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Legal Update

New Procedure For Upgrading A Certificate Of Possession Under The Land Code

23 January 2007
Mayer Brown JSM Legal Update


On 19 December 2006, the Cabinet approved a draft Act Amending the Land Code (cancellation of certificate of possession) setting out the criteria, procedures and conditions regarding the upgrade of land held under a certificate of possession (Sor. Kor. 1) to either a land title deed (Chanote) or a land utilization deed (Nor. Sor. 3 Gor.).

Full Update

There are various levels of land title in Thailand enjoying different levels of security. The ultimate certification of land ownership is shown by a Chanote title which equates to a freehold title. The Nor. Sor. 3 Gor. title is often treated as virtual freehold and can be upgraded to a Chanote title after successful application to the Land Department. The Nor. Sor. 3 Gor. is a documented right of use, forever, and can be bought and sold; and the boundaries of such land are well defined. However, it is not a certificate of ownership; only a Chanote specifies actual ownership. Sor. Kor. 1, a certificate of possession, only recognizes possession and does not imply ownership rights with such possession, such as leasing or selling the land. A Sor. Kor. 1 is required for upgrading and issuance of a Nor. Sor. 3 Gor. and is most common in the rural areas.

Current Rules And Procedures

Currently, due to an incomplete and cumbersome process for upgrading land title documents, problems regarding the upgrade of Sor. Kor. 1 are on the daily agenda of the Land Department.  As a result this may lead to the illegality or invalidity of the issuance of land title deeds or land utilization deeds.

Draft Act Amending The Land Code

The draft Act provides:

1.  If the holder of a Sor. Kor. 1 applies for an upgrade within 180 days of the commencement of the draft amendment, prior to the issuance of a land title deed or a land utilization deed, the Land Office shall inspect or verify the land with an aerial photograph, scale map or any process imposed by the Director General of the Land Office, as to whether the land is available for such upgrade;

2.  However, if the holder of the Sor. Kor. 1 applies for the upgrade beyond the period of 180 days after commencement of the draft amendment, the holder must request a Court order granting the upgrade.  The Court is also required to (i) inform the Land Office of the Court's final order or judgment stating that the holder legitimately occupies and utilises the land; and (ii) request the Land Office to inspect or verify the land with an aerial photograph or scale map, including preparing any comments for the court's consideration.

The draft Act is at a very early stage and may be altered before being finalised. However, implementing criteria, conditions and procedures will increase the effectiveness and fairness regarding the upgrade of certificates of possession.  Ultimately, this will protect the interests and benefits of both officials and potential buyers. 

Author: Sittiporn Roytrakul

For further information, please contact:

Name: Araya Akomsoonthorn
Phone: +66 2 677 7585 x160
Fax: +66 2 677 7599

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