Press Release: Central Administrative Court refusing to review case filed by female migrant worker against Department of Employment For damage from execution of duties of the officials which has led to her 105-day-detention
For immediate release on 29 December 2022
Central Administrative Court refusing to review case filed by female migrant worker against Department of Employment
For damage from execution of duties of the officials
which has led to her 105-day-detention
On 31 October 2022, the Central Administrative Court issued a letter to decline to review the Red Case no. 2283/2022 dated 27 October 2022 citing that the complainant had no intention to demand compensation from the Department of Employment (DoE) for their negligence or their undue delay of action concerning the renewal of her work permit. Therefore, the case was not a dispute concerning a tortious act by an administrative agency or public official or due to the exercise of administrative power according to the law or not an administrative implementation, which would have rendered the case to fall under jurisdiction of the Administrative Court. The Court therefore cannot allow the case to go to trial.
The case stems from an incidence on 22 June 2021 when Ms. P, a female migrant worker from Myanmar was working in a garment factory in Sut Sawat. The factory was then raided by officials from the Bangkok Employment Office Region 2 and officials from the Bangkok Internal Security Operations Command. They asked to see personal documents and work permits of all workers in the factory. When Ms. P produced her passport and work permit, the officials found her work permit had expired since 20 February 2021. The Human Resources staff of the factory informed the officials that the application for the renewal of the permit had been filed, but the officials could not find such record in their system. Therefore, Ms. P was taken to the Rat Burana Metropolitan Police Station and charged for being an alien and working without work permit, an offence against Section 8 coupled with Section 101 of the Royal Ordinance Concerning Management of Employment of Foreign Workers B.E. 2560.
Through the company’s interpreter, the inquiry official has read out the charges against Ms. P to her and she plead guilty to the charges assuming she had indeed committed an offence and due to the lack of access to lawyer on that day. After being initially detained at the police station, she was later taken to the Immigration Detention Center (Suan Phlu) pending her deportation.
Meanwhile, her younger sister has asked for help from the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) in Samut Sakhon on 5 July 2021. Ms. Paranda Pankaew and Acting Sub Lt. Watcharawit Wutthipatchara, HRDF’s lawyers have thus coordinated with the authorities including the Immigration Bureau, the Department of Employment (DoE), inquiry officials of the Rat Burana Metropolitan Police Station and the Bangkok Employment Officer Region 2. It was later found out that the employer had filed the application for the renewal of the work permit with the Bangkok Employment Officer Region 2 since 22 January 2021. HRDF has thus sent a letter to the Legal Affairs Division of DoE to furnish them with the information. The DoE’s Legal Affairs Division then stated that Ms. P had filed an application to renew her work permit before its expiry according to Section 67/1 of the Royal Ordinance Concerning Management of Employment of Foreign Workers B.E. 2560 and the officials of the Bangkok Employment Officer Region 2 had received such application and the application fee, although it did not appear that the registrar had renewed the permit. Therefore, Ms. P still has the right to work unless and until the authority eventually refuses to renew her work permit according to Section 67/2 of the Royal Ordinance Concerning Management of Employment of Foreign Workers. HRDF’s lawyer has coordinated with the Immigration Bureau and brought Ms. P out of her detention on 4 October 2021. Clearly, Ms. P had been prosecuted even though she had already filed an application to renew her work permit. The damage has been done due to the legal action and the unlawful detention from 22 June to 4 October 2021 for 105 days.
Ms. P has thus filed the case with the Central Administrative Court against the Department of Employment (DoE) in the Black Case no. 2159/2565 on 30 September 2022. Given the damage done to her as a result of the action of the public officials including damage to her property, liberty, reputation, and mental health, she demands 185,500 baht plus 5% interest rate per annum for damages from the day the case was filed until the debt is completely serviced. In addition, she demands that DoE offers an apology through its website and social media for seven days consecutively. The Central Administrative Court has instructed via its order on 31 October 2022 to not accept to review the case citing the case was not a dispute concerning a tortious act by an administrative agency or public official or due to the exercise of administrative power according to the law.
Nevertheless, HRDF deems that even though the Central Administrative Court has refused to let the case go to trial, but the case is a dispute concerning a tortious act by an administrative agency or public official and such exercise of power has been carried out through the criminal judicial procedure, the case should therefore fall under the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice pursuant to Section 194/1 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand. Therefore, Ms. P still has the right to file the case with the Civil Court against the Department of Employment (DoE) since it is a dispute concerning the tortious act committed by an administrative agency or public officials which has cause damage to the property, liberty, mental health, reputation, and human dignity and to demand damages. The Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) hopes that this litigation will set a precedent to ensure the authorities use their utmost care when executing their duties which may lead to the damage of people’s liberty.
For more information, please contact the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF)