Huckle v Money: Exemplary Damages and Liberty of the Subject

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Our purpose in this chapter is to present a reappraisal of Huckle v Money. We seek, specifically, to use the case’s contemporary context to shed new light on the concerns that motivated the award of exemplary damages against the defendant, and to examine what those concerns tell us about the place of exemplary damages within tort law. Huckle v Money is in many ways a particularly appropriate case for a re-examination of exemplary damages. It is one of two cases in 1763, both of which arose out of the same set of politically charged events, which are seen as origin cases for exemplary damages in English law. Neither case introduced the practice of awarding exemplary damages: it is now generally conceded that non-compensatory damages had been previously recognised; and the Chief Justice expressed himself as though he thought such damages were normal, as well as justified. Such points about origins have been explored by others and are not the concern of this particular paper. Nevertheless, the cases appear to be the first in which the term ‘exemplary damages’ was used, and the position which they, unlike their predecessors, continue to occupy in the common law story of exemplary damages suggests that lawyers and commentators see something distinctive about these cases.
It is to that question of distinctiveness that this chapter is directed. Our purpose is to examine what explains not just the refusal of the court to use its power to award a new trial, but also the Chief Justice’s forthright and positive recognition of the jury award as legitimate and justified on the facts, and to explore the implications of these in understanding tort as well as its remedies. We therefore take an approach based on identifying the concerns that appear to have motivated the court in this case, and argue that it paints a view of tort law as a product of the law’s responses to, and attempt to regulate, a variety of relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLandmark Cases in the Law of Punitive Damages
EditorsJames Goudkamp, Eleni Katsampouka
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing
ISBN (Print)9781509967001
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2023

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