Friday, December 20, 2013

Child Abduction Law in Thailand



Child abduction issues arise when one parent removes a child from the child’s habitual residence country in a custody dispute.

Thailand family attorney, Jiraporn Thongpong explains, “parental custody rights in Thailand are set out in the Thailand Civil Code and other Thai laws. The Thai court will look at the “best interest of the child” when considering custody cases. Traditionally child abduction cases have been handled as domestic law matters according to the Thailand Civil Code. However, Thailand Parliament has recently enacted the Thailand Abduction Act”.

Jiraporn continues, with the passing of the Thailand Abduction Act, Thailand will now have authority to enforce actual custody rights in international custody cases pursuant to the Hague Convention. Although Thailand has been a signatory to the Hague Convention on Child Abduction for many years, Thailand has only recently passed a domestic law to allow enforcement of the provisions of the Treaty within Thailand

According to Abduction Act, a parent would have the right to file a complaint for the return of a Child to the Child’s State of habitual residence if the other parent breached the Parent’s custody rights and removed the Child from the Country of their normal residence.




Monday, December 9, 2013

D-Day in Bangkok

Although the protests in Bangkok have now been ongoing for a few weeks, Monday 9 December, was set to see the largest amount of people take to the streets yet. Whilst accurate numbers have yet to be confirmed, with different sources citing different numbers, one thing that is certain is that today has marked the biggest protest seen in Thai history. 

This morning, present Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved parliament and confirmed that an election would be called. The anti government protests, led by Suthep Thaugsuban of the People's Democratic Reform Committee however still continued. 

This video by Thai law forum shows footage and interviews with some of the protesters of the anti government protests from Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok, Thailand on Monday 9 December 2013:



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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Mahouts Oppose New Legislation



Elephant owners in Thailand are protesting against plans to treat domesticated animals the same as those born in the wild  reports English CNTV.

Thailand’s wildlife authorities now want to change the law, so they can supervise all elephants, both wild and domesticated. 

Read our full report here

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Flickr photo credit: Hktang

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thais Protest Against Amnesty Bill



Thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets of Bangkok to protest against Thailand's controversial amnesty bill
Thailand Law Firm 
Chaninat and Leeds specialize in Thai and international law

The amnesty applies to offences committed during the tumult after Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted in a coup, and could allow the return of the former PM who is in presently living in Dubai as part of a self imposed exile.
This video shows footage of the protest on Monday 4 November 2013 outside Silom MRT and Urupong:



The protests are set continue for the rest of this week. For more information on them, check here 


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Starbucks Sues Thai Street Vendor



Coffee heavyweight, Starbucks have taken a Bangkok street vendor to Court claiming his logo is a breach of their own.

Starbucks are arguing that they obtained an injunction under Thailand copyright law against the vendor in September preventing him from continuing 
to use the logo.

The hearing was due to begin on Monday, but the brothers failed to show. They have now been ordered by the Court to attend on 18 November.

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Flickr photo credit: tsuh 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Brunei To Introduce Sharia Law From April 2014 Onwards



The Sultan of Brunei announced on Monday 28 October 2013 that he will begin to phase in Shariah laws from April 2014 onwards. This will include the more controversial elements such as death by stoning for adultery, the amputation of limbs for theft, flogging for alcohol consumption and abortion, and other punishments reports Kansas City lifestyle.

Read our commentary here 

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Thai Mahouts Against Elephant Ownership Bill



Yesterday, mahouts gathered with their elephants at Ayutthaya's elephant corral to persuade the government not to approve the draft Wild Animals Preservation and Protection Bill reported The Nation.

The bill has been driven by the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department who say their aim is to prevent the poaching and illegal trade of elephants.
Thailand Attorney   

Chaninat and Leeds specialize in local and international law in Thailand 
A public forum is being held on the draft bill, which will be considered by Parliament at a later date. The mahouts have also called on the government to remove Natural Resources and Environment Vice Minister Damrong Phidet from his current position after he showed support for the draft bill. 

General members of the public in Bangkok recently took part in a march to highlight the illegal ivory trade. Similar marches were held in cities across the world. 

Read the full story here.

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Flickr photo credit: rubenI

Lampang Crash Victims Should Receive Compensation Next Week



The Nation has today announced that the victims from Wednesday nights bus accident in Lampang will receive five million baht (160,726 USD or 99,000 GBP as at October 2013 exchange rate) in compensation between them.

The money should be paid to those injured and the families of the deceased within a week. Chiang Mai Transport Office chief Chanchai Kilapaeng confirmed that the bus had undergone a maintenance check on September 30, which found that its systems, including brakes, were working as normal.

Thailand personal injury lawyer, Jiraporn Thongphong commented on hearing the news, "the injured passengers are very lucky that on this occasion, the bus company, Weerapan Tour and Travel Limited Partnership, had insured them which will cover any medical costs which can be very expensive in Thailand”

Read the full article here

Related Articles: The Non-Pecuniary Damages in Wrongful Acts Causing Bodily Harm and Death:  The Comparative Study on U.S. and Thailand Laws


Flickr photo credit: dineshobreja 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Rihanna's Helping Thai Police Crack Down on Crime



As a dedicated tweeter, it is not surprising that Rihanna shared her recent trip to Phuket, Thailand with her followers. What she perhaps might not have anticipated however was that her tweets led to three arrests being made. 

She assisted with the first arrest, but tweeting a picture of herself with a loris on the streets of Phuket. This quickly led to the arrest of two men for possessing a protected animal.

This weekend, police arrested an owner of a bar after Rihanna posted tweets describing a sex show she had seen. The owner faces charges for obscenity and running an entertainment venue without the proper license.

We are sure the police would be grateful Rihanna if you visited Thailand again soon!

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Flickr photo credit: Avrilllllllllla 

Stop The Ivory Trade: Bangkok's March For Elephants

Bangkok joined in the International March for elephants on 4 October. Around 20 cities joined in worldwide as part of an awareness campaign run by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Ivory can be seen in many places around Bangkok and the rest of Thailand for sale. It is often intimated that ivory only comes from elephants that are already dead, but this is not the case. Every fifteen minutes, another elephant is killed so poachers can use their tusks.

Here is footage from the march highlighting this very important issue:


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Friday, September 13, 2013

Public Opinion Same Sex Marriage in Thailand




As we discussed recently, Thailand has been hitting worldwide headlines thanks to speculation it will be the first Asian country to legalize same sex marriage.

When the story first broke, we sought the opinions of some Thai people, many of whom had not heard the rumours, but those who had were doubtful the that same sex marriage in Thailand would ever be legalized because predominantly it remained a very conservative society.

We were intrigued to follow up on this opinion, so we took to the streets of Bangkok and asked a mixture of Thais and foreigners their thoughts. Reactions were encouraging, with all saying same gay marriage should be legalized in Thailand. Nearly all of the foreigners explained they believed Thailand to be a very open society, and saw no problem with gay marriage becoming the law here. One Russian man we spoke too agreed that Thailand was still quiet a conservative society which could be an issue, and this was echoed by most of the Thai public that we spoke too. 

Watch the video here:



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Friday, September 6, 2013

More Americans Giving Up Their Passports



It has been reported by CNN Money that an increasing amount of American citizens are giving up their passports thanks firstly to a new disclosure law and secondly many Americans living abroad are said to have grown tired at the cumbersome tax filing procedures.

America requires all of its citizens to pay income tax, regardless of where it was earned and whether that person lives in the US.

The U.S. is  preparing to implement the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, a new law that requires foreign institutions to report all assets owned by Americans.
The objective of the measure is to recoup some of the hundreds of billions the government claims to lose each year in unpaid taxes. Individuals with overseas assets are also required to file additional forms.
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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Red Bull Heir Arrest



A human rights lawyer and former senator has criticized legal authorities for acting dishonestly in the red bull hit-and-run case reports the Bangkok Post

The heir to the Red Bull energy drink fortune is facing an arrest warrant after failing to report to prosecutors on 6 separate occasions to hear indictments against him for a traffic incident in 2012 which killed a police officer.

Thailand Criminal Defense Lawyer 

Chaninat and Leeds specialize in criminal defense law in Thailand 

Mr Vorayudh is presently in Singapore, and his lawyers said he was too sick to attend Monday's hearing. However Mr Warin said Mr Vorayudh could go into hiding overseas and wait until the statute of limitations in the case expires in 15 years. He would then be free to return to Thailand. 

Prosecutors said on Monday they were intending send a letter to notify the police about their decision to issue an arrest warrant for Mr Vorayudh. Once the arrest warrant is out, the police may then be able to arrange to have him extradited to Thailand.

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Flickr photo credit: viZZZual 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Risks of Buying A Condo In Thailand



There are many reasons why expatriates end up living in Thailand – be it placement by their companies, retirement, or simply feeling Thailand offers a better quality of life than their home country.

Buying a condo (apartment) in Thailand is an attractive option for many foreigners predominantly because there are less nationality restrictions with Thailand condominium laws than with land ownership.


Thailand real estate laws do not provide as many consumer protections as with most western jurisdictions. Thailand is very much a "Buyer Beware" jurisdiction. For example, in Thailand, real estate agents are not licensed and title insurance is not commonly used.

There are many skeletons of unfinished constructions in Bangkok. One of the most famous ones is on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, which was left unfurnished after the 1997 Asian financial crisis.  

Stories about property fraud, scams and inequitable property agreements are more frequent. A few years ago on Koh Samui. Government investigations into land companies on the island revealed that thousands of plots of land had been illegally issued title deeds. Deeds for measurements of land exceeded the amount of land on the entire island, and encroachment and development of state-protected reserves was revealed.

Less dramatic cases of real estate misrepresentation and fraud can involve foreign clients discovering that their purchased property lacked promised (and paid for) amenities, including water pipes and sanitation systems. 

If you are thinking about buying “off plan” i.e. a condo that has not yet been built then again think very carefully. Although you are more likely to secure a better price, such purchases carry far greater risk

Therefore if you are looking to buy a condo in Thailand, you would be well advised to seek legal advice from a qualified Thailand real estate attorney. A thorough due diligence by a qualified attorney offers potential purchasers a good measure of protection from real estate fraud and misrepresentation.

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Top 10 Most Expensive Celebrity Divorces



It was announced last week that Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas have decided to separate after more than 10 years of marriage. If they decide to make things more permanent and divorce, it could be the most expensive divorce in history.

Celebrity divorces tend to be more expensive and complicated than "normal" divorces due to the amount of size of assets and wealth involved.

Thailand Divorce Attorney 

Chaninat and Leeds are specialist divorce attorneys 

Bold sky have this week compiled a list of the most expensive divorces in history. Rupert and Anna Murdoch so far top the list.

Although litigation can be an unpredictable process and the laws of different countries may vary, an individual with significant assets, or even an individual who is merely careful about his/her financial future, may find it beneficial to have a prenuptial agreement. In the event of a divorce, a prenuptial agreement can assist with dividing the marital assets. Thailand prenuptial agreements differ from western prenuptial agreements in that they are null and invalid unless they are registered before the marriage. 

Read the whole list here 

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Relevant Articles:
Prenuptial Agreements: US Law, Thailand Law and EU Law ComparedInternational Prenuptial Agreements: Conflicts of Law in the United StatesEuropean Prenuptial Agreements and the Hague ConventionPrenuptial Agreements in Japan - the Devil’s in the Details

Flickr photo credit: david_shankbone 

Gay Marriage in Thailand


There has been much in the press the last few months reporting that gay marriage in Thailand is due to be legalized making it the first country in Asia to do so.

In fact just last week an article was published confirming that 4000 public signatures had been collected in support of its legalization. In Thailand, 10,000 public signatures are required to get a parliamentary reading of the draft bill.
Thailand Marriage Lawyers 
Chaninat and Leeds specialize in marriage law in Thailand 
However it is important to appreciate that the petition has been ongoing since 2012, and still does not have half of the required signatures.

Although Thailand is a very accepting country not least with the large transgender community, most Thais are conservative at heart and proposals to allow same sex marriage in Thailand would be the ultimate test of their tolerance.

Indeed when we asked some the Thai general public, most hadn't heard about the proposal, and those who had said it was not being widely reported by the Thai media and didn't believe it would ever become a reality.

Whilst we are very much in favor of the draft bill, we feel it is important to present the reality of what is known in Thailand.

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Flickr photo credit: teamstickergiant

1.8 Million Pound Divorce Settlement Set Aside



Courts in the UK have set aside a 1.8 million pound settlement agreement, after it was discovered the husband had not made full financial disclosure about all of his personal assets. 

The couple cannot be named, but the judge has told the husband he may now have to pay more after a judge ruled that couples have a duty to be honest with each other when making such deals reports The Telegraph
Thailand Divorce Lawyers 
Chaninat and Leeds specialize in divorce law in Thailand 
The Court heard that the businessman had shares worth up to £740,000 in one company which had a £50 million turnover but that he had told his wife the company was not trading and therefore had a ‘nil value.’

When couples divorce in Thailand, separate property, namely assets and property acquired before marriage, generally remains the property of the owner. Assets and property acquired during marriage are commonly considered community property with both spouses having ownership rights.  

Read the whole article here 

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Divorce:Marriage and Divorce in Thailand: When Love Turns DeadlyThailand Marriage and Divorce: Thai Dream or Foreigner’s Nightmare?



Monday, August 26, 2013

Detention of David Miranda



My colleague asked me this morning if I was interested in recording a video about David Miranda's detention.

David Miranda is the partner of Glenn Greenwald, who is better known as the journalist responsible for writing the stories in the Guardian about Edward Snowden.

However this week David was detained at Heathrow airport for just under nine hours under the UK Terrorism Act. He was passing through Heathrow on transit on his way home to Brazil. 

Schedule 7 gives officers power to question a person at an airport if they believe the person concerned involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

There appears to be no that authorities truly believed that Miranda is a terrorist, which suggests that his detention and questioning at Heathrow is down to the Snowden story.

Thailand Criminal Defense Lawyer 

Chaninat and Leeds specializes in international criminal cases in Thailand

Schedule 7 does not provide authority to detain and question partners of journalists simply because the state disapproves of the articles written by said journalist or the source of the information. 

This got me thinking whilst I was researching the story. I live and work in Thailand, but will be visiting friends and family in the UK over Christmas. However I have no desire to be detained by UK authorities when I land at Manchester airport.

Now clearly Greenwald is a much bigger fish to fry than me, but he has suggested this week that the detention of his partner was purely for intimidation reasons. The fact that it led to me question with my colleague whether this was a story I should step away from suggests that if this was the objective, then it has clearly worked.

The news this week has certainly made me question just how much further are authorities going to abuse their power in the future?
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Flickr photo credit: eGuide Travel

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Thailand Shooter Blames Mother In Law To Be



Tasaphol Haekla, 35, has allegedly claimed during interrogation that he killed Kewelin Hongthong, 28,  and her mother Wimol Hongthong, 48 when the latter tried to stop their wedding by increasing the sin sod, (bride price for her daughter), from 500,000 baht to 2 million baht report the Bangkok Post.

Police arrested the alleged killer in the Cambodian tourist town of Siem Reap on Monday, four days after he killed and her mother at a garage in Chon Buri’s Muang district.

Thailand Criminal Lawyer
Chaninat and Leeds specialize in Thailand criminal defense law 

He said his fiancee's mother told her daughter she had to stop seeing him once he explained he could not afford the sin sod. He then apparently told police that he had initially only intended to kill his future mother in law.


Tasaphol said he danced his way out of the crime scene because he felt released from pressure and did not know he had been caught on the garage’s security camera. He claimed he did not mean to ridicule the victims.

Under Thailand family law, betrothal is not valid until the man gives or transfers property known as a khongman. This serves as evidence the marriage will take place. A sin sod is given to the parents, adopted parents or guardian of the woman, in exchange for her agreement to marry.

Read the full story here

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Rights For Transgender Californian School Children



California has become the first US state to enshrine rights for transgender schoolchildren.

The new law requires public schools to allow pupils from kindergarten to the 12th grade to access male or female toilets according to their preference. The legislation also allows transgender schoolchildren to choose whether to play boys' or girls' sports.

Thailand US Immigration Lawyers 

Chaninat and Leeds specialize in US immigration law 

Supporters heralded it a great day for equal rights.

Despite Thailand being renowned for its tolerance and acceptance of the gay and transgender community, Thailand attorneys say very little legal protection is afforded to such individuals.

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Flickr photo credit: Tom Pearce

Texas Divorce Relies On Unique Immigration Clause



We suspect Steve Summers is now long regretting signing the affidavit in support of his bride, Mexico-born Evangelina Zapata's US residency application, for according to Fox News Latino, she is now using the very same document against him to claim alimony.

Thailand Divorce Law 

Thailand Attorneys, Chaninat and Leeds specializes in Thai and international divorce law 

Mr Summers signed an affidavit vowing to support Ms Zapata so that she would not become a “public charge” but she is now arguing that he should support her at 125% of the federal poverty level unless she becomes a U.S. citizen, works for approximately 10 years in a job which pays into the Social Security system, or fails to keep the permanent legal residency status.

US Immigration Attorneys warn that people need to pay attention to this case and remember the implications signing such an affidavit can bring. 

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

US Divorce Feud Spans 17 Years



A 17-year legal fight between two law professors over their divorce and continuing disputes has received sharp criticism from judges who say the former spouses are setting a bad example, or rather a good exmaple of how exactly not to behave in a courtroom. .

The feud between University of Cincinnati professor Christo Lassiter, 56, and his former wife Sharlene Boltz, 52, has lasted seven years longer than the couple's 10-year marriage. 
Thailand Divorce Law 
Chaninat and Leeds specialize in Thai and international divorces 
Historical issues were with regards to the couples two children, now 17 and 20, but it is understood than financial issues are yet to be resolved. 

A new hearing date has been scheduled for 6 September. 

Generally speaking, if one or both spouses are currently residing in Thailand a divorce can be petitioned under Thailand family law. If the divorce is jointly requested, the divorce proceedings should be relatively simple. If one of the parties is unwilling or unable to proceed in the divorce proceedings, the legal process of filing for a divorce in Thailand then becomes more complicated. Thailand is a "Community Property" jurisdiction. When a couple divorces in Thailand, separate property (sin suan tua), namely assets and property acquired before marriage, generally remains the property of the owner.

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Friday, August 9, 2013

Attorney Admits Prostitution And Agrees To License Suspension



State records show that an attorney who had sex in exchange for office supplies for her legal practice, pleaded guilty to prostitution charges and has now agreed to have her law license suspended for three years, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Reema Bajaj pleaded guilty last year in DeKalb County to a misdemeanor count of prostitution for an encounter that occurred before she became an attorney. Bajaj became infamous on the internet when she was initially charged.  
Thailand Criminal Defense Lawyer 
Chaninat and Leeds specialize in criminal defense cases in Thailand 
The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission accuses Bajaj of criminal conduct and making false statements in both a disciplinary matter and on her application to the bar by not admitting her work as a call girl.

Times are obviously tough for lawyers in the US! 

Read the full story here 

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Simon Cowell Named In New York Divorce



It will have been impossible to have missed the recent headlines that Simon Cowell has been named in divorce papers. New York divorce law is one of the few American states that still allows a for cause divorce with adultery being a commonly plead cause.

However, this week it has been revealed that adultery is also a criminal misdemeanor under New York criminal law, and if convicted an individual can face up to 3 months imprisonment. It is highly unlikely that Simon would however face prosecution.

In Thailand divorce law, for cause divorces are also permitted if one spouse does not agree to the divorce. There are many different grounds for divorce in Thailand  which can also be pleaded.   A contested divorce however requires a judgment from the Court. If the petitioning spouse is now living abroad, a Thailand lawyer can file a divorce claim on their behalf.  However, they must appear in person when the divorce claim is heard by the court.

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Marriage and Divorce in Thailand: When Love Turns DeadlyThailand Marriage and Divorce: Thai Dream or Foreigner’s Nightmare?