The Specialized Court of Appeals began operating on 1 October 2016.
As previously explained in our alert earlier this year, "New Development in Thai Labour Court System", the Specialized Court of Appeals (the Court) will have the jurisdiction to handle intellectual property cases, tax cases, bankruptcy cases, juveniles and family cases and labour cases which have been appealed from the lower courts. It is hoped that the establishment of the Court will lessen the burden of the Supreme Court, as originally these specialized cases could be appealed from the lower court straight to the Supreme Court. It is important to note that although the parties could still appeal cases decided by the Court to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court panel has the power to decide whether to grant "permission" for the cases to be appealed and reconsidered. In doing so, the Supreme Court takes into account factors such as public order, public interest and conflicting judgments of the appeal court and existing Supreme Court precedents.
Due to the nature of these specialized cases, the court will be manned with judges with specialized knowledge and over 20 years of experience in certain fields of law. It is expected that judges with labour law specialization will comprise the majority of judges in the Court because labour cases account for the highest number of cases being appealed from the lower labour courts every year.
As of October 2016, more than 4,500 specialized cases have already been appealed to the Supreme Court. These cases will need to be decided by the Supreme Court. The Court, on the other hand, will handle cases decided by the lower specialized court, including the labour court, which have been accepted from 1 October 2016 onwards.