Damages in tort claims—recovery and assessment
Produced in partnership with Lina Mattsson of Hardwicke Chambers
Damages in tort claims—recovery and assessment

The following Dispute Resolution guidance note Produced in partnership with Lina Mattsson of Hardwicke Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Damages in tort claims—recovery and assessment
  • Compensatory function of damages in tort
  • General principles of liability in tort claims
  • Causation—tortious liability
  • Breaking the chain of causation—tortious liability
  • Loss and damage in tort
  • Remoteness and foreseeability in tort
  • Quantum of damages—tort—general principles of compensation
  • General damages and special damages in tort claims
  • Exemplary damages (punitive damages) in tort claims
  • more

This Practice Note considers what damages may be available as remedy for claims in tort, including negligence claims.

For general guidance on damages, see Practice Note: The remedy of damages—general principles.

For guidance on equitable remedies in tort claims, see Practice Note: Seeking equitable remedies in tort claims.

For guidance on damages for loss of a chance, see Practice Note: Loss of chance damages.

Compensatory function of damages in tort

Damages in tort are in general compensatory, ie they aim (subject to the rules of remoteness and mitigation) to make the claimant whole—ie to put the claimant in the position they would have been in had the tort not been committed—but no more than that.

This applies not only to negligence and similar torts, but also to torts such as conversion and deceit.

However, this general rule is subject to three qualifications:

  1. restitutionary recovery (see below) may be allowed in respect of certain torts to deprive a defendant of their profits, although this is not a remedy generally available. For further guidance on claims in restitution more generally and seeking an account of profits, see: Restitution and unjust enrichment—overview

  2. in certain proprietary torts, notably trespass and conversion, damages may be quantified by the value to the defendant of the use they have made of the claimant's property, a figure normally set at a reasonable wayleave