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Tort Law Essay

2598 words - 10 pages

'Jackpot justice' could be referred as 'the practice of awarding huge monetary settlements to plaintiffs in court cases'. Generally, it gives confidence to people to 'file multimillion-dollar lawsuits', not considering of the actual harm or loss suffered, which directly leads to a sense of 'compensation culture'. As a matter of fact, it has weigh down US with the most expensive tort system in the world, costing 2.23 percent of the GDP (US$246 billion) a year, compared to less than 1 percent in other countries like United Kingdom, Canada, France and Japan. Apparently, it gives the impression that the tort system in England and Wales is discouraging such culture according to this statistic. It is, however, not the real case anymore in this day and age, since the situation is getting worse and worse radically, and the government eventually has to urge for reforms to improve the tort system as well as to bring down the number of frolicsome claims.With regards to the purpose of damages in tort in England and Wales, it is to restore the claimant in the position one would have been in if the wrong action of others had never been committed, by means of compensate financially, injunctions or other remedies. This principle is called restitution in integrum. In many state of affairs, tort damages are only monetary settlements, so there is an understandable risk that the claimant is 'either under-compensated or over-compensated'. Yet on the other hand, the compensatory damages are designed to put the claimant in the original position that they should not end up worse off or better off. In this way, even the claimants could get huge damages, which are to compensate for their huge loss and to put them back in the original position that they are not supposed to benefit theoretically, thus preventing the occurrence of over-compensation and discourage the spread of 'compensation culture'. To cope with the levels of compensation, there are different assessments of damages.To begin with, 'reasonableness' is the foremost concern in this field, which is applied in countless tort cases. An admittedly extreme example could be seen in Briody v St Helens and Knowsley Area Health Authority, where the Court of Appeal ruled that it was not justifiable to expect the defendant to pay the costs of an infertility treatment which could not help the claimant's condition, nor the costs of a surrogacy procedure which would not represent restitution in integrum. The same principle was also applied in Patel v Hooper & Jackson, the Court of Appeal allowed the buyer of a residential property, who was not capable to live in it as a consequence of a negligence survey, to demand the cost of alternative housing but not for the mortgage payments and insurance premiums he had paid, since he would have had to pay these even if he had bought a different property instead of the faulty one. To put it briefly, the court will order compensation for special expenses which the claimant has...

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