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Thawat Damsa-ard is a partner and the chief litigator in Tilleke & Gibbins’ dispute resolution group. Widely regarded as foreign investors’ attorney of choice for legal conflicts where the outcome directly impacts future operations in Thailand, Thawat litigates fast-moving, high-stakes matters involving product liability, customs, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, white-collar crime, transportation and logistics, and cross-border disputes.

Together with his team of experienced trial lawyers, Thawat prosecutes and defends complex civil and criminal claims and matters of first impression through all stages of litigation, from seeking preliminary injunctions to negotiating settlements to appeals to the Supreme Court of Thailand. Thawat has been recognized as a leading lawyer in The Legal 500 Asia Pacific (2004–), Chambers Asia-Pacific (2009–), Benchmark Litigation (2019–), and other definitive legal publications. In 2022 and 2023, Asian Legal Business named Thawat to its Asia’s Top 15 Litigators list—the only lawyer in Thailand to receive such a recognition.

His extensive experience in transnational litigation has made Thawat a sought-after advisor by multinational corporations as well as Thailand’s Legal Execution Department, which recruited the firm to represent the state authority in high-profile extraditions.

Thawat has completed the Thammasat Leadership Program, organized by the Thammasat University Alumni Office, and is a strong supporter of legal education, such as through his membership on the committee in charge of curriculum development for Thammasat University’s LLB program. He is also a member of ICC FraudNet, an international network of leading asset recovery specialists.


  • Acted on behalf of several multinational corporations in high-profile criminal customs disputes involving the assessment and calculation of customs duties and penalties. In addition to our representation in active customs investigations and inquiries, our customs experts regularly counsel clients in a variety of compliance and operational matters related to the import and export of goods and services in Thailand.
  • Represented an industry leader in edible coatings. Our client purchased products from a supplier, the quality of which was certified by a third party. Although the third party was dismissed from the case by a lower court, we successfully convinced the Supreme Court to amend the judgment below and hold the third party liable for failing to examine the product.
  • Represented a foreign brewery in a dispute against a local brewery pertaining to a joint venture agreement. The local brewery alleged that our client had terminated the joint venture improperly and took the case to arbitration. Our litigation strategy (based on both the issue of termination and the issue of bad faith) gave us leverage to successfully settle the case.
  • Represented an American manufacturing conglomerate in four litigation matters related to power generation equipment (claims total USD 12,000,000).
  • Protected the right of a charitable foundation to a newly-constructed center for disabled persons and preserved all of the benefits that flowed from the center to the community and needy persons. The foundation purchased a plot of land and constructed a center on the land to benefit disabled persons. Before the transfer of the property, but after the building was completed, the land was attached by a judgment creditor. The court of first instance and the appellate court declined to release the land. With little hope of success, the foundation came to our firm. We convinced the Supreme Court that the land should be released because the foundation had a preferential right. The land and the center for the disabled was returned to the foundation.
  • Proved that our client was innocent in the critical appeal of a criminal case. The court of first instance ruled that our client, the head of a company commissioned to tow a historical submarine from Europe to Asia, committed fraud and assessed a lengthy term of imprisonment. We zealously appealed this judgment. Our persuasive arguments led the appellate court to conclude that our client’s innocence was proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • Defended a global multi-industry company against an international insurance provider in four civil cases pertaining to gas turbine engines, and led the court to dismiss all four claims.
  • Prosecuted and defended various complex civil and criminal actions related to breach of contract, wrongful acts, undue enrichment, fraud, and attempted fraud on behalf of our client.
  • Defended clients against criminal charges related to work permit issues, including providing legal advice, assisting clients at inquiry meetings with police officials, attending court hearings, and assisting with the immigration process.
  • Represented a client in a bankruptcy case. Our representation included providing legal advice, preparing and submitting a petition for an absolute receivership order and the debt repayment application, attending various meetings with the official receiver, and attending court hearings.
  • Defended an insured marine casualty claim brought against a ship management company by a Thai authority in the amount of USD 5 million.
  • Negotiated a favorable settlement of a highly contested termination of a company director involving our client, the director, and the company of the spouse of the director. The dispute included two criminal cases and two civil cases (one of which involved a claim of THB 20,000,000). We successfully gathered evidence of the director’s misconduct and leveraged that evidence to secure a favorable settlement for our client.
  • Represented a client as a joint defendant in a civil lawsuit filed by the owner of adjacent land. The land owner petitioned the court to register a right-of-way across our client’s land to a public road. The trial court rendered judgment in favor of our client and dismissed the land owner’s complaint.
  • Represented a client in a criminal matter regarding forgery. We presented our client’s position and related facts to various governmental authorities. At the end of the government’s investigation, the public prosecutor declined to prosecute our client.
  • Prosecuted a dispute involving breach of contract and property rights. We secured judgment in favor of our client and a permanent injunction against future trespass.
  • Represented an American manufacturing conglomerate in four complex defective product claims in Thailand. In all cases we successfully defended the client and secured favorable judgments after comprehensive trials in connection with power generation equipment with a value of approximately USD 3,000,000 each.
  • Defended a leading global logistics company in three separate criminal actions brought by the Thai Customs Department with potential fines in excess of USD 15,000,000. After a defense put forth at the prosecutorial review stage, the Public Prosecutor issued non-prosecution orders in favor of our client. These orders have since been confirmed and this case is final.
  • Acted for a land owner in a civil case regarding access to real property. We succeeded in facilitating a mutual agreement between the neighbors without a trial.
  • Represented a father in a wrongful act case related to the death of his son by electric shock. Due to the emotional needs of the family, we reached a favorable out-of-court settlement. The defendant paid the compensation to the client and the court entered judgment as per the compromise agreement.
  • Defended a logistics company against a subrogated insurance claim for THB 1.3 million. We successfully argued that our client should only pay in accordance with its liability limits and saved the client over THB 1 million.
  • Represented a parent in a wrongful death case related to a bus accident suffered by his son. We secured a favorable settlement on behalf of our client after negotiations with the bus company, bus driver, and insurance company.
  • Obtained court approval of bankruptcy claims in  amounts of over THB 75,000,000 (company 1), THB 75,000,000 (company 2), and THB 150,000,000 (company 3). Our representation included submitting the application for debt repayment, providing supplemental explanations and evidence, and proving our clients’ right to the sums.
  • Assisted a client with business reorganization. Our representation included providing legal advice, preparing and submitting the debt repayment application, attending the creditors’ meeting, and attending court hearings.
  • Acted for a foreign specialty insurer and secured the dismissal of a large insured cargo claim brought by a joint-venture insurance company against a domestic freight forwarder. We successfully proved that the insured was not liable because the insured was not a carrier or actual carrier of goods.
  • Represented a former employee in a labor case against a leading university. We took the case and filed a claim with the Administrative Court for unfair termination. Our client selected our law firm because we believe in his case.
  • Protected our client’s reputation by preparing a claim against an opposing party for defamation and negotiating a successful settlement of the dispute.
  • Collected electronic evidence of defamatory statements against our client’s business. We filed a civil claim against the opposing party and reached a successful out-of-court settlement.
  • Represented a client in joining a criminal case (as co-plaintiff with the public prosecutor) brought against the client’s former employee, who was embezzling company assets.  The employee was sentenced to imprisonment and a fine.
  • Successfully negotiated settlements of multiparty lawsuits involving the international carriage of goods.
  • Represented a leading investment company operating in the transport sector in a high-profile tort action with a total value of over THB 50,000,000. This case is currently pending in Thailand’s Supreme Court.
  • Represented a leading global shipping group in ship collision and cargo claim litigation filed by a domestic exporter.
  • Represented two global freight forwarders in litigation brought by an ASEAN-based insurance company and pertaining to loss of goods.
  • Defended one of the world’s leading neutral NVOCCs in a cargo claim brought by a top domestic insurer.
  • Secured the release of a ship, which was arrested by a creditor of the previous owner of the vessel. We proved that the ship was not capable of being arrested because the ship was neither owned by nor in the possession of the debtor.
  • Secured a victory in Thailand’s Supreme Court on behalf of an ocean common carrier for damage to a vessel due to defective product packaging.
  • Negotiated a settlement, on behalf of a shipowner, of a ship collision matter involving multiple vessels and substantial damage claims.
  • Represented a subsidiary of a global multimodal transportation provider in a case worth THB 24,000,000. Secured emergency relief in Thailand’s Intellectual Property and International Trade Court, allowing the client to remove the cargo from its vessel.
  • Represented a multinational air carrier in litigation involving cargo damages and prevailed against a global insurance company.
  • Successfully defended one of the world’s leading liner companies against multiple cargo claims brought in Thailand’s Intellectual Property and International Trade Court.
ABOUT Thawat






    LLB, Thammasat University

    BBA, Thammasat University


Awards & Rankings

Other Professionals