Q&As

How do the English courts interpret the term ‘special damages’ in the context of a contractual limitation of liability provision? How is US-specific terminology interpreted in this context?

read titleRead full title
Produced in partnership with Chris Bryden of 4 King’s Bench Walk
Published on LexisPSL on 30/07/2021

The following Commercial Q&A produced in partnership with Chris Bryden of 4 King’s Bench Walk provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • How do the English courts interpret the term ‘special damages’ in the context of a contractual limitation of liability provision? How is US-specific terminology interpreted in this context?
  • Damages in tort
  • Damages in contract
  • Exclusion and limitation of liability clauses

How do the English courts interpret the term ‘special damages’ in the context of a contractual limitation of liability provision? How is US-specific terminology interpreted in this context?

The English courts’ approach to exclusion and limitation of liability clauses is considered in detail in Practice Note: Exclusion and limitation of liability.

Damages in tort

Generally speaking, damages in tort are divided into the categories of ‘general’ damages and ‘special’ damages. Special damages compensate the claimant for quantifiable monetary losses suffered as a result of the defendant’s act or omission and, as a recognised term, is specific to personal injury claims.

In a claim for personal injury, for example, general damages arising out of negligence will include compensation for physical injury but a claim for loss of earnings as a result of not being able to work as a result of the incident will be special damages, (see: Past expenses and losses—overview and Practice Note: Common recoverable losses in personal injury cases).

Damages in contract

Different rules apply when considering damages in contract. The term ‘special damages’ does not have a specific meaning in English contract law under a breach of contract claim. For more information, see Practice Notes:

  1. The remedy of damages—general principles

  2. Damages in tort claims—recovery and assessment

  3. Claiming damages—tort and contract claims compared

Historically, the courts have considered ‘special damages’ for breach of contract, however those terms are often

Related documents:

Popular documents