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Resource Centre > Glossary > Punitive damages

Damages awarded in excess of any actual damage or loss suffered by the claimant, for the purpose of punishing the defendant for his conduct and deterring other potential wrongdoers. They normally supplement compensatory damages.

Punitive damages are available in the US system (see the explanation of the US system in our Hot Topics section - Assessing the Trends in European Justice Systems, and the explanation of the US class actions model in the National Collective Redress Models section), but normally not in Europe.

For further reading on punitive damages: see for instance a book "Punitive Damages. How Juries Decide" by Sunstein, Hastie, Payne, Schkade, Viscusi; and a book "Punitive Damages and Business Torts" by Collin, American Bar Association - on Google Book Search. Google Book Search also contains references to other books on damages, including punitive damages - see link.