Thailand - Time Bars

As a civil law country, the general provisions of prescription are provided by the Civil and Commercial Code ("the Code") in its Book I, Title IV, Chapters I and II which came into force in 1923 and was subsequently amended in 1925 and 1992. In principle, the period of prescription begins to run from the moment when the claim can be enforced. If the claim is for forbearance, prescription begins to run from the moment when the right is first infringed (Section 193/12 of the Code).

In case there is no specific law (other than the Code) providing a specific period of prescription, the periods of prescription as fixed by the Code shall apply. Such periods under the Code vary with the nature of the claims. The period of prescription for which no other period is specifically provided by law or other Books of the Code is ten years (Section 193/30 of the Code).

A claim is barred by prescription if it has not been enforced within the period of time fixed by law and once it has been time barred, the debtor is entitled to refuse performance (Sections 193/9 and 193/10 of the Code). However, if a time barred claim is brought to the Court, the defendant has a duty to raise a defence on time bar issue otherwise the Court cannot dismiss the claim on the ground of prescription (Section 193/29 of the Code).

Time limit under the Code

Type of ActionLimitation Period

Contract claim on ground of breach of contract  Under the Code, either party may take a legal action against the defaulting party for the breach of contract at the date of the breach of the contract. The Code does however impose prescription periods upon the variety of cause of actions. Usually it is 2 (two) year time bar for the claims by the merchants, commercial persons, employees, professionals. However, there would be 5 (five) year time bar for the claim as arise from arrears if interests etc. (Section 193)
Outstanding freight 2 years from the due date (Section 193/4 (2))
Personal injury, death
(non-contractual claim)
1 year from the injured person became aware of the wrongful act and liable person, or 10 years from the day when the wrongful act was committed (Section 448)
Loss of or damage to property (non-contractual claim) Same as personal injury, death (non-contractual claim)

Time limit under Thai maritime laws

Type of ActionLimitation period

Collision liability: The Act on Civil Liability and Damages Arising from Collision of Vessels, B.E. 2548 (Section 21)
  1. Claim for damages : 2 years from the day the vessel, property on board, life, body or health of a person on board has suffered damages
  2. Recovery between the vessels at fault under Section 11 paragraph three : 1 year from the day the claimant has paid the compensation
  3. Claim for damages or recovery in case of the force majeure or any cause preventing a creditor from arresting any one of the debtor's vessel: 
     - 3 years for claim for damages from the day of the casualty, or 
     - 2 years for the recovery between the vessels from the day the claimant exercise the right of recovery after having paid compensation
  4. In case the creditor is unable to institute a lawsuit within (1) - (3) period due to force majeure : the time limit of (1) - (3) shall not become due until after the lapse of thirty days from the day the executing officer posted the writ of arrest.
Salvage charges : The Act on Marine Salvage, B.E. 2550 (Section 31) Claim for the payment: 2 years from the day on which the salvage operations are terminated.
General Average : The Act on General Average in Maritime Adventure, B.E. 2547 (Section 21)
  1. Owners' claim for GA contribution: 1 year counting from the day the notice of general average contribution was submitted to the contributing parties, but shall not be more than 5 years from the day the general average occurred
  2. Party on whom general average falls exercises the claim: 1 year counting form the day the notice of general average contribution is submitted to the contributing parties, but shall not be more than 7 years from the day the general average occurred
Maritime lien : The Act on Ship Mortgage and Maritime Lien, B.E. 2537 (Section 28)
  1. 1 year having elapsed from the date the maritime arose
  2. The ship being sold by court order, in which case the proceeds from the sale shall b e subject to the enforcement of the maritime lien instead;
  3. The mortgagee foreclosing the ship mortgage; or
  4. A final judgment or order of the court to confiscate the ship
Loss of or damage to goods and delay in delivery under Thai COGSA (Section 46  and 48)
  1. 1 year from the day on which the carrier has delivered the goods or the goods should have been delivered in case no actual delivery
  2. The right to claim for damages resulting from delay in delivery ceases to exist if the consignee has not given to the carrier a notice in writing within 60 days from the date of delivery of the goods.
Loss of or damage to goods and delay in delivery under Multimodal Transport Act: The Act on Multimodal Transport, B.E. 2548 (Section 38) 9 months from the day on which the multimodal transport operator delivered, or should have delivered the goods

Under the local regulation, there is no specific time bar / limitation period for both missing person and wreck removal and that the time bar is dependent on the circumstances lead to the claim.

For the situation of missing person, under the local law, the interested person may apply the request with local court to declare "missing" for person who is missing from domicile or the vehicle where he / she transport with after 5 (five years). If the court will be satisfied to declare "missing", it would be deemed that the person is "dead".

For the event lead to wreck removal, under the local law and practice , the local authorities is entitled to demand the Owners of the "wreck" to remove same. If the Owner fail to do so, the authority may arrange to remove same and demand for reimbursement from Owner with interests at 20%.

However, under local regulation, the case which has no specific time bar, the general time bar which may apply is for 10 (Ten) years.

Staff Author