Damages, nominal

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

Damages awarded by the court in acknowledgement of an offence either in contract or tort where no actual loss has occurred, e.g. it is a civil wrong to trespass on another person’s private land but, in the absence of special circumstances and if no damage was done to anything on that land, a court would accept an action by the owner against the trespasser but would probably only award nominal damages. Incidentally, the notice ‘Trespassers will be Prosecuted’ is legally absurd; a prosecution is made by the police. whereas the act of trespass is a civil offence that can only give rise to an action in tort for damages.

Nominal damages may also be given when a contract has been breached but where no real loss has been suffered by either party.

Reference: The Penguin Business Dictionary, 3rd edt.

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James Knight
Editor of Education
James is the Editor of Education for Invezz, where he covers topics from across the financial world, from the stock market, to cryptocurrency, to macroeconomic markets.... read more.