Do you know your rights under Thailand’s laws?


Do you know your rights under Thailand’s laws? This was the opening question from Drew Noyes, managing director of PAPPA Co., Ltd. Law Office, at the Pattaya City Expats Club weekly meeting on August 14 at the Amari’s Tavern by the Sea restaurant. Drew was introduced by member Harry “Sig” Sigworth. Sig pointed out many of Drew’s accomplishments and that he is not only a long term member of the Club, but was its first chairman. He has operated businesses in Thailand for many years and through his law office had a lot of experience dealing with the Thai judicial system.

Drew mentioned that when he first came to Thailand, it was as an investment banker with no specific plans to settle in Thailand.  Since he came here, he said he has learned a lot including the cultural conflict between a westerner and a Thai in that a westerner approaches situations with his brain; whereas a Thai will do so with their heart.  Consequently, because of this difference it is harder for a westerner to understand Thais and their application of the law.

Former PCEC chairman, and founder of PAPPA Law Office, Drew Noyes tells members about the legal conference coming up sponsored by Pattaya City Hall. Former PCEC chairman, and founder of PAPPA Law Office, Drew Noyes tells members about the legal conference coming up sponsored by Pattaya City Hall.

In answer to his opening question on the rights of a foreigner under Thai law, Drew said that many would be surprised to learn that except for some narrowly defined exclusions, it is the same for a foreigner as it is for a Thai. Under Thai law, both foreigners and Thais will be treated the same.

He said that the chief judge of the provincial court in conjunction with the city administration and his law office felt that it would be very beneficial to the expat community to gain a better understanding of Thai law and the Thai judicial system. Consequently, they have undertaken the organization of a seminar on Thai criminal law to be presented to foreigners and conducted in English. The panelists will be judges from the Chonburi Provincial Court, including Chief Judge Visit Sripibool. They will discuss Thai Criminal Law and the Thai Judicial process.

The judges are imminently qualified and experienced. Additionally, all have received advanced law degrees in the USA or UK; so they are conversant in English and will be able to explain the similarities and differences between the laws and judicial system in those countries and in Thailand.

Drew emphasized that this first seminar will cover criminal law and not civil law. It should provide insights into Thai criminal procedures and legal system; with a crucial part being to know how to manage yourself if by chance you are arrested.

Drew said that he is working on organizing two more seminars for a later date. One will be on civil law – divorce, contracts, wills, etc.  The other will be on property law.  During his presentation, Drew provided some interesting insights into the Thai legal system and how it is impacted by Thai culture.

After Drew answered several questions from the audience, Richard Silverberg brought everyone up to date on upcoming events and called on Steve Ashkinos to conduct the always informative and sometime humorous Open Forum where questions are asked and answered about Expat living in Thailand, recommendations for restaurants and movies are made, an and perhaps a joke or two are told.