The court, located near the Region 8 Police headquarters in Tha Chatchai, at the northern end of the island, officially opened yesterday morning (Oct 22).
Supreme Administrative Court President Piya Patangta led the official grand opening activities, joined by Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana and Somyot Vatanapirom, who as the Chief of Nakhon Sri Thammarat Administrative Court is currently also the Chief of the Phuket Administrative Court.
Monks invited to the occasion conducted for prayers and a blessing ceremony.
Mr Somyot explained, “The number of cases being heard by the Administrative Court is increasing. This (new court) we will help us to work faster. Forty cases that were being heard in Nakhon Sri Thammarat (the regional Administrative Court) have already been transferred to be heard at Phuket Administrative Court.
“Also, another 200 cases scheduled to be heard at the Nakhon Sri Thammarat Administrative Court will be transferred to be heard in Phuket. This will allow Administrative Court to be able to clear our backlog of cases,” he said.
As defined by the Administrative Court of Thailand itself, the Administrative Court is the principle agency of the country having competence to try and adjudicate “administrative cases”.
“Administrative cases refer to disputes between a private individual and an administrative agency or a State official, or to a dispute between an administrative agency and a State official themselves. The nature of such cases necessarily involves the exercise of administrative power, neglect of official duties or an unreasonable delay in the performance of duties, an administrative tort or other liabilities incurred by an administrative agency or State official in relation to an administrative contract,” the judicial organisation explains on its website. (See here.)
Now open, the Administrative Court of Phuket has jurisdiction in administrative cases throughout Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi and Ranong.
“In the five years from 2014 to August 2018, the Administrative Court in Nakhon Sri Thammarat heard a total of 867 cases from Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi and Ranong,” Mr Somyot explained.
Of those, 291 cases were from Phuket, 367 cases were from Krabi, 147 were from Phang Nga and 62 were from Ranong, he added.
Among the 867 cases from the Andaman region from 2014-2018, the top three forms of disputes comprised 293 cases involving property being returned to its rightful owner (whether to a person or to the State), 189 cases involving building control and environmental issues, and 122 cases involving the offering of and bidding for official government contracts, Mr Somyot noted.
“The top five ministries involved in these cases are the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives and the Ministry of Transport,” he said.
The Phuket Administrative Court, officially located at 33/3 Moo 5, Mai Khao, is situated on 26 rai in Mai Khao.
“This is to provide better access to people in Phang Nga, Ranong and Krabi, instead of having the court located further south on the island,” Mr Somyot explained.
The four-storey court building provides 14,200 square metres of useable space, including the court rooms, negotiation chambers, witness interview rooms, a legal library, a meeting hall and even cells for detaining suspects.
The facility also includes an 82-car parking lot.