Discussing the statement, It is thought that the value of damages for a breach of a duty in tort and a breach of contract should be similar.
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Damages In discussing the statement, "It is thought that the value of damages for a breach of a duty in tort and a breach of contract should be similar.", it would be prudent to look at the obligations of the different parties under the two forms of law, to decide the validity of the statement. Due to the nature of law and the importance of making correct and reasonable judgements, there are always going to be decisions, rulings and judgements that will not satisfy all parties. In order to justify these decisions, the ruling party has to possess not only a thorough understanding of the law but also the full circumstances surrounding the actions brought by the plaintiff and also knowledge of any relevant cases brought beforehand which may set a binding precedence. It is therefore, bearing these last two points in mind, that no two cases where damages are seeking to be awarded are the same, whether it is under contract law or tort. Damages are said to be, "A sum of money awarded by a court as compensation for a tort or a breach of contract." A Dictionary of Law, Oxford University Press the effect of which is to compensate the plaintiff in full for their losses (Restitutio in integrum). What affects the principal of damage claims is whether or not the obligations between the defendant and the plaintiff were entered into voluntarily (Contract)
In recovering the monies, the amount of damages, which the plaintiff would be able to recover from the defendant, would be reduced. Damages paid under contract law are said to equate to the value as if the contract had been performed i.e. they place the plaintiff in the same economic position they would have been in if the contract had been completed. The purpose of damages under tort however are to put the plaintiff in the same economic position as though the tort had not been committed. The main problem with damage claims under tort is what is the basis of the award and how much compensation the defendant entitled to? A tort is "A wrongful act or omission for which damages can be obtained in a civil court by the person wronged, other than a wrong that is only a breach of contract." A Dictionary of Law, Oxford University Press Most cases brought under tort deal with compensation claims for personal injury or damage to property, which are a result of intentional or negligent behaviour on the defendant's part. As with contract law, damages under tort are limited by the rules of remoteness of damage whereby the defendant is only liable for damages, which could have been reasonably foreseen. If the damages could have been foreseen however, a defence cannot be made based on the fact that the extent of the resulting damage was unforeseeable.
* Pain and suffering * Loss of faculty and amenity * Damage to property When calculating the amount of damages to be awarded to the plaintiff, whether it is for a breach of contract or a breach of tort, there are always specific points to the case that will distinguish it from every other case that has gone beforehand. As there are no two cases the same, it is impossible to say before each case is heard, how much damages should be awarded, if any. As mentioned previously, the object of damages under tort is to place the plaintiff in the same position as though the tort had never been committed. Suppose in the act of breaking the tort, the defendant caused the plaintiff sufficient injury as to render them permanently disabled, what amount of damages could place the plaintiff in the position as though the tort had not been committed? Compare this with a case whereby a sub-contractor caused delay to a contract, what amount of damages should be awarded then to render the main contractor in the same position they would have been if they had completed on time? These two cases highlight the point that damages should be awarded based on merit. It cannot be said that damages for a breach of tort should be higher or the same as damages for a breach of contract or vice-versa. All that can be said is that the damages awarded should be fair and just, and should compensate the plaintiff fully.
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