The Role of Vindication in Torts Damages
(2009) 17 Tort Law Review 16
25 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2014
Date Written: 2009
The award of every judicial remedy, whether in the nature of declaration, coercion, compensation, restitution or punishment, can be said, in general terms, to vindicate the legal rights of the plaintiff. At the same time, remedies awarded in civil actions sometimes serve a more pronounced vindicatory purpose, particularly where the action is to protect important rights and dignitary interests. Despite frequent references to vindication in defamation and trespass cases, there is much uncertainty about the role of vindication in an award of damages. In recent times, a growing interest in the remedial role of vindication can be detected. This article aims to bring greater clarity to use of the word vindication in the law of remedies, to develop a framework for understanding the vindicatory role of remedies and to explore the role that vindication plays in tort damages. To do this, the following questions will be examined. First, what does vindication mean? Secondly, what does it mean to attribute a vindicatory purpose to a remedy? Thirdly, in what way and to what extent do tort damages achieve a vindicatory purpose? Fourthly, are there torts that by their nature require vindication as a distinct remedial purpose?
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