Helmut Koziol

Some Reflections on Punitive Damages

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: aims of tort law, compensation, criminal law, nulla poena sine lege, preventive damages, punitive damages, tort law, unjust enrichment.

Whereas common law countries think highly of punitive damages, continental European countries reject them. This paper enumerates and evaluates the various arguments that have periodically been put forward in favour and against punitive damages. It examines why such damages are awarded in some quarters of the globe and not in others and proffers alternative remedies which achieve some of the goals of punitive damages in a manner commensurate with the aims of tort law. To the extent that gaps remain, the author calls for development in other areas of law, in particular criminal and administrative penal law. Punitive damages do not belong in tort law. The author concedes, however, that unjust enrichment and tort law itself could also benefit from development to meet the demands of reasonable compensation and in this way, prevention.

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