Claimants often commence (or wish to commence) Court claims in contract or in tort. Damages are the compensation available for the Court to award to a Claimant who is successful at their claim.

Objective of a damages award

In tort claims, the purpose of an award of damages is to put a Claimant in the position as if the tort did not occur. For e.g. damages may be awarded in a negligence claim. In contract claims, an award of damages is meant to put a Claimant in the position as if the contract had been performed. For example damages may be awarded for a breach of employment contract.

Some types of damages

Damages may be – special, general, liquidated, unliquidated, exemplary, nominal etc. Provisions related to liquidated damages may commonly be negotiated and included in particular contracts. For some contracts (e.g. agreements for the sale of land); damages may not be a suitable remedy and the discretionary remedy of specific performance may be available to the aggrieved party.

Exemplary Damages

These damages are awarded to punish a Defendant and/or to compensate a Claimant for the harm done by the Defendant. These damages are not applicable to every claim which a Claimant wishes to bring in Court. Exemplary damages are generally awarded in certain (tort) claims for e.g. false imprisonment, malicious prosecution or assault and battery by an officer of the state etc.

An award of exemplary damages is directed at the oppressive, arbitrary or unconstitutional conduct of the wrongdoer. It is meant to condemn, denounce and deter and it should be proportional to the Defendant’s conduct.

In the past, in Trinidad & Tobago, there has been a “split award” of exemplary damages and there has even been the rare award of exemplary damages for breach of contract.

For related information see: ️Take it to the Court on time! ️ – Tenoreque Legal and Consulting