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Title: Punitive damages : a hidden presence in Maltese tort jurisprudence?
Authors: Baldacchino, Francesca
Keywords: Restitutio in integrum (Roman law)
Exemplary damages -- Malta
Torts -- Malta
Issue Date: 2015
Abstract: One core principle reiterated in Maltese tort jurisprudence is that of Restitutio in Integrum, meaning that, in quantifying the compensation due, Maltese Courts must, as far as possible, attempt to put the plaintiff in the same position he/she was in before the act or omission giving rise to the tort action occurred. According to this principle, damages should be purely compensatory. Certain jurisdictions have created another class of damages, known as ‘punitive damages’. These damages go beyond what is necessary simply to compensate tort victims, and are awarded mainly to punish the tortfeasor and act as a deterrent against similar conduct on the part of others. Such damages clearly fall outside the ambit of the principle of Restitutio in Integrum. Although doctrine in most Civil Law countries formally rejects the applicability of the concept of punitive damages, one may question whether a hidden presence of such damages nonetheless persists – especially in judicial pronouncements. In France, for example, the answer seems to be in the affirmative. This thesis specifically attempts to answer this question within the context of Maltese tort law. The starting point of this thesis is a theoretical and comparative analysis of the concept of punitive damages and its implications. This serves as a basis for an examination of Maltese Civil Code provisions and related jurisprudence, in order to explore whether punitive damages maintain a similar ‘hidden presence’ in the Maltese context. It concludes that the discretion afforded by the legislation in calculating lucrum cessans can be used by the Courts to inflate the damages awarded beyond what is strictly necessary to compensate the victims according to the normal practice when quantifying damages. Whilst punitive damages are mostly alien to Maltese legislation, awards in a number of tort judgments tend to show otherwise.
Description: LL.D.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacLaw - 2015
Dissertations - FacLawCiv - 2015

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