Devenish Nutrition Ltd and others v Sanofi-Aventis SA (France) and others: ChD 19 Oct 2007

The claimant sought damages for the losses it had suffered as a result of price fixing by the defendant companies in the vitamin market. The European Commission had already fined the defendant for its involvement.
Held: In an action for breach of statutory duty the court can in appropriate circumstances make a restitutionary award, that is, a sum of money assessed by reference to the gain which the wrongdoer has made as a result of the wrong, in place of compensatory damages, that is, damages which compensate the claimant for loss suffered as a result of the wrongdoing. However there were Community rules precluding the award of exemplary damages on the facts of this case.


Lewison J


[2007] EWHC 2394 (Ch), [2008] 2 WLR 637, [2008] 2 All ER 249




EC Treaty 81


England and Wales


CitedCourage Ltd and Crehan v Crehan and Courage Ltd and Others ECJ 20-Sep-2001
The company had leased a public house to the respondent. The lease was subject to a tie, under which the respondent had to purchase supplies from the company. The company came to sue for the price of beer supplied. The respondent asserted that the . .
CitedGarden Cottage Foods Ltd v Milk Marketing Board HL 1984
In English law a breach of statutory duty, is actionable as such by a private individual to whom loss or damage is caused by a breach of that duty. Lord Diplock said that it was quite unarguable: ‘that if such a contravention of Article 86 gives . .
CitedSempra Metals Ltd v Inland Revenue Commissioners and Another HL 18-Jul-2007
The parties agreed that damages were payable in an action for restitution, but the sum depended upon to a calculation of interest. They disputed whether such interest should be calculated on a simple or compound basis. The company sought compound . .
CitedThe Owners of the Steamship Mediana v The Owners, Master and Crew of the Lightship Comet HL 1900
A lightship was damaged by negligence. The plaintiff harbour board kept a ship ready for emergencies, and consequently the damaged ship was replaced with the spare while she was being repaired. The question was whether the claimant could recover . .
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 . .
CitedWatson Laidlaw and Co Ltd v Pott Cassells and Williamson 1914
Damages were claimed for the infringement of a patent. The defender had sold 252 infringing machines sold in Java. The Lord Ordinary had given an unexplained award of andpound;1,500, which the Inner House had doubled. The defendant appealed saying . .
CitedCatnic Components Ltd and Another v Hill and Smith Ltd HL 1982
The plaintiffs had been established as market leaders with their patented construction, had ample production capacity and stocks, but had never granted any licence under their patent. The patent was for a novel type of galvanised steel lintel, which . .
CitedGerber Garment Technology Inc v Lectra Systems Ltd ChD 30-Jan-1995
A prior art recital in a Patent application is strong but rebuttable evidence of the state of knowledge. . .
CitedGerber Garment Technology Inc v Lectra Systems Limited Lectra Systemes SA CA 18-Dec-1996
The plaintiffs claimed damages for patent infringement. Some of the lost profits for which the plaintiff company claimed damages were suffered by subsidiary companies in which it held all the shares.
Held: When a shareholder has a cause of . .
CitedBlayney (T/A Aardvark Jewelry) v Clogau St David’s Gold Mines Ltd and others CA 16-Jul-2002
. .
CitedRatcliffe v Evans CA 28-May-1892
The plaintiff was an engineer and boiler-maker. He alleged that a statement in the local newspaper that he had ceased business had caused him loss. The evidence that was given at trial consisted of general evidence of a downturn in trade; but the . .
CitedElliniki Radiophonia Tileorass-AE v Plisofatissis and Kouvelas ECJ 18-Jun-1991
National measures adopted in order to give effect to Community rights must themselves comply with the fundamental principles of Community law: ‘With regard to Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, referred to in the ninth and tenth . .
CitedRegina v Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce, ex parte First City Trading and others ECJ 29-Sep-1998
ECJ Reference for a preliminary ruling: High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division – United Kingdom. Agriculture – Common organisation of the markets – Beef – Export refunds -Beef of British origin repatriated . .
CitedManfredi v Lloyd Adriatico Assicurazioni SpA; Antonio Cannito v Fondiaria Sai SpA, Nicolo Tricarico; Pasqualina Murgolo v Assitalia SpA C-295/04 ECJ 13-Jul-2006
ECJ Article 81 EC- Competition – Agreements, decisions and concerted practices – Accidents caused by motor vehicles, vessels and mopeds – Compulsory civil liability insurance – Increase in premiums – Effect on . .
CitedArcher Daniels Midland and Another v Commission (Competition) ECJ 18-May-2006
ECJ Appeals – Competition – Cartels – Synthetic lysine market – Fines – Guidelines on the method of setting fines – Non-retroactivity – Non bis in idem principle – Equal treatment – Turnover which may be taken . .
CitedAB v South West Water Services Ltd CA 1993
Exemplary and aggravated damages were claimed in an action for nuisance arising out of the contamination of water by the defendant utility.
Held: Sir Thomas Bingham MR said: ‘A defendant accused of crime may ordinarily be ordered (if . .
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. . .
CitedBorders (UK) Ltd and others v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis and Another CA 3-Mar-2005
The second defendant had received large numbers of stolen books and sold them from his stall. An application for compensation was made at his trial. Compensatory and exemplary damages were sought, but the court had to consider how to estimate the . .
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 . .
CitedArcher v Brown 1984
The defendant sold shares in his company to the plaintiff. He had however already sold them elsewhere. The plaintiff sought both rescission and damages. The defendant argued that he could not be entitled to both.
Held: The misrepresentation . .
CitedSevern Trent Water Ltd v Barnes CA 13-May-2004
The water company appealed an award of damages after it had been found to have laid a water main under the claimant’s land without his knowledge or consent. The court had awarded restitutionary damages.
Held: The judge fell into error in . .
CitedWWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) and Another v World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc CA 2-Apr-2007
The parties had disputed use of the initals WWF, with a compromise reached in 1994 allowing primary use by the Fund with restricted use by the Federation. The Federation now appealed an award of damages made after a finding of a breach of the . .
CitedEsso Petroleum Co Ltd v Niad Ltd ChD 2001
Esso had entered into a solus agreement with Naid covering one filling station. Esso introduced a marketing scheme called ‘Pricewatch’ under which it made financial support available to its dealers in return for their selling petrol at recommended . .
CitedExperience Hendrix LLC v PPX Enterprises Inc and Another CA 20-Mar-2003
The claimant had obtained an interim injunction against the defendant for copyright infringement, though it could show no losses. It now sought additionally damages. The defendant argued that it could not have both.
Held: The case arose form . .
CitedStoke-on-Trent City Council v W and J Wass Ltd CA 1988
The council had operated open markets on its land under statutory authority. In breach of the statute, the defendant operated a market on a different day, but within the excluded area. This was a nuisance actionable on proof of damage. The council . .
CitedHalifax Building Society v Thomas and Another CA 29-Jun-1995
Defrauded Mortgagee cannot take surplus on sale
A Building Society cannot keep any excess proceeds of sale of a house mortgaged to it by fraud. Policy was against unjust enrichment and will not allow a lender to take a profit from a fraudulent borrower.
Peter Gibson LJ said: ‘I remain wholly . .

Cited by:

Appeal fromDevenish Nutrition Ltd v Sanofi-Aventis Sa (France) and others CA 14-Oct-2008
The defendant had been involved in price fixing arrangements, and the claimant sought damages for breach of its proprietary rights. The claimant appealed refusal of an award an account of profits for what was akin to a breach of statutory duty.
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Commercial, European, Damages, Torts – Other

Updated: 24 April 2022; Ref: scu.260343