Post-Judicial Mediation - Process for Access to Justice
Legal Execution Department

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
The economic problems of Thailandfrom the economic crisis in 1997 continue to cause liquidity problems tobusiness and household sectors and result in closing of businesses and unemployment. In addition, the growth in credit card use or easy access to finace, whethere it is an unsecured loan from financial institutionor a loan from loansharking business, leads to a default of the debtor and thus results in a gradually increasing number of claims to the court and enforcement of judgment. Many cases have entered the stage of enforcement, so they cause non-performing loans (NPL)impacting the overall economy of the country. The cause of NPL is that most judgment debtors owehousehold, retail, credit card, student loan, farmers’ or car hire-purchase debts. These people, who are the vulnerable groups, are the largest group of citizens upon whom judgment creditors enforce judgments; their properties can be seized and sold, or their money claims can be garnished. Through ways of enforcement of judgment, they may be unable to work and have no income to repay debts or live their daily lives. Furthermore, these judgment debtors may not have assetsor income for creditors to enforce in the first place, and consequently the judgment creditors cannotcollect judgment debt. This will affect the economy as a whole and further social problems. Additionally, according to the law, there are prescribed time, costs, fees in enforcement of judgment process. The payment to judgment creditor may be delayed and not worthwhile to bring the case to the enforcement process at all. The judgment debtor also has to bear the increasing interest because the interest will be calculated up to the date of the auction sale in an event of seizure of property, or the date of receipt of money if there is a garnishment. As a result, theenforcement process which has to take steps under the law and takes some time will not be useful or beneficial to both judgment creditors and debtors. The judgment creditor wants to be paid and the judgement debtor also needs to pay debts but he/shemay not have the property that can be enforced and could not negotiate with creditor because of inability of direct communication, lack of bargaining power, or lack of mutual resolution. The post-judicialmediation can be an alternative resolution to judgment creditor and debtor.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The post-judicial mediation is one method of an alternative justice system which reduces inequality, provides an easy access to justice, and restores or maintains good relationship between parties.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
The post-judicial mediation is one method of an alternative justice system for debtors with retail, household, farmers’, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), student loan, credit card, hire-purchase debts who are the vulnerable group can access to justice more easily in order to foster justice in the society according to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). When the disputes are mediated successfully, the enforcement of judgement will decrease; the seizure of property or the garnishment of money claim will be reduced. The judgment debtors can use their property to earn a living while judgment creditors receive payment upon agreement with less steps inor even without the enforcement of judgment. The outstanding advantage of the post-judicial mediation is that the judgment creditor and debtor have an opportunity to talk to each other and maintain good relationship which creates a harmony to the society. Both judgment creditor and debtor can file a request for mediation. Therefere, the mediation is anotherway to improve economic circular flow of the country. Judgment creditor or debtor can file a request for post-judicial mediation at the Mediation Center located at the Legal Execution Department (LED) Offices in Bangkok and across the country. The LED has set up mediation centers in all of its offices nationwide to promote justice by providing convenienceto judgment creditor and debtor. After filing a request, the officer will make an appointment date for judgment creditor, judgement debtor, together with a mediator who is an intermediary registered with the LED and is competent to act as a mediator, to advise the parties and propose ways to resolve the dispute. This post-judicial mediation service is free of charge and the resolution will be based on agreement and decision of creditor and debtor. The resolution will be suitable for both parties, and can be implemented as agreed.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The post-judicial mediation by the mediator who is an intermediary to advise and propose ways relating to enforcement of judgment to resolve the dispute. The judgment creditor and debtor can understand and get the information from the mediator to make a decision with confidence to reach the mutual agreement. The distinctive advantage of post-judicial mediation is that this method provides more probability in implementation of the resolution than general mediation by a mediator who is respected in a community will do because the mediator in post-judicial mediation has legal knowledge and thus can advise ways according to the law, establish a correct understanding on both parties, and build trust in the mediator. The post-judicial mediation is promoted to public and presented as an alternative to enforcement of judgment to public and private financial institutions or other companies that are judgment creditors. This kind of mediation has received warm support from the judgment creditors. Many agencies have signed MOUs with the LED to jointly organize post-judicial mediation fairs.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The LED has established Mediation Center in 2010 to help judgment debtor have the opportunity to negotiate with judgment creditor to repay debts, so he/she will not be enforced by enforcement officer. In the initial step, the Center operated only in Bangkok. Later, the LED established the Mediation Centers in Legal Execution Offices nationwide. The first phase of the service was mostlyat will of the judgment debtor whose property was seized or money claim was garnished. Later in 2014, the Centers have focused on assisting vulnerable groups of judgment debtors; debtors withhousehold, retail, SMEs, credit card, car hire-purchase, farmers’ or student loan debts which constitute a massive amount of debts that affects overall economy of the country. To help these debtors have a chance to negotiate with creditors is to drive economy better. The LED has partnered with financial institutions, state enterprises, and private sectors such as Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand (SME Bank), Government Savings Bank, credit card companies, commercial banks, hire-purchase companies in organizing mediation fairs. In 2014 there were 5,715 cases entering to the mediation process and 4,699 cases were successfully settled with the total value of 2,204,409,853.38 Baht. In 2015 there were 10,630 cases entering to the mediation process and 8,972 cases were successfully settled with the total value of 3,629,820,488.18 Baht. In the last year, 2016, there were 16,700 cases entering to the mediation process and 14,188 cases were successfully settled with the total value of 4,932,590,335.46 Baht. The post-judicial mediation has provided clear benefit to the judgment creditors and debtors. The volume of cases in enforcement process is smaller. The economic circular flow of the country is boosted. The post-judicial mediation is a way to support the policy in reducing inequality in the society.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
After a court renders a judgment that a judgment debtor has to perform an obligation to a judgment creditor, the judgment debtor still fails to comply with the judgment and the case has to enter the stage of enforcement. Nowadays, there are a gradually growing number of cases at the LED. The LED is of an opinion that the enforcement of judgment is not the only way for the judgment creditor to receive payment from the judgment debtor. During the enforcement process, the judgment creditor may stay the enforcement process on the ground of settlement between the judgment creditor and debtor.In the first year and some subsequent years that the LED established the Mediation Centers in Bangkok and Legal Execution Offices across the country to provide the public mediation service thoroughly, there were few cases to mediate and the service could not reach to as many judgment debtors as expected. From 2014 to 2015, the LED signed MOUs with public and private agencies, among others, Student Loan Fund,Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives (BAAC), Toyota Leasing (Thailand) Co., Ltd., and TOT Public Company Limited, to hold post-judicial mediation fairs. Importantly, in 2015 the LED gave priority to tackling household, SMEs, student loan, and farmers’ debts by implementing a “proactive, in-depth, and comprehensive”strategy, for example, holding mediation fairs on weekends to enable judgment debtors to participate in the events without taking leave from work. Moreover, the LED has joined various fairs to promote the post-judicial mediation and expand target group. From October 2014 to September 2015 there were 10,630 cases entering to the mediation processtotaling value of 4,779,515,270.75 Baht and 8,972 cases, or 84.40% of all mediated cases, were successfully settled with the total value of 3,629,820,488.18 Baht. The performance of the mediation service is getting better progressively in the following year. The current post-judicial mediation operates under the “proactive, in-depth, and comprehensive" strategy, focusing on the retail or vulnerable judgment debtors such as SMEs, farmers, consumers who are the disadvantaged. The specific methods are to hold trainings providing knowledge in the post-judicial mediation, and to contact new group of creditors whether they are financial institutions, government or private agencies to join the mediation because it is an alternative justice system which every sector can participate in.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
In establishing the Mediation Centers, the LED prescribes qualifications of mediators to have required competency and register with the LED to be mediators. In the selection process, the LED has studied and applied a model from the pre-litigation mediation service of the Court of Justice Thailand to the post-judicial mediation. Furthermore, judgment debtor and creditor in the post-judicial mediation process are main contributors in reflecting the performance of the Mediation Centers for more proper improvement and optimization. Key factor to the successful mediation is the judgment creditor’s proposal on the terms of repayment. Based on the facts that this type of mediation occurs after the court renders the judgment,most judgment debts in post-judicial mediation are unsecured and in a small amount, and the judgment debtors have average income, if the proposal of the judgment creditor sounds possible for the judgment debtor to comply with, the mutual agreement will be achieved and yield benefit to both parties. The problem on the judgment creditor’s side that the judgment cannot be enforced because of lack of property for enforcement will be resolved. If the enforcement process is pending, the enforcement will be stayed and withdrawn upon the completion of the debt repayment.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The post-judicial mediation has carried out the following actions; 1. Increasing the number of mediators in order to accommodate the volume of entering cases. In 2014, there were 5,715 mediators. The number of mediators grew to 10,630in 2015 and 16,700 in 2016, 2.Establishing Mediation Centers in all 115 Legal Execution Office nationwide to facilitate the interested parties into mediation as many as possible, 3. Signing MOUswith 4 agencies to organize mediation fairs; Islamic Bank of Thailand, Student Loan Fund, SME Bank, and Toyota Leasing (Thailand) Co., Ltd., 4. Organizing mediation fairs with the agencies under MOUs and other agencies gradually frequently each year in Bangkok and provincial parts. In 2014, the LED organized 19 mediation fairs (4 times in Bangkok and 15 times in other provinces) with 837 attendants in total. In 2015 there were 56mediation fairs 11 of which were held in Bangkok and the other 45fairs were in other provinces with total number of 4,931 attendants. There were 86 mediation fairs of which 27 fairs took place in Bangkokand 45 fairs were in provinces in 2016 with 10,422 attendants., and 5. Publicizing the post-judicial mediation in various forms and a proactively way by selecting a case from writs of execution sent from the court and inviting parties to the mediation, attaching post-judicial mediation brochure with notices and documents. The mentioned PR methods aim to help people easier access to justice, promote justice and equality in the society, and vastly reduce inequality in the society.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Even with the current higher volume of cases to post-judicial mediation system, there is a weakness of the development of the service; the service is not yet widely known. People lack knowledge and understanding in mediation, especially in the stage of enforcement of judgment. Obstacle of mediation is the hardship in reaching willingness from both parties to join the mediation. The post-judicial mediation is not mandatory and therefore if a party do not wish to have a mediation, the mediation cannot take place. The parties in the case still do not have sufficient knowledge and correct understanding, resulting in noncooperation. Some judgment debtors wishes to enter the mediation process but they have no ability to repay debt, so the enforcement cannot be stayed or withdrawn. Besides, they expect too much debt reduction. Some judgment creditor do not only lack knowledge and understanding but they also would like to keep excessive profits and lack cooperation and morality. In some cases, the representatives of the judgment creditors to the mediation are not given power to make any decision. These are obstacles to successful mediation. From the above obstacles, the LED has seen a preventive solution by providing the public trainings regarding legal knowledge in enforcement of judgment, deposit of property, and post-judicial mediation, so the public could gain more knowledge of the law and see the advantages of mediation which can help the disadvantaged groups to pay debts to creditors.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
In Fiscal Year 2014 there were 5,715 cases entering to the mediation process and 4,699 cases or 82.22% of entering cases were successfully settled with the total value of 2,204,409,853.38 Baht. In 2015 there were 10,630 cases entering to the mediation process and 8,972 cases or 84.40% of entering cases were successfully settled with the total value of 3,629,820,488.18 Baht. In the last year, 2016, there were 16,700 cases entering to the mediation process and 14,188 cases or 84.96% of entering cases were successfully settled with the total value of 4,932,590,335.46 Baht. The statistics indicates that there have been more entering cases each year so as to the successful rate which has been higher each year. In addition, the LED has conducted on-site visits with Farmers Councils across Thailand in providing necessary legal knowledge such as personal guarantee, pledge, mortgage, and post-judicial mediation as ways to reduce financial problems and relieve problems in cases where there are lawsuits against farmers. The LED also joined Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre, SME Bank, Siam Commercial Bank, Toyota Leasing (Thailand) Co., Ltd., and Krungthai Card PCLa operational program in Yala on October 29th, 2016,to helpdebtors in remote areasenter mediation with creditors. 179 debtors attended the program and140cased can be successfully settled with total value of 44,982,724.82 Baht or 78.21% of entering cases to mediation. Application of the post-judicial mediation to the enforcement of judgment as an additional public service of the LED helps reduce the cases in the enforcement of judgment process. LED officers can greatly enhance the efficiency in the enforcement of judgment to parties and stakeholders thoroughly. The post-judicial mediation also reduces tensions between the parties andleads to restoration of friendly relationship between parties. The parties all gain satisfaction– saving costs and no enforcement, and thus the peaceful resolution between parties contributes to the peace in the society as a whole. In addition, they can keep maintain their business and the workforce as for SMEs. Both parties are regarded as winners.It is a win - win solution The mediation offers an opportunity to both judgment creditors and judgment debtors who are disadvantaged financially.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
Mediation Centers of the Legal Execution Department as an agency to enhance efficiency in the enforcement of judgment and promote justice to the public has continued to work proactively by cooperating with other agencies involved in retail debtors such as SME Bank, Government Savings Bank, and private entities. The signing of MOUs to organize mediation fairs in Bangkok and provincial areas are done for comprehensive public service. In addition, the LED has the policy that every LED Offices throughout Thailand coordinate with provincial Farmers Councils to provide trainings to farmers to gain overview legal knowledge. The advantages of post-judicial mediation are that it has a positive impact on the mission of the LED in enforcement of judgment, and allows the LED to improve better performance in enforcement of judgment greatly by operating with transparency, convenience, speed, fairness, and no need for parties to incur the expense of having lawyers. From the survey measured the satisfaction of clients and stakeholders about the issues in the process of service, clients are satisfied and there is no complaint regarding the delays or complexity. The public can be assured that the post-judicialmediation of Mediation Centers of the LED is carried out fairly to the public without discrimination. Everyone has an equal chance through the cooperation between the LED, financial institutions, banks, or other judgment creditor entities.Therefore, it help fortify the trust from the public.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
Mediation Centers give aid to the poor by joining Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre, SME Bank, Siam Commercial Bank, Toyota Leasing (Thailand) Co., Ltd., and Krungthai Card PCL a operational program in Yala on October 29th, 2016, to help customers in remote areasenter mediation with creditors. When there was flooding in 12 southern provinces of Thailand in December 2016 – January 2017, causing great losses in jobs and earnings to rubber farmers and retail debtors, the LED also cooperated with the mentioned financial institutions to help debtors affected by flood. The objectives of the post-judicial mediation are to offer judgment debtor opportunity to negotiate with creditors, reduce conflicts, and create mechanisms to provide access to justice for people with low income can apply for mediation which is free of charge and conducted by an intermediary serving to assist in finding a solution for the parties to a mutual agreement.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Legal Execution Department
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Chayanijh Sritipan
Title:   General Administration Officer Professional Level  
Telephone/ Fax:   +(66) 2 887 5152 / +(66) 2 887 5151
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   chayanijh.s@led.mail.go.th  
Address:   189/1 Thanon Bangkunnon
Postal Code:   10700
City:   Bangkok Noi
State/Province:   Bangkok
Country:  

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