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map courtesy CIA World Factbook; click for enlargement Constitution, Government & Legislation

Thailand is a Constitutional Monarchy. The Thai Constitution allows for a division of the government into three branches: Executive, Legislative and Judicial.

The Executive Branch has two acting heads: The King, who serves as Head or Chief of State, and The Prime Minister, who serves as Head of Government. The King has little Constitutional power. He serves more as a symbol of national identity and unity. The King is not elected, but rather comes to power through the Law of Succession. The Prime Minister is chosen from the members of the House of Representatives. The members of the House are elected by popular vote, and the member that can organize a majority coalition is chosen as Prime Minister.

The Legislative Branch is a bicameral system composed of a Senate and a House of Representatives. The members of both the House and the Senate are elected by popular vote. The House has 500 members, which serve for four year terms, and the Senate has 200 members, serving for six year terms. The two largest parties represented in government are the New Aspiration Party and the Democratic Party. There are 12 total parties represented in government today. The Communist Party is not allowed in Thailand.

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Courts & Judgments

The Thai system of justice is based on civil law. All administration of justice must conform to written legislation.

The Court system in Thailand is divided into three levels: The Courts of First Instance, The Courts of Appeal and The Supreme Court. The Courts of First Instance are scattered throughout the country. In the provinces, they are divided into Provincial Juvenile and District Courts. In Bangkok, they are divided into Civil, Criminal, Central Juvenile, Central Labor, Central Tax and District Courts. There are about 135 Courts of First Instance. The Courts of Appeal are made up of three regional courts throughout the country and one central court in Bangkok. The Supreme Court (Sandika) is the highest court, and its decisions are final. The only decisions that may be appealed are criminal decisions, where the defendant may appeal for clemency from the King. Membership of the high court is designated by the King.

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Legal Profession

Thai lawyers are called barristers; partnerships follow the English pattern. Candidates for the bar must obtain a law degree and attend a one year practical training course at the Law Society of Thailand. This leads to an examination after which successful candidates may apply for a licence. Once admitted, a Thai barrister can appear in any court in the country.

Source: Kime's Directory

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