Injustice In Civil Law

2070 Words9 Pages
The courts have blindly adhered to precedent recognizing punitive damages as recoverable in civil actions. This adherence introduces the criminal remedy of punishment into civil law, which is inconsistent with the compensatory theory of civil damages. This topic is a controversial one that is well spoken and written about by many, it has raised numerous discussions and drawn many criticism ranging from the unpredictability high award that are granted by court when one is found to be punitively liable , the recent rise of the court granting the remedy that is date back to the Babylonian Code of Hammerabi of 2000 B.C. and the fact that an criminal remedy has been introduce in civil law defeating the separation of the two. This essay will be…show more content…
In a civil action it is the private individual that has suffered injury not society. Moreover if a defendant has violated the laws of society then criminal law is better develop and equipped to redress society’s interest in punishing the defendant’s wrongful conduct. If no criminal law is available to provide a basis for punishing the wrongdoer then the correct response is to enact applicable criminal laws. Courts should not utilize civil law with its compensatory purpose, however in an attempt to create a basis for punishment. Therefore because society has not suffered and existing criminal laws may provide sufficient remedies, punishment in a civil proceeding is entirely without jurisdiction. However punishment damages may have once served a justifiable purpose in civil law. In early common law courts permitted punitive damages to compensate an injured victim for intangible injuries which were not yet recognized as recoverable. Courts allowed the injured party to receive additional compensation under the heading of punitive damages because of the harsh rule that actual damages did not encompass intangible injuries. for example in Lunch v. Knight the English court held that the intangible injury of mental pain and suffering was not recoverable the Lunch court reasoned that while an actual injury had occurred the law could not value nor could a jury estimate what amount to award as fair compensation for mental pain. Courts no longer accept this view of intangible injuries today the scope of compensatory damages continues to increase as judges and jurors recognize that various intangible injuries warrant compensation. In modern civil law courts recognize that the intangible injuries of insult, fear, humiliation and mental suffering may be considered as part of the plaintiff’s compensatory damages. The courts reason that emotional suffering is no harder for a jury to determine and
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