A v Bottrill: PC 9 Jul 2002

PC (New Zealand) The defendant was a pathologist who carried out cervical smears. His actions were found to be negligent.
Held: The Board considered whether it would be correct to require an additional prerequisite of intention or conscious recklessness before an award of exemplary damages. Such a requirement would always bring evidential difficulties and ‘courts in common law countries have remained true to the underlying rationale of the exemplary damages jurisdiction. Courts in all countries have openly recognised the exceptional and unusual nature of this jurisdiction. They have recognised the need to confine this remedy to truly exceptional and unusual cases. Punishment is primarily a matter for criminal law. They have, further, been well aware of the importance, and the difficulty, of confining the use of this remedy in cases of negligence. ‘ However ‘as a matter of principle and authority, intentional wrongdoing or conscious recklessness is not an essential prerequisite to an order for payment of exemplary damages. Legal principle does not require that the court’s jurisdiction should be limited in this way.’ At the same time: ‘their Lordships cannot over-emphasise what has already been indicated more than once. The cases where it is appropriate to make an award of exemplary damages are exceptional. The cases where it is appropriate to make an award of exemplary damages in the absence of intentional wrongdoing or conscious recklessness will be exceptional and rare indeed.’
Lord Nicholls of Birkenhea, Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Hutton, Lord Millett, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry
[2002] UKPC 44, [2003] 1 AC 449, (2003) 70 BMLR 198, [2002] 3 WLR 1406
PC, Bailii, PC
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedMcLaren Transport Ltd v Somerville 1996
(New Zealand) Tipping J discussed the award of exemplary damages: ‘Exemplary damages for negligence causing personal injury may be awarded if, but only if, the level of negligence is so high that it amounts to an outrageous and flagrant disregard . .
CitedKuddus v Chief Constable of Leicestershire Constabulary HL 7-Jun-2001
There is no rule of law preventing the award of exemplary damages against police officers. The fact that no case of misfeasance in public office had led to such awards before 1964, did not prevent such an award now. Although damages are generally . .
CitedRookes v Barnard (No 1) HL 21-Jan-1964
The court set down the conditions for the award of exemplary damages. There are two categories. The first is where there has been oppressive or arbitrary conduct by a defendant. Cases in the second category are those in which the defendant’s conduct . .
CitedCassell and Co Ltd v Broome and Another HL 23-Feb-1972
Exemplary Damages Award in Defamation
The plaintiff had been awarded damages for defamation. The defendants pleaded justification. Before the trial the plaintiff gave notice that he wanted additional, exemplary, damages. The trial judge said that such a claim had to have been pleaded. . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 30 January 2021; Ref: scu.177982