Punitive damages

Punitive damages

Damages awarded in excess of the claimant’s loss (also known as exemplary damages, retributory damages or vindictive damages) 

 

Intended to punish the defendant and more closely connected to criminal law than tort or contract.  Punitive damages are awarded occasionally in tort cases to mark the court’s disapproval of the defendant’s conduct (for example, in defamation actions).  They are not available (at least under English law) for breach of contract, as damages in contract are principally awarded on a compensatory basis 

Glossary

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