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Arbitration in Thailand

The Thai Arbitration Institute (TAI) was established to promote and develop arbitration as a dispute settlement mechanism for civil and commercial matters.

In January 2017, a much-awaited set of rules came into force. The “2017 Rules” brought about substantial changes as to how to conduct arbitrations in Thailand. The main objectives of the legislator were to improve the efficiency and consistency of the arbitrations administered by the TAI. Many procedural omissions were addressed to avoid incongruity in judicial interpretation.

Among the amendments, the Power to Grant Interim Measures was introduced (Article 39) and arbitral tribunals were conferred right to exercise discretionary powers. If before a plaintiff was only entitled to apply to Court under the Arbitration Act 2002, as of January 2017 parties can apply directly to the tribunal, which may now grant relief.

 

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Article 13 of the 2017 Rules illustrates a new and more efficient procedure for the consolidation of correlated arbitrations arising from multiple contracts. The rationale behind this revision is that by consolidating several court orders in a single hearing, the legislator aimed at increasing efficiency, improving time- and cost-effectiveness, as well as preventing inconsistencies that may arise when facts are presented to different tribunals. This article grants the tribunal a rather wide discretion and represents a milestone in Thailand’s legislation.  

 

Other important amendments to the 2003 Rules are:

  • Challenge to Appointment of Arbitrators: whereas previously the law only allowed submission of the challenges to the Thai Courts, now the 2017 Rules empower the arbitral tribunal to have general jurisdiction, unless the TAI deems it appropriate to appoint an arbitrator to rule on the challenge.
  • Procedural Timetable : the arbitral tribunal, after having consulted with the parties, will have to determine the procedural timetable no later than 30 days after having appointed the the last arbitrator and the trials may last no longer than 180 days.
  • Service by email : electronic correspondence as well as any other means of communication with record of delivery are deemed as suitable as hard-copy documents by the legislator 
  • Sole arbitrator by default : unless otherwise agreed-upon in writing, it is assumed by default that the number of arbitrators to be appointed is one.
  • Language : unless otherwise agreed-upon in writing, the language of the arbitration agreement is by default the language of the contract.
  • Confidentiality : the confidentiality of the arbitrations is not to be assumed but rather explicitly stated in the 2017 Rules.

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