THAILAND: National Laws

Summary: General overview of the Thailand's national legal provisions on children's rights, including guidance on how to conduct further research.

National laws on children's rights

Status of the CRC in national law
International conventions including the Convention on the Rights of the Child do not have direct effect in Thai law, and the rights contained therein must be incorporated into national law to be enforceable.  The CRC has as a whole not been directly incorporated as such, meaning that its provisions can only be directly invoked by domestic courts and local agencies where they have been enacted in national laws. The Juvenile and Family Courts can use the Convention in interpreting domestic laws, but where there is a contradiction between national law and the CRC, national law will prevail.

Constitution: Chapter III of the Thai Constitution contains a number of rights provisions that apply to children as to other citizens, but a small number of child specific provisions are also found throughout the Constitution:

  • Art. 40(6): provides that children, youths, women, and disabled persons have the right to proper protection during the judicial process and proper treatment in cases related to sexual violence.
  • Art. 52: contains several rights that apply specifically to children. Children and youths shall have the right to survive and receive physical, mental and intellectual development according to their potential in a suitable environment; children, youths, women and family members shall have the right to be protected by the State against violence and unfair treatment and must have the right to receive remedies with regards to this right; any interference or restriction on the rights of children, youths or family members is prohibited except as in compliance with the provisions of a law specifically enacted to preserve family status and the maximum benefit to persons involved; and children with no guardian have a right to receive proper care and education from the State.
  • Art. 80(1) requires the State to implement policies to protect and develop children and to support their education.
  • Art. 84(7): requires the State to implement economic policies to protect children with regards to employment.
  • Art. 152: makes provision for the special consideration of laws related to children, women, the elderly, and disabled persons.

Legislation: there is no comprehensive or consolidated Children's Act in Thai law; rather, legislation related to children's rights can be found throughout a number of acts, some of which are specifically targeted at children. Relevant legislation includes, but is by no means limited to:

  • The Child Protection Act 2003
  • The Penal Code (amended 2007)
  • The Criminal Procedure Code (amended 2007)
  • The Juvenile Family Court and Juvenile and Family Procedure Act 2010
  • The Child Adoption Act 2010
  • The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act 2008
  • The National Child and Youth Development Promotion Act 2007
  • The Domestic Violence Victim Protection Act 2007
  • The Compulsory Education Act 2002
  • The Promotion of Non-Formal Education and Informal Education Act 2008
  • The Persons with Disabilities' Quality of Life Promotion Act 2007
  • The Civil Registration Act 2008
  • The Nationality Act 2008
  • The Alcoholic Beverage Control Act 2008
  • The Labour Protection Act (amended 2008)

Legal Research:
The Thai Parliament (Rathasapha) maintains an official website in Thai offering legislative information (  The Thai Law Reform Commission publishes Acts of Parliament in English and Thai ( and the Thai Law Forum publishes legislation in English ( The current Constitution and its predecessors are available in English through the Asian Legal Information Institute ( In addition, the GlobaLex project at New York University has published a guide to legal research in Thailand ( and the U.S. Law Library of Congress (, the World Legal Information Institute ( and the Asian Legal Information Institute ( provide a selection of links to relevant legal and governmental resources.

Case Law:
CRC jurisprudence

Please contact CRIN if you are aware of any cases in national law that reference the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Case law research
The website of the Law Reform Commission provides links to the case law of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the Administrative Court and the legal opinions of the Council of State in Thai ( The Asian Legal Information Institute has published a selection of the case law of the Constitutional Court ( and the Supreme Court ( in English.

Compliance with the CRC
In its 2012 Concluding Observations, the Committee on the Rights of the Child welcomed a number of pieces of legislation contributing to the harmonisation of national law with the principles and provisions of the CRC. The Committee also welcomed the establishment of the Sub-Committee under the National Child and Youth Commission with the aim of revising existing laws to bring them into conformity with the Convention. The Committee raised concerns, however, at the inadequacy of measures to enforce and implement legal reform, particularly with regards to the Child Protection Act, which has not been reviewed since its implementation in 2003 and has no corresponding guidelines on the roles and responsibilities of the various agencies within its purview.

In depth analysis
Despite welcoming a number of legislative reforms in its Concluding Observations of 2012, the Committee on the Rights of the Child highlighted several areas of Thai law that contained inconsistencies with the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Committee noted the reforms of the Home Workers Protection Act with regards to minimum wages and safe working conditions for children over 15 years of age, but expressed concern that the legislation did not provide protection to informal workers in agriculture, the tourist industry, begging and domestic service, where children aged below 15 are mostly involved. The Committee recommended that the State amend its legislation to prohibit the involvement of children in informal sectors, "with particular attention to vulnerable groups of children such as foreign children and children in street situations".

With regards to juvenile justice, the Committee expressed concern at the low age of criminal responsibility (10 years) and the potentially inadequate training of members of the judiciary with regards to children's rights. Accordingly, the Committee recommended addressing these concerns, as well as ensuring that deprivation of liberty is used as a measure of last resort for children in conflict with the law and that children are always detained separately from adults.

The Committee also raised concerns over violence against children in the State party, particularly with regards to the legality of corporal punishment in the home and by those with parental authority over a child. The Committee recommended that corporal punishment be explicitly prohibited in domestic legislation, along with all other forms of violence against children. Moreover, while welcoming amendments to the Penal Code with regards to the crime of rape, the Committee expressed concern that the investigation and criminal procedure for sexual abuse cases is unduly long.

Current law reform projects
At the time of the 2012 Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, a Draft Reproductive Health Act was under consideration. 


Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.