- retributory damages
Damages awarded in excess of the claimant's loss. They are intended to punish the defendant and are more closely connected to criminal law than tort or contract. Punitive damages are awarded occasionally in tort cases to mark the court's disapproval of the defendant's conduct (for example, in defamation actions); they are not available for breach of contract, as damages in contract are awarded on a compensatory basis. Under the present law, punitive damages cannot be awarded unless:• The wrongdoer has committed a legal wrong for which punitive damages were awarded before 1964; and• The wrongdoer's conduct falls into one or other of two limited categories of abuse of power by servants of government, or conduct which was motivated by the pursuit of profits.Related linksretributory damages+ punitive damages, also known as exemplary damagesUSAThe amount of money awarded to the claimant in civil litigation to punish the wrongdoer and to deter the wrongdoer and others from engaging in unlawful conduct in the future. Punitive damages must bear a reasonable relationship to the harm caused by the wrongdoer's actions, and are reserved only for situations in which the wrongdoer acted intentionally, recklessly or with gross negligence in causing the claimant's harm. Punitive damages are awarded to the claimant in addition to compensatory damages. Punitive damages generally may not be recovered for breach of contract.
Practical Law Dictionary. Glossary of UK, US and international legal terms. www.practicallaw.com. 2010.