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Prince Rapee Pattanasak

Father of the modern Thai legal system

On 7th August each year, Thailand observes Rapee Day, commemorating the passing away of Prince Rapee Pattanasak, the father of Thailand's modern legal system.

At Pattaya court on Pratamnak Road, Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn, chief judge of Pattaya court Virot Tula-phan, court officials, city council members and students took part in the Rapee Day commemoration ceremony.

Each year on August 7, Thailand's legal profession pays
tribute to Prince Rapee Pattanasak, the father of Thailand's modern legal system.

Prince Rapee, a son of King Chulalongkorn, Rama V, was born on October 21, 1874. After he obtained his secondary education in Suan Kularb Palace School in Bangkok, he went on to study law at Christchurch College, Oxford University. He came back and became minister of justice at the age of 22 in 1896. He held the position for 14 years.

The Prince took initiatives on establishment of the first law school in the country in 1897. He drew up a syllabus and taught the students himself. In his 14 years in office, he laid a firm foundation for the Thai legal system.

In 1911, King Vajiravudh, Rama VI, appointed Prince Rapee Minister of Agriculture. He promoted systemization of land title deeds and ownership, and initiated the Royal Irrigation Department and many projects to aid farmers. He fell ill in 1920, and resigned from active service. He went to Paris for medical care and passed away on August 7 of the same year.

His statue was constructed in front of the Ministry of Justice and each year law practitioners and the general public who now live under the law he once wrote pay tribute to him.


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