Legal Jargon and Vocabulary in Thai

Understanding the legal vocabulary in Thai can be daunting, even for those who have a strong grasp of the Thai language in other contexts. The legal system in Thailand, like in many other countries, uses specific jargon that may not be commonly encountered in everyday conversation. This article will delve into essential Thai legal vocabulary and phrases, providing a useful guide for anyone needing to understand legal documents or engage in legal discussions in Thailand.

Basic Legal Terms

One of the first terms to familiarize yourself with is กฎหมาย (gòt măai), which means “law”. This term is foundational and appears in numerous contexts, from formal legislation to general discussions about legal requirements.

ตัวอย่าง: การศึกษากฎหมายเป็นเรื่องสำคัญ (Study of law is important).

Another key term is สัญญา (săn-yaa), meaning “contract” or “agreement”. This term is crucial in business and personal agreements.

ตัวอย่าง: เธอต้องการตรวจสอบสัญญาก่อนที่จะลงนาม (She wants to review the contract before signing).

The word คดี (ká-dee) translates to “case” or “lawsuit”, which is essential for discussing specific legal actions or disputes.

ตัวอย่าง: คดีนี้จะถูกนำขึ้นศาล (This case will be taken to court).

Legal Personnel

Key players in the Thai legal system include ทนายความ (ta-nai kwaam), or “lawyer”, and ผู้พิพากษา (pûu pí-pàak-săa), meaning “judge”.

ตัวอย่าง: ทนายความกำลังโต้แย้งในศาล (The lawyer is arguing in court).

ตัวอย่าง: ผู้พิพากษากำลังฟังคำให้การ (The judge is listening to the testimony).

Legal Actions and Proceedings

Understanding the stages of legal proceedings can also be helpful. The term ฟ้อง (fông) means “to sue” or “to charge”, a critical action in initiating legal disputes.

ตัวอย่าง: เขาตัดสินใจฟ้องร้องบริษัท (He decided to sue the company).

การพิจารณาคดี (gaan pí-jaa-rá-naa ká-dee) translates to “trial” or “hearing”, the process where the details of the case are examined.

ตัวอย่าง: การพิจารณาคดีจะเริ่มในเดือนหน้า (The trial will start next month).

Legal Documents and Terms

Legal documents also contain specific terminology. หนังสือมอบอำนาจ (năng-sŭe mawp àm-naat) means “power of attorney”, a document granting someone the authority to act on another’s behalf.

ตัวอย่าง: ฉันได้ลงนามในหนังสือมอบอำนาจแล้ว (I have signed the power of attorney).

ผลพิพากษา (pŏn pí-pàak-săa) means “judgment” or “verdict”, the final decision made by a judge or court.

ตัวอย่าง: ผลพิพากษาจะประกาศในวันพรุ่งนี้ (The verdict will be announced tomorrow).

Navigating Legal Language

Navigating the legal language involves not only knowing the terms but also understanding how they are used in context. Phrases combining these terms can often illuminate subtler nuances of legal processes.

For instance, ขออนุญาต (khŏr à-nú-yàat), meaning “to request permission”, is a formal way of seeking approval, often used in legal contexts.

ตัวอย่าง: เราจำเป็นต้องขออนุญาตจากศาลก่อน (We need to request permission from the court first).

Finally, being able to ask questions about legal matters in Thai can be incredibly useful. ฉันควรทำอย่างไรในสถานการณ์นี้? (chăn kuan tham yàang-rai nai sà-thăan gaan-née?) translates to “What should I do in this situation?”, a question that can be directed towards legal advisers.


Mastering legal jargon and vocabulary in Thai enhances not only your ability to understand and interact within legal contexts but also deepens your overall proficiency in the language. Whether you’re a business professional, a student of law, or simply someone interested in legal matters, grasping these terms and their usage is immensely beneficial. Remember, practice makes perfect, and using these terms in context will help solidify your understanding and confidence in navigating the legal landscape in Thailand.

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