Thailand

Review

Dispute resolution
Blumenthal Richter & Sumet

Independent firm Blumenthal Richter & Sumet set a new course for its disputes practice with the hiring of litigation specialist Anuwat Ngamprasertkul from PriceWaterhouseCoopers last year. The offering currently focuses on commercial, labour, insolvency, intellectual property and white-collar crime disputes and works with a balanced mix of domestic conglomerates and foreign multinationals. With a new dedicated partner on board, the disputes team is ramping up on contentious matters and eyeing further practice expansions in 2021.

Head of the litigation and dispute resolution Ngamprasertkul is the main contact.

The firm successfully represented a global sealing inserts manufacturer in a labour dispute with a former employee over a withholding tax issue. The team also acted for a large hospitality consulting, development and management company in an arbitration relating to the interpretation of complex contractual conditions.

A major real estate player enlisted the firm for its defence in four civil cases filed by a construction company with $33.4 million at stake.

JTJB International Lawyers

Mid-sized firm JTJB International Lawyers boasts a respected reputation for shipping and maritime disputes. Its contentious offering additionally includes litigation management and representation in commercial, government and regulatory, and employment matters. It has particular experience with clients in the consumer goods, construction and real estate sectors. Last year, the firm successfully signed a strategic partnership agreement with China-based Tahota Law Firm to expand its network and services into the Chinese market.

Managing partner Naiyachon Tathong is responsible for the litigation practice.

The firm acted for Olam international in its claims against Bureau Veritas Thailand regarding its negligence and misrepresentation of professionally inspecting and issuing certification of rice cargo. This caused the client a significant loss after an offshore port rejected the cargo. The firm also represented Asian Green Energy on filing its arbitration claim with the ICC against a coal seller over a contract breach.

Recent key clients include AP, Bank of China, Cine Equipment Thailand, Coca-Cola Southeast Asia Services, Floyd and Raimond Land.

Kudun and Partners

Kudun and Partners’ well-rounded disputes offering comprises seasoned litigators who have acted before all levels of court, as well as in national and international arbitrations. Clients range from domestic industry giants to overseas-based multinationals. It is experienced in complex commercial litigations, white-collar crime matters, and regularly handles litigations and arbitrations related to construction and employment. The group’s dispute resolution footprint deepened significantly by the lateral hiring of the key litigation team members from Herbert Smith Freehills in 2018. The firm’s insolvency group had a banner 2020 after being officially appointed to represent 87 savings co-operatives as creditors in Thai Airways’ landmark $11.3 billion rehabilitation.

The three key partners of the dispute resolution practice include co-heads Somboon Sangrungjang and Pariyapol Kamolsilp and Niruch Winiyakul.

The firm represented a consortium that includes China Railway Construction and Nathalin Company in a claim dispute against the Port Authority of Thailand relating to the procurement of a port construction contractor. The client was a bidder to construct the deep-sea port, but the bidding commission had rejected it due to a minor misplacement of signatures in one of the documents required for submission. The project is valued at nearly $1 billion.

The team was kept busy defending a leading telecommunications provider and its subsidiary in a massive class action case concerning over 41 million users of the client. The matter centres around a telecoms committee regulator reversing a previous resolution relaxing billing rules.

In a different energy-related battle, the firm defended one of the eight subsidiaries of the first and largest wind farm in South East Asia. This case is unprecedented and a country first, with local citizens living near the wind turbines filing an environmental class action suit against the client demanding operation licences be revoked and compensation for alleged noise pollution.

Key clients include Chanwanich Security Printing, Chewathai, Jetion Solar, LG Electronics, Shinhan Bank, Uniqlo and UOB KayHian Securities.

LS Horizon

Regional firm LS Horizon has a respected dispute resolution practice helmed by four partners. It has a notable commercial and regulatory litigation track record. 

Key contacts at the firm include disputes partners Prechaya Ebrahim, Lersak Kancvalskul, Wanchai Yiamsamatha and Thanaluck Sunananta.

The firm defended the Stock Exchange of Thailand in a suit filed by Energy Earth regarding its temporary trade opening. This high-profile case set precedent for other companies considering listing and was eventually dismissed by the central administrative court.

In another widely reported matter, the team advised the plaintiffs Central Pattana and CPN Village in relation to unlawful and wrongful act charges against state-owned enterprise Airport of Thailand (AOT). The case relates to the entrance blockage of the Central Village Luxury Outlet near Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport by the AOT.

Natipatana Law Office

Natipatana Law Office has maintained an active dispute resolution practice for over 36 years. As a local firm, it has extensive experience litigating cross-border disputes around the region through cooperation with other domestic firms and has cemented loyalty among various embassies for providing quality, English-speaking legal counsel. Its arbitration, employment, and government and regulatory practices are noteworthy with a stable roster of international, high-value clients.

Three senior members helm the disputes department, including directors Nattaphol Chinawong and Nuttawut Chinawong, and partner Craig Arndt.

During the research period, the firm was engaged by Facebook Thailand to represent the company in administrative litigation against a ministry of the Thai government concerning takedown orders of various content posted by Facebook users. Though this specific case has closed, Facebook regularly turns to the firm in relation to takedown orders in Thailand.

The team successfully represented Weatherford and Kuwait Airways in employment cases filed by their previous employees. In a commercial suit, the team was also triumphant in obtaining a favourable settlement and consent judgement on behalf of Raffles Assets Thailand. On the IP front, the firm defended Thai pharmaceutical company NBD Healthcare in relation to one of its advertisement names that was challenged by an Australian pharmaceutical company.

The firm also worked with Kone Corporation and Sharp Thailand in the past 12 months.

SCL Nishimura & Asahi

SCL Nishimura & Asahi was formed through an alliance between Japanese firm Nishimura & Asahi and local outfit, SCL Group. The two merged in 2019, blending their strengths of local law expertise and broadened client scope. The dispute resolution group has no less than seven dedicated litigation and arbitration lawyers, led by two partners. Its offering covers the full spectrum of disputes management and representation, from general commercial and labour disputes to international arbitration and tax dispute resolution. The firm has a respected contentious intellectual property practice.  

Key figures for the firm’s dispute resolution practice are managing partner Chavalit Uttasart and partner Vira Kammee.

In a likely precedent-setting case, the firm represented parties engaged in a non-disclosable dispute. The Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the kind of claim brought by the defendant against the client, which is valued at almost $334 million. The ruling in this case will establish a precedent as to whether a listed company can bring a claim against investors based on the relevant actions, and to what extent damages can be claimed.   

The team also acted for local contracting services provider Summit Grade in a construction dispute involving a breach of contract claim. The outcome in this case may establish a precedent concerning the burden of proof imposed when timelines and thorough compliance with a construction agreement are at stake.

Key clients of the firm in the past year include Brands Suntory International, Intel, Minor International and Nok Airlines.

Tilleke & Gibbins

Regional powerhouse Tilleke & Gibbins continues to dominate the tables in the dispute resolution sphere. From its commercial litigation strength to its prowess in contentious intellectual property, peers and clients confirm the firm deserves its top-tier status. It boasts over 30 attorneys in the Bangkok office that specialise in litigation and alternative dispute resolution. In addition to Thai matters, the Bangkok team regularly advises on litigations throughout the region in collaboration with litigators based in the firm’s offices in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. The team is notable in the areas of arbitration, aviation, employment, energy, insurance, intellectual property, product liability, and trade and customs.

Seven partners and two counsels lead the sizable dispute resolution practice. The main contacts are co-managing partner and dispute resolution director, Tiziana Sucharitkul, and partner and deputy director of dispute resolution, John Frangos.

The team represented one of the world’s largest outdoor advertisers in a complex dispute against a state agency relating to a large tender offer. The Tilleke lawyers were successful in obtaining an injunction from the central administrative court in the first instance. This was a very significant victory for the client, as injunctions are not awarded frequently in Thai courts, particularly in the administrative court.

Other firm highlights include acting for a global logistics company, its Thai subsidiary, and its insurer in several disputes related to a wind farm project in Thailand; representing a client in a dispute over a major construction contract for a large skyscraper project in Thailand; and defending a client in a critical environmental and public health dispute relating to a high performance submarine internet cable project. A high value, cross border matter saw the team defend Lonsin Capital in a case related to the legality of dividend payments for bonds in a Thai company.

Counsel Suruswadee Jiamsuwan joined the firm at the end of last year from the Thailand Court of Justice where she held a judicial appointment. A raft of seven new hires significantly bolstered the firm’s contentious capacity, including laterals from Weerawong C&P, DFDL, DLA Piper and the Street Real Estate Development.  

Carlyle Aviation, Insultec International, Molnlycke Healthcare, Saraburi Sugar and Stryker Corporation are some of the clients the firm worked with in the past year. The firm’s disputes client roster includes many of the top global corporations and industry leaders.

Weerawong C&P

Weerawong C&P’s litigation and arbitration practice complements its market-leading transactional offerings. This year, the firm was elevated to the first tier for commercial and corporate disputes, matching its top status in the contentious government and regulatory, and employment categories. Its bench of seasoned litigators provides a comprehensive scope of dispute resolution services before all court levels and global arbitration forums. The firm acts for clients across all industry sectors in both domestic and cross-border matters. The firm recently established a new international trade and customs practice.

Senior counsel Phisit Dejchaiyasak leads the firm’s dispute resolution practice group, which includes partners Sakchai Limsiripothong, Rapinnart Prongsiriwattana, Pathorn Towongchuen and Natthida Pranutnorapal, and three counsels. At the time of submission, the team also counted 22 associates and six paralegals.

The firm represented a sugar production company in two fraud cases against a former employee. In another potential landmark case, the team acted for the Thai shareholders in international arbitration that may result in a precedent-setting arbitration award enforcement in Thailand. The team also represented an investment group in a series of civil and criminal disputes related to a battle between the directors and former potential investor in a famous golf course.

Counsel Apisith John Sutham joined the firm at the beginning of 2021, contributing his decades-long experience in contentious international trade and customs matters to the team. Weerawong C&P merged with his firm, Apisith & Alliance.

Key recent clients include Advance Finance, Export-Import Bank of the United States, Hero Experience and Total Access Communications.