Introduction to the Office of the Attorney General of Thailand - History The modern Thai public prosecutor system started when the Public Prosecution Department was established on 1 April 1893. At the beginning, the Public Prosecution Department was part of the Ministry of Justice. Now, the public prosecutors annually celebrate the 1st of April as our establishment day. In 1991, the Public Prosecution Department was changed to be the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) to reflect the public prosecutorsâ€™ broad scope of functions which are not only criminal prosecution and became an independent agency directly responsible to the Prime Minister. In 2007, the new Constitution provides that the OAG is an independent organization under the Constitution. To guarantee the independence of the OAG, especially in cases handling, the OAG is separated from the Executive branch and report directly to the Parliament.
- Authorities and Functions The OAG has four main authorities and functions, namely: a) Criminal Justice Administration The OAG has the main authority to conduct prosecution and trial. Upon receipt of the inquiry file from the inquiry officials giving their conclusions as to the case, the public prosecutors will examine the file and then decide whether to issue a prosecution or nonprosecution order. If a prosecution order is made, the public prosecutors will refer a charge against the alleged offender and take witnesses before the court to prove the guilt of the accused. b) Safeguarding of National Interests The safeguarding of national interests is one function of the OAG. We fulfill this task through three channels: rendering legal advice to government agencies and state enterprises, reviewing draft contracts for government agencies or state enterprises interacting with the private sector, and representing government agencies or state enterprises in litigation. In Thailand, governmental agencies may sue or be sued in several types of cases, whether civil, tax, labor, or administrative. The OAG represents the government in these cases. c) Civil Rights Protection and Legal Aid Provision With regard to the protection of civil rights, the public prosecutors represent any person seeking a court order to endorse his or her legal rights such as the right of an heir to manage the property of an ancestor, as well as any person seeking court permission to carry out certain activities, including adoption of a child, or appointing a guardian for an orphaned child. As for the provision of legal aid, OAG renders legal assistance to the poor, residing both in Thailand and foreign countries, who are required to take legal action but cannot afford the lawyer fees. Legal services include legal advice and settlement of disputes. d) International Cooperation in Criminal Matters The OAG plays a significant role in international cooperation in criminal matters; extradition and mutual legal assistance. For extradition, the Attorney General is the Central Authority responsible for seeking from a court an order for extraditing a person to the requesting state and for making a request to foreign countries to extradite fugitive to Thailand. As with extradition, the OAG takes the lead in the subject of mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. The Attorney General is also the Central Authority with a number of
responsibilities of which the most important is the making of decisions as to whether Thailand would request assistance from other countries or would provide assistance sought by other countries.
- Organization Structure The organization structure of the OAG may be divided into two main areas; central offices in Bangkok and regional offices in provinces. a) Central Offices All central offices are located in Bangkok. Basically, they have jurisdiction only over cases which occurred in Bangkok, but subject to some conditions, the central offices can handle some serious cases which occurred in the provinces. The central offices comprise of several Departments for Litigation, for example Criminal Litigation, Civil Litigation and Administrative Litigation. Apart from these litigation offices, there are other offices that have other different functions, for example, International Affairs, Technical Affairs, Training and Development Institute, Legal Counsel, and General Administrative Office. b) Regional Offices i) Regional Offices The regional offices outside Bangkok are grouped into 9 regions; 3 in the Central region and 2 each in the north, the northeast and the south. The nine Departments of the Regional Public Prosecutor, (Region 1-9) cover and oversee the work of all provincial offices in their jurisdictions. ii) Provincial Offices There are Provincial Public Prosecutor Offices established in 76 provinces outside Bangkok. The Offices of Provincial Summary Litigation are set up to deal with summary cases in highly populated provinces. There are also Offices of Provincial Juvenile and Family Litigation taking care of juvenile offenders and family matters. Recently, the Offices of Civil Rights Protection and Judgment Enforcement have been set up in all provinces to be in charge of legal aid and enforcement of judgment matters.
An introduction to the Office of the Attorney General of Thaialnd. It describes historical background, duties and functions and organization...