Claiming damages—tort and contract claims compared

The following Dispute Resolution practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Claiming damages—tort and contract claims compared
  • General principles
  • Recoverable losses

Claiming damages—tort and contract claims compared

This Practice Note serves as a quick reference guide for practitioners comparing the law of damages as it applies to claims in tort and in contract.

For the basic principles of the law of damages, see Practice Note: The remedy of damages—general principles.

For detailed guidance on the law as it applies to contract claims, see: Contractual breach damages and remedies—overview.

For detailed guidance on the law as it applies to claims in tort, see: Damages in tort claims—recovery and assessment.

For guidance on the concept of ‘special damages’ and ‘general damages’ which are unique to pleading personal injury and clinical negligence claims, see: Past expenses and losses—overview.

For guidance on attempts in drafting commercial contracts to exclude and/or limit liability for certain types of losses, see Practice Note: Exclusion and limitation of liability.

General principles

ContractTort
Compensatory function’...where a party sustains a loss by reason of a breach of contract, he is, so far as money can do it, to be placed in the same situation, with respect to damages, as if the contract had been performed’ (Robinson v Harman (1848) 154 ER 363 at 365). The court may occasionally depart from this general policy and award some greater sum, but only in exceptional circumstances (eg gain-based damages in A-G v Blake [2001] 1 AC 268, [2000] 4
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