Interesting Court Judgement
Court revokes construction permit of Ashton Asoke (Supreme Administrative Court: Decided Case Aor Sor. 188/2566)
The Supreme Administrative Court has revoked the construction permit for the THB 6.4 billion (approx USD 182 million) Ashton Asoke luxury condominium in central Bangkok. The condominium currently hosts over 580 families, both Thai and foreign residents. The court considered it illegal for the project to lease the expropriated land of the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) to be an entrance and exit to Asoke Road, as the land was expropriated for public benefit for the Blue Line Mass Rapid Transit (MRT). Due to this judgement, the project does not comply with the building control law in relation to the required entrance of at least 12 metres wide to connect to a public road of at least 18 metres. This led to the revocation of the construction permit. The ruling’s retroactive effect dates back to 2015 when the construction permit issuance. Ananda Development, the project’s developer, will discuss with relevant officials and is expected to initiate lawsuits against the city administration and the MRTA. For the next step, the developer must reapply for the construction permit within 30 days, however, the deadline can be extended to up to 120 days. During this period, the developer must find a solution to comply with building control regulations.
Thailand Legal News
Approval Granted for Bangchak-Esso Merger with 6 Conditions
The Trade Competition Commission has unanimously approved the merger of Bangchak Corporation Plc (BCP) and Esso (Thailand) Public Company Limited (ESSO) under certain conditions. The merger, valued at THB 55.5 billion (approx. USD 1.65 billion), was proposed by BCP in January of this year. The conditions attached to the approval are as follows:
- BCP is prohibited from increasing its shareholding by government agencies for 5 years after the merger unless legally authorized.
- For 5 years following the merger, BCP cannot purchase more than 50% of crude oil from a single supplier, except when such supplier is considered as a related business as defined by the Commission. BCP must also report the previous year’s procurement results to the Trade Competition Commission by the first quarter of the subsequent year.
- BCP is required to uphold contract terms with its petroleum customers from ESSO (Thailand) until the contract expiration. Any changes require customer consent.
- Similarly, BCP must maintain agreements with ESSO-branded service stations, requiring operator consent for any proposed changes. Operators affected by the merger can terminate contracts within 90 days of the merger by giving advance notice to BCP.
- BCP must develop a 5-year plan for environmental innovation and green energy projects, submitting it to the Commission within 90 days of the merger, along with yearly progress reports.
- BCP must develop a 5-year plan to distribute merger benefits to consumers and society, submitting annual progress reports to the Trade Competition Commission within the same timeframe.
If BCP disagrees with these conditions, it has the option to present its case to the Administrative Court within 60 days of receiving the order.
Draft ministerial regulations on the Exchange of Information to Comply with International Agreements on Taxation
The Cabinet has approved in principle the draft Ministerial Regulations under the Emergency Decree on the Exchange of Information for Compliance with International Agreements on Taxation B.E. 2565. The draft Ministerial Regulations set rules and procedures for financial institutions which have duties in reporting financial account information of foreigners who are not tax residents in Thailand to other contracting countries. The implementation of the said Ministerial Regulations will make the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (MCAA CRS) under the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) legally binding to Thailand. This is done to prevent Thailand from being seen as a country without tax transparency, which may lead to sanctions by other contracting parties.
Exemption of PDPA for certain government agencies
The Cabinet approved a draft Royal Decree exempting certain government agencies from complying with Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 of the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) under the following criteria:
|Exempted Agencies||Exempted Activities|
|– Prevention and suppression of corruption.|
|– Collection of taxes, any actions relating to the enforcement of all taxes, duties, fees, and fines.|
|Local government organization||– Collecting taxes according to the law on land and building tax.|
|Secretariat of the Cabinet||– Appointment/removal of ecclesiastical peerage, civil servants, individuals, or groups of persons which are under the prerogative of the King or have to be submitted to the Cabinet
– Requesting for the bestowing or restoring of Royal Orders and Decorations
– A petition which was presented to the King
|Any agencies||– Request of data from other government agencies which are authorized by law in order to carry out their objectives or mission in relation to important public interests as announced by the PDPC
– Collection, use and disclosure of personal data in connection with deportation, extradition, international cooperation on criminal justice, prevention and suppression involvement in transnational organized crime, and other judicial cooperation or international justice
*NACC = National Anti-Corruption Commission
PACC = Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission
PDPC = Personal Data Protection Commission
However, exempted agencies must put in place security measures to protect personal data in accordance with standards prescribed by the PDPC.