Drug cases top last year's court records

Drug cases top last year's court records

Almost 2 million legal cases were filed in the courts last year, with drug-related cases topping the list of court proceedings compiled by the Office of the Courts of Justice (COJ).

According to a report released by COJ yesterday, a total of 1,963,771 cases were filed in the courts in 2019 -- an increase of 6,206 cases on the previous year's figures.

Of the total, 1,305,658 or 66% were civil cases, while 658,113 or 34% were criminal cases, the report showed.

Cases involving drug sales or use stood at the top of the list with a total of 363,125 cases, followed by personal loans (293,899), traffic violations (213,888), credit cards (168,347) and financial loans (134,420 cases).

"Our statistics reflect that drugs and economic hardship are still big problems," COJ secretary-general Sarawut Benjakul said.

Despite the rise in caseload, Mr Sarawut said the government has improved the way it pushes cases through the justice system, with a total of 1,693,587 cases, or 85% of all cases filed last year, brought to a conclusion in courts last year.

He said the courts are applying new technology -- including a new e-notice, which allows lawyers to file complaints in civil cases without having to physically go to court, and an e-filing system, which allows people to view court announcements about cases and file documents online on the courts' new website.

This is intended to help them manage cases and improve citizens' access to the justice system at a lower cost, observers say.

Mr Sarawut said the e-filing and e-notice system make the process of filing straightforward civil cases "simple, convenient and paperless", which can only be good for the public.

"The new systems drastically reduce the time needed and procedures required [to file a case] and help the courts save up over 100 million baht last year," he said.

According to the COJ, 99.97% of cases filed in Courts of First Instance last year were brought to a conclusion within two years, while 98.64% of cases were brought to an end within six months.

Meanwhile, 86.41% of cases filed in the Supreme Court in 2019 were closed within the period of one year.

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