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Chief Justice Varangkana Sucharitakul: settlements not suits needed

Phuket Chief Justice Urges More Mediation

Wednesday, June 3, 2009
THE NEW face of justice on Phuket belongs to Chief Justice Varangkana Sucharitakul.

She arrived on the island two months ago and was astonished at the number of the lawsuits, especially those involving land.

''There are more documents than there is land on Phuket,'' she told the media yesterday. Some people had even taken to suing Land Office officials, she said.

Expats have added new and complicated layers to the capacity of the island's legal system to cope.

She cited one case where a Japanese who owned a restaurant at Central Festival failed to pay the rent and sued when the electricity was cut off, spoiling the food in his refrigerators and freezers.

That lawsuit is proceeding through the courts, but Chief Justice Varangkana wants a new word adopted to ease the load on the justice system: mediation.

Today she introduced the court's team of eight mediators, who will be looking to find ways of settling both civil and criminal cases, especially in June and July.

The mediators have been drawn from all kinds of backgrounds on Phuket, and have undergone training in the courts . . . and in the art of compromise.

In countries where mediation has become standard procedure, the high cost of court action has been reduced, even in divorce cases where bitterness often intensifies the courtroom battles.

Chief Justice Varangkana is to chair a seminar at Royal Phuket City from 8am-11.15am on Tuesday June 9 at Royal Phuket City, with details available by telephoning 076 211160-601.

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