To Eliminate Or Not To Eliminate Punitive Damages

What is punitive damages

Civil lawsuits and punitive damages

What is punitive damages? A very often asked question, these are monetary damages awarded to punish the defendant and to deter others from committing the same wrong in the future. Besides the actual damages, these damages are generally awarded to benefit the society as a whole. These exemplary damages are generally awarded in a civil lawsuit and have been awarded since the 1970’s.

What kind of conduct leads to punitive damages?

Punitive damages are considered as an instrument to convey a message to the defendant and the society to deter such similar wrongs in the future. However, punitive damages become a major controversy in civil and product liability cases. The wrongdoing for which the defendant is awarded punitive damages varies, as there is no definitive definition for these damages. The accused may be ordered to pay punitive damages if he causes the injury intentionally and knowingly with malicious intent. These damages are usually awarded when the conduct can be regarded as fraudulent, reckless, oppressive, malicious or violent in nature. Generally, these non-compensatory damages are awarded only after awarding the compensatory damages.

Why are punitive damages unique in civil law?

While considering criminal law and civil law, there are quite a few differences to distinguish the two. The reason why punitive damages become controversial in civil law is that they are similar to the damages that are granted in a criminal case even though they are awarded in civil law. The awards that are granted in civil lawsuits are generally compensatory in nature. However, punitive damages being non-compensatory in nature are what make them similar to the damages that are awarded in a criminal case. For this reason, punitive damages are often termed as ‘quasi-criminal.’

Non-Compensatory Damages

Punitive damages explained

Eliminate the punitive damages or not?

When it comes to punitive damages, there are both supporters as well as critics to this legal principle. While the supporters are of the opinion that when it is not possible to calculate the actual losses suffered by the plaintiff tangibly, then punitive damages serve as a sufficient compensation. On the other hand, critics believe that these punishments are criminal in nature and that it cannot be considered reasonable in today’s modern society. They are of the opinion that it is not fair to enforce it on defendants, as they do not have protection under criminal court proceedings.

For more info on what is punitive damages and the laws regarding the same, refer online legal resources. Alternatively, you can go down to your local library and check out their law section.

No Win No Fee Might Not Reward Just Like That

No Win No Fee

No win no fee attorneys

Be it a product or a service, we need pay only if we get what we want. That is indeed a just principle as regards the value of every hard-earned penny that we spend. However, the bitter fact is that such a principle of ‘just economics’ might not reward always as we expect. Surgeries are indeed risky, and there is no ‘money back guarantee’ associated with them. Nevertheless, if we could pay the hospital and the surgeon well, we can at the least expect that they would put in their best efforts to save our lives. Thus similar is the case with employment law advice as well.

The risk of losing and the exorbitant amounts of fees charged by solicitors are indeed genuine reasons for many of us to choose the no win no fee route. However, as experiences suggest, there are a quite few reasons why we should not opt for such a safe-play. And in this post, let’s take a look at some of those reasons.

The Pitfalls in a Safe-playing Route

  • The sort of agreements in question shall in most cases include a clause which gives the solicitor the main say on whether a settlement offered is acceptable or not. In order to mitigate the risk, it would not be surprising even if the solicitor accepts much lower sum than what the client wants. Moreover, chances are high that the employer might even drive a wedge between you and your solicitor.

    Contractual Claims

          no win no fee method

  • In situations where the employee does not face the risk of paying the employer’s legal costs, it is possible that the case will be pushed longer than normal in the hope of getting a better settlement. The core of the issue is that the lawyer would be paid anyway, and as the case nears the tribunal the lesser would the client receive. Similarly, as the case reaches the tribunal over a long period of time, all damages ordered would be likely be consumed up as legal fees.
  • Most employment cases are worth less than 9000 dollars; in some instances it could be even less! That said it could be assumed that most cases are related to contractual claims and loss of earnings. Therefore, the best methodology is to get the most competent advice available even if you have to pay for it.

Hope this post gives you a fair idea on how to tackle an employment case to your advantage. For any further assistance on no win no fee lawyers, feel free to get in touch with our experts.

Some Notes On Exclusionary Rule

What is the exclusionary rule

                            Details on exclusionary rule

The Exclusionary rule is one of the important rules in place in our country, particularly due to the fact that it awards the citizen the right to be protected from illegal searches and seizures conducted by law authorities. This rule was declared in the Fourth Amendment, but there were no details given as to how these would be translated into concrete terms. There have been several suggestions given by the authorities as to how such rules should be enforced, but there has always been stiff opposition to all of these. This led to the Supreme Court considering the issue, and the obscurity surrounding the exclusionary rule was somewhat lessened.

What is the exclusionary rule?

The Exclusionary rule makes it clear that, any evidence that is seized by means of illegal searches is not admissible in a court of law. This rule gives the people a sense of security in their own homes, as their privacy would not be invaded by the law enforcement agencies unless they were suspect of committing a crime.

If a police officer were to conduct an illegal search and seizure, not only would he or she be prohibited from presenting any evidence obtained from such a search, but he or she would also be liable to face legal action. But, it must be noted that, in most cases, such police officers conducting illegal searches do so because of their overzealous nature, and not because they want to frame an innocent person. Therefore, in such cases, punishing such officers will deal them a huge blow, and might even result in them losing interest in their jobs. Therefore, in such situations, the officers are dealt with internally by an internal disciplinary committee.

Supreme Court

                  Exclusionary rule explained

A person whose privacy has been invaded by a law enforcement officer in the name of a search, which was illegal, will usually have a tort action available under state statutory law. The person can either pursue this course of action to ensure that the police officer does not commit such actions in the future, and to ensure that he is adequately compensated. However, as mentioned above, such police officers are subjected to internal disciplinary actions, and will not have to face legal proceedings from a court.

These are some details regarding the exclusionary rule in the country. If you have more questions on what is the exclusionary rule, you can always find answers from various online sources.

Pros And Cons Of No Win No Fee Lawyers

No win no fee

Pros and cons of no win no fee lawyers

At first thought, no win no fee lawyers might seem like the best option to go for. Not having to pay your lawyer unless he wins the case for you may seem like an excellent reason to hire such a lawyer. Nevertheless, there a few disadvantages to hiring such a lawyer as well. This article discusses some of the pros and cons of hiring such a lawyer.


  • Lawyers are pressured: Generally, your lawyers are not under any pressure to win the case for you. While he does represent you, he does not have to work all that hard to win the case for you. Irrespective of whether he wins the case or not, you will still pay him for representing you. On the other hand, no-win no-fee lawyers will have to put in their best to win the case for you as they will not be paid otherwise.
  • Keep the damages: In most cases, you get to keep all or a greater part of the damages. Certain lawyers such as personal injury lawyers will require you to pay a part of your winnings as their rewards. The percentage to be paid varies from lawyer to lawyer and you may end up having to pay more than 50% or more. This means that even if you win the case, you will end up losing a large part of your money. No-win no-fee lawyers, on the other hand, will have the defendant pay their success fees for you. This way, you get to keep all or most of the damages won.


  • Legal cost of living: The defendant will end up paying for your lawyer’s fees if you win the case and you will not have to pay any fees in case you do not win the case. However, this does not mean that you are freed from other charges and fees. You may be required to pay your opponent’s lawyer in such a case. Your financial status and the value of the case will be the deciding factors here, as a case needs to amount to a minimum value for charging you.

    Lawyer’s fees

                                    What is no win no fee?

  • Telling the opponent: Therequirement to inform your opponent about using a no-win no-fee lawyer is perhaps the greatest disadvantage of this system. This is bad because your opponent can obtain further information such as the percentage of success your lawyer anticipates.

Now you know the pros and cons of hiring a no win no fee lawyer. Consider these aspects before you make a decision on the kind of lawyer to represent you.

Notes On The Exclusionary Rule

What is the exclusionary rule

Evidences and the exclusionary rule

There are many rules that one has to be familiar with while practicing law. Unlike ordinary folk, these rules are the bread and butter for those who are in the profession of representing people and advising on legal issues.

Law is easy to study. Each law leads to the next and with a bit of logic one can easily pass through law school. However, the real difficulty comes in its application. Merely citing a law is not enough. How effectively you can use the points to argue your case is the true test and hallmark of a competent lawyer.

What is the exclusionary rule?

One of the most hotly contested rules is that of the exclusionary rule. This rule brought in as the Fourth Amendment and implemented throughout the country with the Fourteenth Amendment. The exact text of the rule might be confusing so here is a simple example that should convey the same.

Consider a person who is enjoying the Super Bowl on TV. Suddenly there is a knock on the window and the police come barging in and ransack his home for evidence. They find something and based on that, take the person into custody. Is there something wrong with that situation? If you think that it was unbecoming of an officer to search for evidence without producing a warrant to the same, then you are right.

Fourth Amendment

     Rule to prevent violation of privacy

A police officer’s actions are governed by a set of laws. The exclusionary rule has a role to play here. It states that no evidence may be obtained forcefully or without producing a warrant for search and seizure. This was to protect the citizen’s right to privacy, which is enshrined in the constitution of every democracy. In the above example, the police cannot use evidence used without such authorization in court or hold the same against a person to bring him into custody.

What is the exclusionary rule role when it comes to deciding cases? Judges can dismiss cases outright if they find that the primary evidence that was used to implicate a person was obtained in violation of the fourth amendment. The person can then move against the investigating agency for violating privacy and seek damages. There are however certain arguments that the investigating agency can cite to defend its position. If an officer simply happens to come across evidence rather than intentionally forcing his way to gather evidence, then such evidence may be admitted in court.

So, you see, the exclusionary rule is both a boon and a bane. Moreover, like every other tool, this too has to be handled well to be of use to the user.

Get Rid Of The Exclusionary Rule Or Not?

What is the exclusionary rule

               Exclusionary rule and illegal evidences

What is the exclusionary rule? The ‘exclusionary rule’ is a legal principle that prohibits any illegally obtained evidence from being used in a criminal trial. The main intent of designing the exclusionary rule was to protect the people’s rights. However, a major drawback of this rule that we often forget is that it allows even a criminal to walk free only because of the way in which the evidence was obtained.

For instance, if a young man is killed and the killer stores the weapon along with the items stolen from the victim at his house. However, if the police cease these evidences based on a hunch or on a tip off, without obtaining a search warrant, then according to this rule, these evidences will not be permitted for use in trial. Because of the way in which the police officers obtained the evidence, the defendant can make use of the exclusionary rule to make all the evidence non-existent. He will not be charged and will be released.

It is in such situations that the exclusionary rule becomes outrageous. Here the truth is not accepted as the truth, simply because of the means by which the evidence was obtained was not in accordance with the law. Prohibiting obvious proof of a crime in a criminal prosecution makes no sense at all, as it lets a criminal walk away without being punished.

An argument for the exclusionary rule is that the lack of a rule such as the exclusionary rule exposes citizens to illegal searches. It is not possible to protect these rights without the exclusionary rule in place. A simple solution to this problem is that individuals who violate such rights should immediately be held responsible for their actions and awarded appropriate punishments. Withholding the truth or punishing the public is not how violators should be punished. Imprisoning a few corrupt officers should be enough to deter other officers from committing similar crimes in the future.

Criminal trial

                     Exclusionary rule- pros and cons

Presently, if it can be proved that the evidence was collected illegally, the criminal walks away while at the same time the officer is suspended. If the evidence can prove that the defendant is guilty, then the criminal should be sent to jail, irrespective of whether the evidence was obtained legally or illegally. To deter people in power from violating people’s rights, the lawbreaking officers should be sent to jail as well.

Those were some aspects of both sides of the coin called the exclusionary rule. For more information on what is the exclusionary rule, its pros and cons, refer online legal resources.

All About No-Win No-Fee Lawyers

No win no fee

                           No win no fee lawyers

The employment law protects every employee by providing them with a number of rights. If you believe that your employee rights have been violated, then the first thing that you should do is to register a complaint against your employer in accordance with the grievance procedure prescribed by your company. However, if this does not resolve your issue, then you can proceed to make a formal complaint with the employment tribunal.

No win no fee employment solicitors

The functioning of an employment tribunal is very similar to a court of law wherein your complaint will be presented before a panel and all evidence presented will be under oath. While filing a claim with the employment tribunal, it is always best to have an employment lawyer to help you with your case. If your case is a genuine one, you may even be able to find a no-win no-fee lawyer to represent your case. A no-win no-fee lawyer is a solicitor who charges a fee only if there is a successful conclusion to your case, i.e., by winning or settling the lawsuit in your favor.

As winning the case makes all the difference on whether or not they will receive a fee, it serves as a powerful motivation to these lawyers to give their best to win you the case. For those who cannot afford the exorbitant attorney’s fees, such lawyers are a great option. Before agreeing to take up your case on a no-win no-fee basis, such lawyers will want to assess your case first. To make this assessment, they will have to spend some time looking into your case file. Generally, they will charge you a ‘risk assessment fee’ to make such a ‘risk assessment.’ The amount charged as risk assessment fee depends on a variety of factors such as the type of case and the degree of complexity.

Employment tribunal

    Avail the services of a no win no fee                                       solicitors

Generally, no-win no-fee layers do not charge you any fee unless they win the tribunal claim for you. Nevertheless, discuss with the lawyer to see whether there are any expenses you will have to bear, in the event that you lose the case. Also prior to handing over your case, discuss with the lawyer the fees and the costs that you have to pay after winning the case.

These are some aspects about no win no fee lawyers and some points to be kept in mind while hiring such a lawyer. Check online legal resources for more info about such solicitors.

Understanding Strict Liability

Strict liability example

Strict liability does not require mens rea

To prove a criminal act, one must prove that the accused had a guilty mind together with the guilty act (mens rea and actus rea respectively). This procedure has been adopted by law and is integral towards ensuring that an innocent person is not punished.

In the nineteenth century however, prosecutors found it almost impossible to convict an accused especially with regard to the safety standards in factories. Factory owners were found to be highly irresponsible and that caused injuries and fatalities among the workers. However, since the prosecutors could not prove a “guilty mind” (as the defense always stated that the owners had no intention to cause those injuries although they did not act responsibly), such people, could not be prosecuted. That is when the strict liability law was enacted where one need not prove mens rea to convict another in certain cases.

One of the classic strict liability examples would be the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain vs. Storkwain in 1986. In this case, a patient forged a prescription and brought it to a pharmacist. The pharmacist gave medication as per the “prescription”. Eventually, the forgery was detected and a case was charged. Interestingly, the case was charged against the pharmacist for supplying the medicine.

Now for a nonprofessional, this may seem awkward. What has the pharmacist have to do with giving medicine to a prescription that he had no idea was forged? The first court that heard the case thought so too and dismissed the case.

The appellate court however thought different. Under the strict liability law that was in brought in force, the pharmacist had a duty of checking whether the prescription was genuine or not. In this case, mens rea of wanting to provide medicines without prescription was not required to be proved. Instead, only the actus rea was to be proved which was done so quite easily.

Strict liability law

Strict liability includes dereliction of duty

These strict liability examples have many lessons for students of law as well as the ordinary citizen. Dereliction of duty is an offense and ignorance of laws that requires one to follow strict procedure is not an excuse! Secondly, one should look at different angles and provisions provided by law while arguing a case. The second of these is especially required for advocates who hope to be successful in the field of law.

Strict liability is however not used in every case. In the US for example, the law is invoked for minor offenses as obviously, bringing this to other criminal acts would lead to miscarriage of justice.

Some Info On Small Claim Courts

What is punitive damages

                   Calculating punitive damages

Small claim courts are a more simplified and basic version of the usual civil court proceeding. The rules and procedures followed by these courts make it an ideal option for certain limited claims and cases where the damage calculation is simple. However, before you file a claim in these courts, it is essential to understand what is punitive damages, whether or not your case can be brought in small claim courts and how damages are calculated in such courts.

Claim restrictions

Many states have limitations regarding the type of actions that can be brought in small claims. Domestic disputes that are generally presented in a family court, some civil torts and criminal cases cannot be filed in small claims. In addition, damages such as injunctive relief, punitive damages etc. cannot be obtained in small claims.

Actual economic damages

Property damage, unpaid rent, small contract issues, minor injuries are examples of small claim cases. These cases can be brought under the small claim because of the economic damages in such cases. Medical bills and lost wages are other types of economic damages in civil suits. Expectation damages because of breach of contract are another example of easily quantifiable damages.

Non-economic damages

Non-economic damages are the damages that are awarded for things like pain and suffering and so they are comparatively not as easily quantifiable as the economic damages. Juries generally tend to exercise wide discretion for awarding non-economic damages in regular civil courts. Majority of the states have caps on the total amount that can be awarded. In small claims, non-economic damages are hardly ever awarded as such claims have negligible non-economic damages and because there is no jury in such claims.

Punitive damages

Small claim courts do not permit awarding punitive damages in most states. This is another major restriction on the method adopted for calculating damages in small claim courts. If the defendant inflicts an injury intentionally, then punitive damages can be awarded in civil courts. By filing in small claims instead of civil courts in case of intentional injury, the plaintiff is practically waiving off his right to receive punitive damages.

Small claim courts

 Punitive damages and small claim courts

Before deciding where to file your lawsuit, it is important that you understand what is punitive damages, if you are liable to receive these damages and such factors. Go through online legal resources to know more about small courts and their rules and procedures. Consult an experienced attorney for his advice on the best procedure.

Different Types Of Damages

What is punitive damages

Punitive damages explained

If a person was to file a case against his neighbor in court, stating that the latter is a drunkard who regularly damages the former’s garden, such a case will proceed till the court reaches a decision. If the court agrees with the plaintiff, then the defendant (the drunken neighbor), will have to pay a sufficient amount of money as damages. The neighbor in this case would after that, the neighbor would think twice before getting drunk and causing havoc, being aware of the damages that are leviable.

Different types of damages are used in courts, according to the circumstances in play at the time. Punitive damages do not fit the description of the usual damages. So, what is punitive damages? Here are some interesting details regarding the different types of damages that a defendant will have to pay, if found guilty in a court of law.

What is punitive damages?

Punitive damages are different from other forms of damages, in the sense that they are not intended as a recompense for the damages caused. Instead, they are a way by which the court punishes the defendant, in cases where the court deems that the monetary fines given to the defendant are not enough punishment. The court thus imposes further punishment on the defendant, referred to as punitive damages. These are meant as a sort of warning to other people, and are usually awarded in cases where the court feels the behavior of the defendant was not fit for a normal society.

Pain and suffering damages

These types of damages are usually awarded in cases where the victim had to suffer physical pain or mental anguish, which is usually the case in personal injury cases.

Compensatory damages

If the victim was to suffer financial losses associated with the injury caused by the defendant, then the damages that are awarded by the court are termed as compensatory damages. These types of damages are meant to cover losses incurred as property damage, medical bills or other costs.

Compensatory damages

What are punitive damages?

Lost wages

If the victim was to loss wages due to not being able to attend work, owing to the wrongdoing of the defendant, then the victim can be awarded damages for the wages lost.

There are some other types of damages too, but these are the most common types of damages awarded in a court of law. Damages can thus, effectively, be a form of punishment as well as a method to recoup some money lost.