People-Oriented Justice Reform: Challenge of Thought, Political Will and Action in Thailand

Saturday, 21 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Suntariya MUANPAWONG, Dr. Jur., Thailand
Cholnapa ANUKUL, ๋Center of Just Society Network, Thailand
Far and wide, Thailand is facing with economic inequality, social injustice, political conflicts and a deep-rooted cultural transition. Trust and confidence are needed, especially from the meta-trust generator: The justice system. Still, modernization and reform are essential for justice system as well. This study analyses justice principles with scope of change from previous justice reform programs in Thailand and develop strategic actionable policy recommendations. Mixed methods including literature reviews, expert interviews, focus groups and policy dialogues were applied. It is found that prior justice reform focused mainly and predominantly on criminal justice. Furthermore, improvement of justice service focused only on diminishing delay process. But then and again, disregard cost of justice process and non-assessment of quality of justice decreased public trust in justice system. In the past, the justice reform idea emphasized merely the justice service, but overlooked other determinants outside justice system. As the results, the justice system dealt mostly with trials and adjudication, but did not solve the problem of social and economic injustice in a wider sense. Additionally, the affected people from justice system were excluded from reform processes. The people-oriented justice reform is a new important paradigm, which will interweave among interpersonal justice, distributive justice and procedural justice. Wider justice sphere should be deeply discussed, while interdependence between distributive and adjudicative justice should be more demonstrated. To develop reform feasibility, the inclusive participation process should be introduced. These are challenges of thought, political will and action of all stakeholders in Thailand. Expanding the concept of justice, democratizing the justice system and empowering the citizen are recommended as the new model strategies.