Damages in nuisance actions

The Court of Appeal has held that "exemplary" damages are not available in actions in public nuisance, overturning a decision of the High Court in May.

In the past, the courts have occasionally awarded exemplary damages in civil actions as a sign of disapproval of aspects of a defendant's conduct. This has created an exception to the principle that the purpose of an award of damages in civil litigation is to compensate the plaintiff rather than punish the defendant, and in Gibbons and others v South West Water Services Ltd (Times Law Reports, 26 November 1992) the Court of Appeal has c

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