The remedy of damages—general principles
The remedy of damages—general principles

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

  • The remedy of damages—general principles
  • Damages—the different types of damages remedy
  • Damages in tort
  • Common law damages for breach of contract
  • Damages in equity (in lieu of an injunction, Senior Courts Act 1981)
  • Negotiating damages
  • Restitutionary remedies
  • Lord Reed’s summary of the general principles (Morris-Garner v One Step)
  • Electing between remedies
  • Contribution to damages between wrongdoers

This Practice Note sets out the general principles applicable when considering the remedy of damages. It draws on the judgment of Lord Reed in Morris-Garner v One Step and, in so doing, covers user damages in tort, common law damages for contractual breach, equitable damages and negotiating damages (a term used in preference to the damages awarded in Wrotham Park).

For guidance on damages in contract claims generally, see subtopic: Contractual breach damages and remedies—overview.

For guidance on negotiating damages specifically, see Practice Note: ‘Negotiating damages’ for contractual breach.

For guidance on recovering and assessing damages in tort claims generally, see Practice Note: Damages in tort claims—recovery and assessment.

Damages—the different types of damages remedy

Damages are an award of money made to compensate a claimant who has suffered loss or damage as a result of a wrong for which the defendant is responsible.

A right to damages may arise under a statute as well as under the common law.

'Damages' can be defined as the pecuniary recompense given by process of law to a person in order to make good the consequences of an actionable wrong that another has done him.

In this way, they are distinguishable from the remedy available in a claim based on unjust enrichment, which is concerned with an unjustified gain by the defendant independently of whether the latter is a