi you will appear before the Minburi court. Here we are talking about provincial courts and not municipal courts.
The municipal courts in Thailand are there to hear smaller matters. These are matters where the civil claim does not exceed 300,000 Baht, or the fine or prison sentence does not exceed 3 years or a fine exceeding 60,000 Baht.
Another difference between the municipal courts and that of the general courts are that in the general court these has to be two judges where as in the case of the municipal court you only need one judge to hear the case.