Coloured Judgements? The Work of the Thai Constitutional Court, 1998-2016

Date

2018-06-13

Authors

Dressel, Bjoern
Tonsakulrungruang, Khemthong

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Schmidt Periodicals

Abstract

Created in 1997 as part of a major constitutional reform, Thailand’s Constitutional Court has since become embroiled in several high-profile political controversies. Since the 2006 coup, because a number of such decisions have favoured one political camp and considering obvious close and long-standing relations between judges and political elites, questions have arisen about the court’s ability to act as an independent arbiter. Is this view justifiable? To answer that question, this article first analyses how the court has behaved across political administrations in 32 high-profile cases since 2001. It then turns to the socio-biographic profile of the bench, the politics of nominations and changes to its composition, particularly since 2006. Finally, the article considers data on participants in classes offered by the Constitutional Court, which makes it possible to better understand the links between Thai political and judicial networks. The analysis finds evidence of politically biased voting patterns and increasingly partisan nominations to the court, though formally appointment procedures are apolitical, which suggests the politicisation of the court and growing ties between judicial and political elites. These findings raise new questions about the public’s perception of the Constitutional Court’s legitimacy and prospects for the rule of law.

Description

Keywords

Constitutional Court, Thailand, politicisation, judges, judicial networks, megapolitics

Citation

Björn Dressel & Khemthong Tonsakulrungruang (2019) Coloured Judgements? The Work of the Thai Constitutional Court, 1998–2016, Journal of Contemporary Asia, 49:1, 1-23, DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2018.1479879

Source

Journal of Contemporary Asia

Type

Journal article

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DOI

10.1080/00472336.2018.1479879

Restricted until

2037-12-31