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Mediation in the Administrative Court of Thailand: Experiences and Current Situation
Mediation in the Administrative Court of Thailand: Experiences and Current Situation

1.Preface

     The Administrative Court of Thailand has the authority and duty to perform a judicial review of the legality of administrative acts. It has the competency to try and adjudicate cases involving disputes between an administrative agency or State official and a private individual, or between an administrative agency and a State official. Disputes may be in connection with the issuance of a by-law, order or any other act; with the neglect of official duties required by law or the performance of such duties with unreasonable delay; or with an administrative contract.
     The Act on Establishment of the Administrative Courts and Administrative Court Procedure B.E.2542 (1999) has no provision determining the Administrative Court’s power and duties in relation to using mediation to settle disputes. Therefore, the court tries and adjudicates cases in relation to damages and remedies to plaintiffs. For example, if the court is of the opinion that an administrative order issued by a State official is unlawful; the court will revoke such order. If the State official neglects official duties required by law to be performed, the court will issue an order requesting the relevant administrative agency to perform the duties within a specified time fixed by the court. If an administrative act is the cause of damages to a plaintiff, the court may issue an order requesting an administrative agency to pay for damages claimed for tort liability or to pay compensation for damages relating to a lawful act which has no tort liability.
     The Thai Administrative Court has been operating now for 18 years. During that time, a number of administrative judges have noticed that in some cases the plaintiffs misunderstood the facts of the case and that if they had been provided with accurate information they would not have filed their case against administrative agencies or State officials. In other cases, the period of time required to try a case and deliver a decision meant that the plaintiff could not be remedied for damages in time. In other cases, even though the final decision was made in time, the compensation for damages awarded could not compensate the plaintiffs completely or permanently. Consequently, in the interest of justice, the judges (judges-rapporteur) in charge of these cases have strived to find the optimal solution within the extent of their own power and duties. The court ordering the parties concerned to give statements can also present an opportunity to provide them with accurate information. The parties concerned can understand the problems or restrictions that the other party must deal with. This can provide an opportunity to negotiate and jointly settle the dispute. So, the giving of statements by parties concerned can, in fact, be a mediation procedure which occurs during the court inquiry.


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