Punitive Damages in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago v Ramanoop
    • Privy Council
    • 23 March 2005

    An award of compensation will go some distance towards vindicating the infringed constitutional right. The fact that the right violated was a constitutional right adds an extra dimension to the wrong. An additional award, not necessarily of substantial size, may be needed to reflect the sense of public outrage, emphasise the importance of the constitutional right and the gravity of the breach, and deter further breaches.

  • Merson v Cartwright
    • Privy Council
    • 13 October 2005

    The purpose is to vindicate the right of the complainant, whether a citizen or a visitor, to carry on his or her life in the Bahamas free from unjustified executive interference, mistreatment or oppression. The sum appropriate to be awarded to achieve this purpose will depend upon the nature of the particular infringement and the circumstances relating to that infringement.

  • Rookes v Barnard
    • House of Lords
    • 21 January 1964

    It extends to cases in which the Defendant is seeking to gain at the expense of the Plaintiff some object,—perhaps some property which he covets,—which either he could not obtain at all or not obtain except at a price greater than he wants to put down. Exemplary damages can properly be awarded whenever it is necessary to teach a wrongdoer that tort does not pay.

  • British Transport Commission v Gourley
    • House of Lords
    • 08 December 1955

    In an action for personal injuries the damages are always divided into two main parts. First, there is what is referred to as special damage which has to be specially pleaded and proved. This consists of out-of-pocket expenses and loss of earnings incurred down to the date of trial, and is generally capable of substantially exact calculation. Secondly, there is general damage which the law implies and is not specially pleaded.

  • Nottinghamshire Healthcare National Health Service Trust v New Group Newspapers Ltd
    • Chancery Division
    • 14 March 2002

    Furthermore, the fact that the flagrancy of the infringement, with its overtones of dishonesty and intentional wrong-doing, is one of the factors specifically mentioned may well entitle the court to deal with the question of damages as it would in other cases of intentional wrong-doing: see the speech of Lord Browne-Wilkinson in Smith New Court v Scrimgeour Vickers [1977] AC 254, especially in his discussion of damages for deceit explaining what was said by Lord Blackburn in Livingston v Rawyards Coal (1880) 5 App Cas 25, and the speech of Lord Steyn on the same subject:

  • McCarey v Associated Newspapers Ltd (No. 2)
    • Court of Appeal
    • 06 November 1964

  • Thompson v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 19 February 1997

    Such damages can be awarded where there are aggravating features about the case which would result in the plaintiff not receiving sufficient compensation for the injury suffered if the award were restricted to a basic award.

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Books & Journal Articles
  • EU Member States' Courts Versus U.S. Punitive Damages Awards for Physical Harm in Football: An Attempt at Defining Best Practice
    • No. III, January 2016
    • Dundee Student Law Review
    • Cedric Vanleenhove - Jan De Bruyne
    • Dr. Cedric Vanleenhove (Master in Law Ghent University, LL.M Cambridge) is currently Lecturer-In-Charge of an introductory course in the Bachelor of Laws Program as well as Post-Doctoral Researcher in the field of transnational law at Ghent University Law School. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of European and Comparative Law of ...
    • 1-24
  • News
    • No. 8-6, June 1990
    • The Electronic Library
    • 445-456
    Chemical warfare: ACS fires back at Dialog The American Chemical Society (ACS) has finally answered Dialog's $150 mil‐lion lawsuit against it with a countersuit and accusations that Dialog defraude...
    ... ... ACS seeks an additional $30 million for punitive damages and asked the courts to insist on a formal audit of Dialog's ... ...
  • The Penalty Clause Bias
    • No. 21-1, March 2014
    • Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law
    • 0000
    Common law and civil law do not seem to agree on the function of punitive liquidated damages. Whereas penalty clauses are seen as a way of enriching contract law in France and the Netherlands, they...
    ... ... law and civil law do not seem to agree on the function of punitive liquidated damages. Whereas penalty clauses are seen as a way of enriching ... ...
  • Contract Damages, Corrective Justice and Punishment
    • No. 70-6, November 2007
    • The Modern Law Review
    This article re‐examines the established principle that contract damages compensate but do not punish from the theoretical perspective of corrective justice and, in particular, the version advocate...
    ... ... correctiv e justice a⁄rms the traditional view that contractdamages should be circumscribed by compensatory functions,a ndthe notion of punitive damages is inconsistent with the structure of correctivejustice and hence contractual rights.The correctness of thi s conclusion depends, howev er, ... ...
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Law Firm Commentaries
  • UK Competition Court Awards Punitive Damages For the First Time
    • JD Supra United Kingdom
    The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal has awarded compensatory and exemplary damages to the victim of an abuse of a dominant position. Companies on both sides of the Atlantic should pay heed to the d...
  • The Increasing Intersection of Criminal Law and Tort Law
    • LexBlog United Kingdom
    A significant topic for at least the next decade will be the interesection of criminal law, tort law and civil law (including the law on punitive damages). The issue is growing in prominence for ma...
    ... ... of criminal law, tort law and civil law (including the law on punitive damages). The issue is growing in prominence for many reasons, including ... ...
  • Engage in settlement talks or pay the price
    • JD Supra United Kingdom
    Belief in a strong case is not a good enough reason to refuse settlement overtures. So held the court in DSN v. Blackpool Football Club Ltd [2020] EWHC 670 (QB). The defendant had been found vicari...
    ... ... Damages were agreed but the court was asked to consider whether the claimant d be awarded costs on the standard or more punitive indemnity basis (amongst other issues) ... The damages awarded to the ... ...
  • Legacy Claims - 2018 In Review
    • Mondaq UK
    ... ... Awarding $39.25 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages, the jury also found that Monsanto ... ...
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