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Richard and Damian Taylor. Contract Law Directions (2019 7 ed). pp. 318-319.

As to the application of the law to the facts of the case Lord Reed continued by saying, at paras [98]–[99]:

I now quote Lord Reed. Doesn't the emboldened phrase contradict itself?

  1. This is a case brought by a commercial entity whose only interest in the defendants’ performance of their obligations under the covenants was commercial. Indeed, a restrictive covenant which went beyond what was necessary for the reasonable protection of the claimant’s commercial interests would have been unenforceable. The substance of the claimant’s case is that it suffered financial loss as a result of the defendants’ breach of contract. The effect of the breach of contract was to expose the claimant’s business to competition which would otherwise have been avoided. The natural result of that competition was a loss of profits and possibly of goodwill. The loss is difficult to quantify, and some elements of it may be inherently incapable of precise measurement. Nevertheless, it is a familiar type of loss, for which damages are frequently awarded. It is possible to quantify it in a conventional manner, as is demonstrated by Mr Hine’s report.

  2. The case is not one where the breach of contract has resulted in the loss of a valuable asset created or protected by the right which was infringed. Considered in isolation, the first defendant’s breach of the confidentiality covenant might have been considered to be of that character, but in reality the claimant’s loss is the cumulative result of breaches of a number of obligations, of which the non-compete and non-solicitation covenants have been treated as the most significant, as explained in para 17 above.

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    I don't see any contradiction. "Difficult" does not mean "impossible". Even if it's difficult to quantify, courts do the best they can. – Nate Eldredge Nov 17 '19 at 8:10
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I don't believe it is contradictory. Some kinds of injury are inherently difficult to calculate (e.g. damage to reputation caused by slander) but the judge or jury, as the case may be, will review the evidence and do the best they can. Lord Reed says as much in paragraph 38 of his judgment.

... and as a practical matter, it appears the damages, in this case, were both calculable and supported by evidence. The Court's primary focus was not whether damages could be calculated but rather the measure of damages (i.e. the method of calculation).

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No

The loss is difficult to quantify, and some elements of it may be inherently incapable of precise measurement. Nevertheless, it is a familiar type of loss, for which damages are frequently awarded.

Means:

It’s hard to value and bits of it may be impossible to value. However, it’s a type of damage which money is often awarded in compensation.

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