Lawyers agree to help farmers over rice

The Lawyers Council of Thailand has agreed to help farmers sue the government for payment delays under the government's rice-pledging scheme.

The council assured the farmers that there is "zero" chance they will lose the case.

The council and the farmers are also considering filing a criminal suit against those involved in the implementation of the scheme for fraud and violating Section 84 of the constitution, that supports free and fair economic systems.

Dej-udom Krairit, president of the council, said a civil suit would first be lodged in three cases to demand payment of the money owed to the farmers for their rice under the government scheme months ago.

In the first case, the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives (BAAC), the caretaker ministers involved in the rice scheme, and the political parties involved will be named as the first, second, and third defendants.

The BAAC is to be sued for failing to pay rice-pledging money while ministers and parties involved will be sued for their involvement in the scheme's implementation, said Mr Dej-udom.

The farmers want their overdue payments paid plus 7.5% interest, he said.

In the second case, the farmers intend to sue the BAAC for violating the rice-pledging contracts by refusing to pay the farmers money as it was required to under the scheme, he said.

In the third civil case, a certain number of farmers will sue ministers, parties, and other parties for embezzlement because the contracted rice millers refused to give them a formal rice-pledging certificate which is required to claim their money from the BAAC, said Mr Dej-udom.

Some farmers have been waiting for months for payment under the scheme. The government is struggling to arrange payment as it is now in a caretaker capacity.

The government should have been a sole defendant in this third civil case but unlike in the US legal system, the Thai government is not considered a juristic person, he said.

The council also agreed to set up another legal team to study the possibility of filing a criminal suit against those involved in the implementation of the rice scheme for defrauding the farmers, he said.

The team would determine whether the scheme is deemed a violation of Section 84 of the charter which ensures free and fair economic systems.

The government is accused of interfering with rice prices by offering to pay the farmers for their rice at prices far higher than the median prices in the market and monopolising the rice trade system in the country.

These decisions were reached at a meeting between the council and affected farmers from 19 provinces led by Prasit Boonchuey, president of the Thai Farmers Association. The meeting was held at the council's headquarters on Ratchadamnoen Avenue in Bangkok.

The council needs two months to compile evidence before formally lodging the lawsuits.

The affected farmers would not be charged for any legal costs as these cases are considered consumer-related ones, said Mr Dej-udom.

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 22/01/2014 at 11:41 AM
Help farmers without cost......why do not help other people...
Discussion 2 : 22/01/2014 at 09:55 AM
No, go back and read the second sentence. The lawyers council said there is zero chance of the farmers losing ! Which means it would be a 100% certainty that the govt and related parties will lose. (which just shows how gullible some of these farmers are, because we know that is not true here in Thailand !)
Discussion 3 : 22/01/2014 at 09:19 AM
The best is to stop this rice scam madness and support real poor farmers with direct subventions or 0% loans. Under this scam the really poor farmers with i.e.1 rai paddy get nothing. They hardly can feed the family and send kids to school. This part of society is not in focus on corrupt politician, they cannot make money on them.
Discussion 4 : 22/01/2014 at 08:51 AM
Rice farmers are fall guys of this political crisis. All the government agencies connected to farmers directly ignore the financial problems of theirs and indirectly bring harm to them. EC barred caretaker government filed of loan to settle this rice pledging scheme due to resolve of government. Other banks did the same thing to drag on the delay of payment to farmers. System is wrong and truly abused be someone in the line.
Discussion 5 : 22/01/2014 at 08:49 AM
A good honest lawyer (I was one) should also explain the reality of the international rice markets to these farmers and the incredible damage this program has done to Thailand's rice industry and its reputation.
Discussion 6 : 22/01/2014 at 08:16 AM
All things considered, it's hard to imagine how a govt responsible for such a costly and mismanaged mess like this would ever get elected again. Or am i wrong assuming as much in Thailamd?
Discussion 7 : 22/01/2014 at 07:46 AM
Hi Honest and good lawyer must Help Farmer to get back Money ASAP .by suiing may take 4 to 5 year and by returning rice to farmer will be faster . pls note most court case in the world against any GOVT may take 5 to 20 year .
Discussion 8 : 22/01/2014 at 07:33 AM
Another two months and who will pay the tax payers will.
Discussion 9 : 22/01/2014 at 07:14 AM
If there's zero chance of the government losing, then Banks know its a zero risk capital investment. They can buy the rice pledge at a discount knowing it can be sold on to the government once democracy is restored.
Discussion 10 : 22/01/2014 at 07:11 AM
All the turmoil, hardship and pain in Thailand because of one selfish, subhuman meglomaniac fugitive. It's time for drastic measures to be taken to rid the country of this burden.

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