A recent answer answers the question with another question, that of what damage the plaintiff has actually suffered. Yet certain statutory/case regimes have guidelines for compensation that are blind to actual damage suffered.

For example, where one can make out that a breach of the equality act has taken place, the Vento scale applies, even if it didn’t actually result in £900 worth of suffering.

Likewise, if a breach of either s213(3/6) HA2004 can be demonstrated, then the value of claims under S214 is prescribed by a set formula, regardless of actual impact to the applicant.

Can anyone think of any further examples of this, and Is there a name for this kind of prescribed, impact-blind regime for damages measures?

1 Answer 1


Statutory Damages

… the amount awarded is stipulated within the statute rather than being calculated based on the degree of harm to the plaintiff.

Liquidated Damages

Parties to a contract are free to agree on the amount of damages that will be payable for a class or classes of breach. For example, it is very common in construction and engineering contracts for a per diem to be set for late completion.

Such damages must be a genuine pre-estimate of the damage that might be suffered by the breach. If they are excessive, they will be set aside as an unlawful penalty clause.

Nominal Damages

Some corners of the law allow a suit to be brought in the absence of actual damage in which a successful plaintiff is awarded $1 or similar nominal sum. Such a victory can still be important in jurisdictions where costs follow the event i.e. the loser pays the winner’s costs.

Many such regimes are statutory in nature and involve areas where damage can be hard to quantify, particularly in advance - IP law, anti-competitive behaviour, consumer protection, unlawful discrimination etc. in essence, this is still statutory damages.

One area of non statutory (i.e. common) law where this applies is defamation.

Notably, it does not apply in the largest area of tort litigation - negligence.

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