Aspects of Damages and Costs
This chapter discusses a number of issues relating to damages awards in defamation law, specifically, the presumption that the claimant has suffered damage to his reputation, the availability of punitive damages for defamation, and the quantum of damages. Part B considers the purposes of damages awards in defamation cases. Part C outlines the legal position with regard to presumed damages and punitive damages. Part D argues that presumed and punitive damages are not necessary for the protection of reputation and, moreover, work against freedom of expression, at least in the context of public speech. Part E examines aspects of the law relating to the assessment of damages. Part F argues that on the same principle as applies to large damages awards, a disproportionately high level of litigation costs arguably constitutes a restriction on freedom of expression in certain circumstances, a point that is particularly acute in England where claimants often sue for defamation on a conditional fee basis. Part G concludes the discussion.
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