Glossary of terms used on this site

Thailand related terms (legal and practical).

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Term Main definition

voluntary sexual intercourse between a married man or woman and someone he or she is not married to giving grounds for divorce in Thailand

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
affirmation of marital status

foreigners getting married in Thailand require an Affirmation of Marital Status (affidavit of freedom to marry). This is a statement certified by your embassy stating that you are legally free to marry. After it is signed by your embassy it must be translated to Thai by a licensed translator and legalized by the legalization division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand. In this form it is an official document required to register your marriage with the district office (Amphur) in Thailand.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Synonyms - Affidavit of freedom to marry

payment allowance for a spouse (or legitimate child) after separation or divorce (maintenance)

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online

The local government district administrative office for public matters and services between the government and people who are registered as having their domicile in their district (marriage, birth, death, divorce, address registration, etc.). Amphurs make up a province and are subdivided in Tambons.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Synonyms - ampoe
usually refers to declaring a marriage invalid by the formal declaration that annuls the marriage. In Thailand under Thai law a marriage can be declared void and declared invalid pursuant the sections 1494 to 1500 civil and commercial code.
Author - Thailand Lawyer Online

A unit designed for use as a dwelling in a multi unit building occupied by more than one household. When registered as a condominium with the Thailand Land Department offering individual private ownership of the units and joint ownership of the common parts of the property, without registion as a condominium the building usually remains owned by the developer offering rent of the units to different tenants.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Synonyms - condo
Appraised value

The official government assessed property value for a specific real property in Thailand based on a calculation method set by the Land Department and the Treasury Department and is adjusted every 4 years based on market conditions. Is among others used to determine the (minimum) amount of property or transfer tax that must be paid.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online

The Thailand 'association' as a legal entity (or juristic person) is created for conducting any activity which is to be done continuously and collectively by persons other than that of sharing profits or incomes earned, pursuant to sections 78 to 136 Civil and Commercial Code.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
bearer share

Share owned by the person who holds the share certificate without registration of the shareholder who is in possession of the share certificate and transferable only by delivery.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online

A mutual promise to marry or official engagement, under Thai law (section 1435) the act of a man promising to marry a woman made official by a gift (khongman) to his Thai fiancée (section 1437) and could include a gift (sinsod) to the woman's (fiancée) parents.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Synonyms - engagement

marrying one person while still legally married to another (not permitted in Thailand under section 1452 Civil Code and a criminal offense under section 137 of the Penal Code).

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Birth certificate

document issued by the Amphur or district office when the baby is registered (registration of birth must be done within 30 days of birth), foreigners residing in Thailand giving birth to a baby should contact their country's embassy or consulate.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online

A person, on completion of twenty years of age ceases to be a minor and becomes a person who is capable of managing one's own affairs and who has all the rights and is not under the power of another.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online

This is a certificate for ownership of land (and unit in a condominium) issued by the Thailand Land Department. In essence it is the only true freehold ownership title deed and contains the name of the owner (including previous owners if any), location of the land (floor of the condo), an area map showing the boundaries on all four sides (or condo) and on the backside an index of registration.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Child custody

Thai legal term (legal custody) which is used to describe the legal and practical relationship between a parent and a child

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
civil law

Codified system of private law, body of laws primariy dealing with the relationships between natural and juristic persons, civil law as the written source of law as opposed to (common law) judge made law, finding its origin in ancient Rome.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Common-law marriage

A marriage not formalized in the customary manner as prescribed by law but recognized as a valid marriage after a period of time in which a man and a woman have cohabited and presented themselves as husband and wife. 

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Competent Authority

The competent government official or person appointed by law with the power to perform a designated function.


a multi unit residential building where persons are able to hold personal freehold ownership of the unit and joint ownership in common areas of the building. What defines a condominium, as opposed to general multi unit apartment buildings, is the form of  ownership.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
contract law

laws and jurisprudence that govern agreements which is systematically codified and structured in the civil and commercial code of Thailand and further specified by court decisions giving the meaning and interpretation of words and sections of written laws.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online

Basically referring to the permission to reproduce photographs, text and other copyright protected material

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
criminal law
Codified system of law, or body of laws, penal laws, dealing with the punishment of offenders prescribing offense against 'the public' or against another persona and prescribing a penalty for one who violates it.
Author - Thailand Lawyer Online

a parent with the legal right to make decisions about the child's upbringing (parentage sections 1536 to 1584 civil code)

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
short or abbreviation of 'Department of Business Development' of the Ministry of Commerce responsible among others for the registration and administration of companies and partnerships in Thailand
Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
De Cujus

civil law term in relation to inheritance and sussession laws of the deceased as the testator 

Del credere

Italian for believe or trust. Legal term for an arrangement in which an agent takes possession and agrees to sell goods for another and who guarantees that a buyer is trustworthy and, in case the buyer defaults, compensates the principal.


the legal procedure that formally terminates marriage, in Thailand the legal dissolution of a marriage is governed by sections 1501 and following sections of the chapter 'termination of marriage' (civil code)

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online

means that you have previously been married and that marriage has been legally dissolved by a court or other competent authority

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online

under thai law the domicile of a natural person is the place where he has his principal residence. Also one's legal residence or the place where a person has his permanent principal home (section 37 civil and commercial code).

Due diligence
preparation and investigation with a certain standard of care and caution into a real property, person or business before involving in an investment or entering into a contract with another party.
Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
En ventre sa mere

French language for 'In his/her mother's womb' or 'in his/her mother's belly'. Standard legal language and refers to the unborn child (fetus in utero) which is accepted to be a minor, provided it is subsequently born alive. Found for example in section 15 Thailand Civil and Commercial Code second paragraph: 'the unborn child (in his mother's womb) is capable of rights provided that it is thereafter born alive.'


money or other goods transferred to a neutral third party licensed under the Thailand Business Escrow Act and held by this party (usually financial institution) on behalf of contract parties pending fulfilment of some condition of a contract...


in relation to inheritance and wills meaning the person or institution appointed to carry out the terms of a will. The will administrator or executor is responsible for the payment of any debts and to distribute the remaining assets of the testators wishes or according to inheritance and succession laws when there is no last will or testament.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Synonyms - administrator
Family Law

The area of law that deals with family relationships, rights, duties (particularly marriage, adoption, divorce, custody, maintenance), or more general, laws dealing with matters of impact on family relationships. 

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
FET form

The official statement by a licensed financial institution in Thailand (Thai bank) to report the remittance and exchange of foreign currencies into Thai baht under reporting requirements of the Bank of Thailand. Source: samuiforsale


Term in contract law, refraining from doing something that one has a legal right to do, giving of further time for repayment of an obligation or agreement (not to enforce a claim at its due date).

Force majeure

Standard legal language (French) referring to an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond control of parties. The risks beyond the reasonable control of a party such as war and natural disasters (act of god) that could not be evaded through the exercise of due care and which is not a product or result of the negligence or malfeasance. In the Thailand Civil and Commercial Code it is described as 'any event the happening or pernicious result of which could not be prevented even though a person against whom it happened or threatened to happen were to take such appropriate care as might be expected from him in his situation and in such condition' (section 8).

Foreign Business

Foreign nationals and foreign companies are restricted or prohibited from operating businesses in Thailand primarily in the Foreign Business act, for certain categories foreigners/ foreign companies may be granted a foreign business licence or may be granted an exemption based on a treaty or specific act (like the Investment Promotion Act).

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online

A foundation in Thailand is a juristic entity registered under the provivions of the civil and commercial code. A nonprofit charitable organization that will donate funds to public charity, religious, art, scientific, education or other purpose for the public benefit and not for sharing profits (section 110 civil and commercial code).

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online

As a legal term (in for example use and fruits as in usufruct) it refers to natural fruits such as natural production, offspring obtained from a thing and legal fruit such as interest (rent) obtained periodically by the owner from another person for the use of the thing.


a person who is entrusted by law and who has the legal right and responsibility of taking care of someone who cannot take care of him or herself (such as a child who has no parents or parents deprived of their parental powers may be provided with a guardian). Guardianship is in Thailand governed by sections 1585 to 1598/18 civil code.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online

Right of Habitation (อาศัย arsai) as a legal term refers to the rights granted under sections 1402 to 1409 of the Civil and Commercial Code governing this personal real right of dwelling gratuitously in a house of another person

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online

This refers to someone who is entitled to inherit a deceased person's part, portion or entire estate according to the deceased person's legal last will or the laws of succession and inheritance (read more...).

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Immigration Law
the Immigration Act determines among others whether a person is a foreigner (non-Thai), and associated legal rights, duties, and obligations of foreigners in Thailand. It also provides rules for entering and departing Thailand and rules by which foreigners can enter Thailand to take residence in the Kingdom.
Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Juristic person

A legal entity that is recognized by law as the subject of rights and duties other than a natural person (human being).  In Thailand a juristic person can come into existence only by virtue of the civil and commercial code or other laws (section 65 civil and commercial code).

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Synonyms - juridical person
Key money
a payment to the lessor required from a new tenant (or existing tenant who wants to renew the lease) of a commercial property in Thailand (not common in residential leases). It is not always clear what key-money means in Thailand and it could be simply part of the total rental (as an advance payment for a lower monthly rental during the term of the lease and outside the books non-taxable income for the lessor).
Author - Thailand Lawyer Online

Under Thai law property given by a man to his fiancée as evidence that the marriage shall take place. An engagement (betrothal) is not valid without such property given (section 1437).

Land Registry
the government department where they register the ownership, possession or other rights in property (land) in Thailand
Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Last Will
The most recent legal document or declaration made by which a person expresses his or her wishes as to how his or her property is to be distributed at death (in Thailand pursuant Thai succession laws) and names one or more persons and optional appoints an executor to administrate the estate until its distribution.
Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Synonyms - last will and testament, wills,

is a contract whereby a person, called the letter (lessor), agrees to let another person, called the tenant (lessee), have the use or benefit of a property for a limited period of time and rental payments are made periodically by the tenant (section 537 civil and commercial code)

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Synonyms - tenancy, rental,
contractual arrangement meaning that you have a lease with the owner to use and occupy his real property (land and/or house, condo apartment) for a fixed period of time with an up-front paid rent (in Thailand (under Thai law) tenancy agreement or rental agreement have the same meaning and are governed by the same laws).
Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Synonyms - lease agreement
Lèse majesté

lèse-majesté (French language) in legal terms term meaning in Thailand a crime, insult, offence against the dignity of the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent punishable with imprisonment of three to fifteen years pursuant to the Thailand Penal Code.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Letter of Confirmation

In this respect the Thai English language document required and supplied by the Land Department in Thailand for a land purchase by a Thai national married to a foreigner specifying the (Thai) source of the funds for the acquisition.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
loan agreement

contract between a borrower and a lender of money detailing the conditions for a loan

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Maintenance fee

generally in relation to section 18 of the Thailand condominium act referring to contributions to the juristic person for repair and operations fees paid by the unit owners for the upkeep and running of the building and common areas of the condominium

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online

connected with marriage or the relations between a married couple (married persons)

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Synonyms - matrimonial

The legally recognized registered relationship of a man and a woman having mutually given consent to marriage and to live together in the relationship of husband and wife and legal registration being made in the marriage register.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Mutatis Mutandis

Latin language for 'by changing those things which need to be changed', in law texts meaning, more or less, the referred sections shall be applied on the same but is to be altered, when necessary, on points of detail.


means a measurment unit in Thailand used to define an area land, 1 Ngan of land is equal to an area of 400 square meters in metric measurment. 

in Thailand legal definitions meaning a Thai person or Thai company in whose name a property or company shares are registered but who acts on behalf of another, the actual or beneficial (foreign) owner (read more...).
Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Synonyms - proxy shareholder
Nor Sor Sam

Land title deed issued by the Thailand Land Department confirming the right of possession of government land granted to an individual owner. This type of land has a lower survey status (lower than for example the nor.sor.sam.gor land title deed) and the borders of the land as shown on the land title deed should be confirmed with neighboring land plots.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Nor Sor Sam Gor

Land title deed issued by the land department confirming the right of possession by possession of government land granted to an individual owner. The boundaries of the land are accurately surveyed in relation to neighbouring land plots.

Stay longer than the period you are permitted to stay in Thailand based on your visa and or visa extension issued by the Thailand Immigration Department punishable with a fine of 500 Baht for each day of overstay in Thailand.
Author - Thailand Lawyer Online

governing the state or relationship of being a parent in Thailand

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
A postnuptial agreement is a contract between spouses concerning their personal or matrimonial assets made after entering into marriage (as opposed to a prenuptial (before marriage) in Thailand sections 1465 - 1492 Thailand civil and commercial code).
Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
power of attorney
a signed and witnessed document you can use to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf
Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Preference shares

shares giving a shareholder or group of shareholder in a (Thai) limited company priority or specified preferential rights in certain matters of the company limited over that of ordinary shareholders (as defined within a company's articles of association)

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Synonyms - preferred shares
is short for prenuptial agreement, the pre-marriage contract under Thai law splitting the property between two people who are about to marry, specifying personal and marital assets and setting out the terms of management over personal and marital assets and debts
Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Synonyms - prenuptial
Prenuptial Agreement

under Thai law an agreement made by a couple before they marry concerning management of future marital and personal property and listing personal assets and debts at the time of marriage usually in an annex to the prenup contract.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online

in Civil laws of Thailand referring to 'periods of time' fixed by law and the role of the passage of time in the ending of certain rights or how a period of time can create certain rights, for example the rights a person could acquire after he held or used a property of another for an uninterrupted period of time.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Property law

the area of law dealing with forms of ownership, possession, encumbrances and rights to immovable property in Thailand

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Public order
against what is viewed as appropriate in Thai society both in the legal (laws) and moral sense
Author - Thailand Lawyer Online

means a unit of measurment of land in Thailand. A unit of surface expressed in Rai is equal to 1600 square meters in metric measurment, 1 acre is approx 2,5 Rai.

Real rights

Real rights (e.g. superficies, usufruct, habitation, servitude) are primarily attached to a property and follows ownership of the property (third parties have to respect a real right) as distinguished from personal rights (e.g. contracts rights such as sale, tenancy, gift) which are primarily only enforceable and binding between the parties (attached to the parties not the property). Real rights are governed by book IV 'Property' and not Book II 'Obligations' or Book III 'Specific Contracts'.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
rental tax

tax payable to the local government under the Land and Building Tax. Applies among others to properties rented out in their district therefore feels like a rental tax though not correct because Land and Building Tax has a broader application and it is not aimed at taxing rental income (as rental income is already taxable under the Revenue Code)

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online

legal term used in property law describing the non-possessory right or beneficial interest that a person has over an immovable property of another person (like right of way/ easement between servient property and dominant property), it runs with that immovable property or properties and can apply to a variety of benefits and burdens and is governed by section 1387 to 1401 of Thailand the civil and commercial code.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Synonyms - easement
Sin Somros

that is marital assets or property of the marriage jointly owned by husband and wife, in general all properties acquired after the marriage (except those listed in section 1471 under 3)

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Synonyms - marital property
Sin Suan Tua

that is personal non-marital property, i.e. generally all debts and assets owned and acquired before the marriage (including 'Khongman')

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Synonyms - non-marital

in relation to family and marriage laws meaning that you have never been married before

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online

Property given by the man to the parents, adopter or guardian of his fiancée before marriage as part of engagement ceremony (betrothal), in return for the woman (fiancée) agreeing to marry the man (found in Thai law section 1437 civil code). 

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Synonyms - dowry
Sor Tor Gor

Land document issued by the forest department granting the right to a private person to reside and live in a specific area of land in reserved forest land (public land prohibited for private ownership), a sor.tor.gor gives a personal right (like the right of habitation) and cannot be sold but can be passed on by inheritance.


a person who (unlawfully) occupies unused land acquires ownership rights by holding the property for a specific period of time (see section 1382 below). Squatters' rights in Thailand depend in the length of (adverse) possession and type of land title (land with a full ownership deed or mere possession rights)

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Synonyms - adverse possession
Sui Juris

A person who is capable of managing one's own affairs, like making a valid contract. A person who has all the rights and is not under the power of another (e.g. a minor). Every one of full age is presumed to be sui juris. In Thailand a person on completion of twenty years of age becomes sui juris (section 19 Thailand civil and commercial code).


civil law legal term: the owner of a piece of land may create a right of superficies in favor of another person by giving him the right to own, upon or under the land, buildings, structures or plantations.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Tabien Baan

address and resident registration book issued by the local municipality (amphur) for every apartment, house or place to live in (dwelling) and registers and administrates the persons having principal residency (domicile) at a dwelling.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Synonyms - house book
Third subdivision level local governmental unit in Thailand, Tambons make up a district or amphur (second subdivision level), amphurs make up a province
Author - Thailand Lawyer Online

Or tessebaan (municipality) is the local government administrative body of a village, town, or city in Thailand.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Synonyms - Thesaban

a house and resident registration book (tabien baan) with a bright yellow cover used for the registration of foreign nationals who stay in Thailand at the dwelling (address in Thailand) on a temporary basis.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online

a house and resident registration book (tabien baan) with a dark blue colored cover used for the registration of thai nationals and foreigners with official residency in Thailand having their permanent home at the specific dwelling (address).

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
older form form which is replaced by the Foreign Exchange Transaction form (FET-form)
Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
title deed

a legal deed or document issued by the Land Department constituting evidence of a right, especially to possession or ownership of land and/ or real property (condominium unit) in Thailand.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Tor Dor 21

Standard Thai script land office power of attorney giving authrority to someone to act on behalf of the owner of the immovable property at the land department's office and to do a described action or transaction regarding a specific immovable property in Thailand.

uncontested divorce
mutual consent divorce and marriage ending where both parties agree on all matters concerning the divorce like division of marital assets and debts, child support, child custody and if any spousal/ child maintenance (alimony).
Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Synonyms - mutual consent divorce
Undue enrichment

in contract law but also marriage laws (property between husband and wife) the undoing of any unjust enrichment of one person at the expense of another in circumstances that the law sees as unjust or unlawful.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online

real property legal term, under Thai law a registered property right attached to an immovable property by which the owner grants another person the exclusive but temporary possession, use, enjoyment and management of his real property governed by a usufruct contract agreement and the civil and commercial code sections 1417 to 1428 (chapter 'usufruct')

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
this is the endorsement marked in a passport issued by a Thai Embassy or Royal Thai Consulate-General indicating that the visa holder is allowed to enter, leave, or stay for a specified period of time in Thailand.
Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Synonyms - Thai visa
of no legal effect, not valid or legally binding, as invalid from the outset.
Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
is a valid and binding transaction or action, having legal effect, but may be voided by one of the parties to the action or transaction.
Author - Thailand Lawyer Online

means a unit of measurment of land in Thailand, a land surface or unit of land measuring 1 Wah equals 4 square meters.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
work permit

official blue covered document issued by the Thai Labor Department that shows that a person (foreigner) is allowed to work in Thailand in a specific described employment at a specific location and for a specific employer in Thailand.

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online
Yellow book

short for 'yellow colored tabien baan' which is an administrative document and address and resident registration book issued by the local municipality (amphur) for foreigners residing at a dwelling in Thailand, normally this booklet is blue colored for Thai nationals but is case of foreigners they gave it a yellow color (not required and not an important document as it basically does not confer any additional rights).

Author - Thailand Lawyer Online