Court hears landmark case regarding impacts in Thailand of Laos' Xayaburi Dam

Case profile available here

“The implications of such as case being heard – if not won – by a Thai court raises important precedents that expand the jurisdictional potentials of legal action over cross-border investments with transboundary impacts.”

Philip Hirsch, Professor of Human Geography, School of Geosciences, University of Sydney

Experts weigh in on the case's international significance in this blog.

Get RSS feed of these results

All components of this story

6 January 2016

Thai villagers to appeal court decision on Xayaburi dam lawsuit

Author: Pianporn Deetes, International Rivers

“Mekong Villagers To Appeal Xayaburi Court Case Decision”, 25 Dec 2015

Thailand’s Administrative Court today found that state agencies involved in the destructive Xayaburi Dam, under construction on the Mekong River, have complied with Thai law by disclosing basic information about the project on their websites…“We are extremely disappointed by the Court’s verdict,…Xayaburi Dam will have far-reaching impacts throughout the basin…However communities have not been meaningfully consulted, nor informed about the project, and no transboundary impact assessment has been carried out”…“While justice has not yet been achieved, we are ready to file an appeal to the Supreme Court…We are confident that this is not the end of the fight for the rights of Mekong communities…This case is very important to Thailand and to the region. It is the first community-filed lawsuit in the region related to dam building on the Mekong River and the first lawsuit on a transboundary project. We hope that through an appeal, Mekong communities in Thailand will receive the justice that they deserve and that the case will enable the country's justice system to cover the extraterritorial obligation of state agencies, companies and banks involved in projects such as the Xayaburi Dam”…  

Read the full post here

4 January 2016

Court dismisses villagers’ lawsuit against govt. agencies for impacts in Thailand of Xayaburi Dam in Laos; villagers vow to appeal

Author: Paritta Wangkiat & Mongkol Bangprapa, Bangkok Post

“Court backs Xayaburi legal process”

Villagers opposing the Xayaburi dam in Laos have vowed to appeal the Administrative Court's decision yesterday to dismiss the lawsuit regarding the dam which alleged that Thai state agencies signed the power purchase agreement (PPA) illegally.

While reading out the ruling, the judge said "the defendants did not neglect their duty, so the case is dismissed”…

Sor Rattanamanee Polkla, Coordinator of the Community Resource Centre and lawyer for the plaintiffs in the case, said she would discuss the ruling with the 37 villagers who filed the case and appeal since the court has yet to consider the transboundary impacts of the Xayaburi dam, which is located on the Mekong River in Laos…

Read the full post here

23 December 2015

Thailand: Groups call for regulation of outbound investment ahead of court decision on transboundary Xayaburi dam case

Author: Thai NGOs monitoring outbound investment

Thai NGOs monitoring foreign investment are calling on the government to enact an outbound investment law and oversight body to prevent harmful social and environmental impacts of Thai investment projects in other countries, and protect Thailand’s international reputation.

“Large-scale projects that are opposed by Thai communities and do not meet the requirements of Thai law are instead being built by Thai developers in neighboring countries with weaker legal institutions, such as Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar,” says Areewan Sombunwatthanakun of the Spirit Education Movement

This call comes three days before the Thai Administrative Court rules on a challenge brought by Thai villagers living on the Mekong River against the state-owned Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) and four other state bodies for agreeing to buy 90 % of electricity from the $3.5 billion Xayaburi hydropower dam. The dam is being built and financed by Thai companies in neighboring Laos...

Read the full post here

30 November 2015

Mekong villagers in fight for their rights

Author: Sor Rattanamanee Polkla, Bangkok Post

The Administrative Court will today begin hearing a ground-breaking lawsuit regarding the transboundary impacts of the Xayaburi dam, located on the Mekong River in Laos -- how it will affect communities and livelihoods in Thailand. The case was filed by 37 villagers from the Network of Thai People in Eight Provinces, who have been engaged in a legal battle over the project since 2012. 

The lawsuit hinges on the responsibilities of Thai government agencies to communities which face impacts on their livelihoods due to Thailand's plans to purchase power from the dam...

Read the full post here