The North Briton No. 45 and the doctrinal origins of exemplary damages

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The companion 1763 tort cases of Huckle v Money and Wilkes v Wood hold a mythical status in the Anglo-American common law imagination. Few modern accounts of the doctrinal origins of exemplary (or punitive) damages omit reference to them. This article contends that the assumption that these two cases combined to provide damages above and beyond compensation a positive basis at English common law is misconceived. Set back into their historical context, it shows that their true significance is at odds with the decidedly lawmaking significance often ascribed to them by modern judges and scholars alike.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-349
Number of pages29
JournalThe Cambridge Law Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


  • aggravated damages
  • exemplary damages
  • history
  • John Wilkes
  • North Briton
  • punitive damages
  • tort

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