An Overview Over Summons and Warrants in Thailand

Summons and Warrants in Thailand

For an individual who have not gain exposure to the procedures of the Thai court or any court on that matter will surely have a difficulty in distinguishing a Summons from that of a Warrant as both of them would require the recipient of such to appear upon the prudence of the authorities. But in real, factual and legal terms, a summons is largely different from that of a warrant in the sense that:

  • A summon only obligates a person to appear upon a police investigator, a more superior police official or at the court, depending on the case, to shed light or provide information on an inquiry, court proceeding or other matters stated by the Criminal Procedure Code.
  • A summon only obligates a person to be in attendance but his appearance to such inquiry or trial does not necessarily mean he will be charged accordingly as his attendance is only required to extract a testimony or statement from him unlike on a warrant wherein the person who is the subject of such warrant will be arrested and imprisoned.


A summon cannot be served verbally. It should be served in writing with the pertinent facts fully provided and written. Such facts as the following:

  1. The place where the summons is issued.
  2. The issuance date of the said document.
  3. The name of the locality and place of residence of the person who is subject for a summons.
  4. The reason why the person is required to appear before the body or investigator.
  5. The time, date and place where the recipient of such summons is tasked to appear.
  6. and the signature and seal of the summon’s issuing court.

Although the issuing court has the discretion on the time and date of the recipient’s appearance schedule but it should also consider the distance between the issuing court with his place of origin.

Moreover, other than the intended recipient of the summons, only the spouse, a relative or a guardian of the said person can ever receive it for him.

In case that the intended recipient of the summons’ residence is outside from place where the issuing party is located then the summons can be sent over to the issuing party’s equal body of the said place i.e. police official of the issuing party to the recipient’s place of residence’s police official.


An individual who has been arrested by virtue of a warrant of arrest can only be released if the issuing court will also issue a warrant of release. Yet, issuing the said warrant must fall within the rules and procedures set by the Thailand Supreme Court’s President.

The aggrieved party who wishes a court to issue a warrant of arrest, search warrant or detention warrant against the accused must first convince the court that there is the presence of a valid reason to issue such warrant. Such request must be done under oath or if taken that the aggrieved party is not able to take the oath and issue the request personally can still request for a warrant to be issued through other channels or methods such as through telephone, fax, electronic media or other technological information but the same are also subject to the rules and regulations set by the President of the Supreme Court.

The different types of warrants should be issued in writing and should also have the correct and complete data on:

  1. The locality where the warrant is issued.
  2. The complete date which includes the day, month and year.
  3. The reason that affected the release of the warrant.
  4. The different types of warrants:
    1. Arrest Warrant – The name or the overall appearance of the individual who is the subject of the arrest warrant must be in good detail.
    2. Detention Warrant, Imprisonment Warrant or Release Warrant - The name of the individual who is the subject of these kinds of warrants should also be in detail.
    3. Search Warrant – The information with regards to the searching officer, the owner of the residence, the name and description, the place of residence as well as the time and date must also be clearly defined.


Although the terms, Warrants and Summons, are widely used in other countries and are hugely familiar to expatriates in Thailand, the fact is that how these are issued, served and the requirements that needed herewith for their issuance may have a slight or even large deviation to what is already known to them.

Even with the familiarity of the terms, the court processes that are utilized in Thailand may be confusing for any foreigner therefore for a better understanding of the tackled subject, the expat-individual must adhere to the advice to seek clarification on this matter with a reputable and experienced attorney at law.


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