Cause of Action Restrictions on Punitive Damages?

Dr Eleni Katsampouka, Christ's College, Cambridge

Time and date: Tuesday, 6th December, 2022, 1pm-2pm (Brisbane time)  

Location: Law School Board Room (W353), Level 3, Forgan Smith Building, The University of Queensland, St Lucia



This paper examines ‘cause of action restrictions’ in the law of punitive damages (ie, restrictions on the availability of punitive damages that are imposed solely by reference to the cause of action in which the claimant sues). It addresses the availability of the remedy for equitable wrongs and breach of contract. These causes of action have been chosen for examination because each of them represents an important part of English private law and because the availability of punitive damages in relation to them is contentious. It is argued that precluding the award of punitive damages for certain wrongs is inconsistent with the remedy’s rationales. It is also contended that the arguments against allowing punitive damages for these wrongs are unconvincing. The paper concludes that punitive damages should be available for all civil wrongs irrespective of their origin (equity, contract or tort).

About the Speaker

Dr Eleni Katsampouka is a Fellow of Christ’s College, Cambridge. She previously completed her DPhil at the University of Oxford where she also taught Contract, Tort, and Roman Private Law as a stipendiary lecturer. Eleni holds degrees from the University of Oxford (DPhil and MPhil (dist)), University College London (LL.M. (dist)) and the University of Athens (LL.B. (dist)).

Her research so far has centred on the law of punitive damages. Her work has been published in a variety of journals including the Law Quarterly Review, the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies and the Modern Law Review.

At Christ's, Eleni teaches Tort and Civil (Roman) law. Her research focuses on the law of remedies (in particular, punitive and aggravated damages) as well as the law relating to psychiatric illness in the medical negligence context.



About Australian Centre for Private Law Events

The mission of the ​Australian Centre for Private Law is to foster the development and understanding of the private law through advanced theoretical, doctrinal, empirical and historical research, and the dissemination of that research through education and professional outreach. By supporting the work of its Fellows, the ACPL seeks to promote research in all areas of private law and to establish itself as a research centre of national and international importance. The core initiatives of ACPL are:

Research: To advance a deeper understanding of the structure, principles and policies of the private law through advanced theoretical, comparative, and empirical analysis.

Education: To promote, facilitate and disseminate the results of that research for the benefit of Australia’s social and economic fabric.

Professional Outreach: To engage the judiciary and members of the legal profession in discussion about the values, goals and methods of private law and the respective roles of the judiciary, the legal profession and the academy in the interpretation and reform of private law.

The ACPL embraces all branches of private law, including the law of contract, torts, trusts, equity, property, unjust enrichment, including theoretical and jurisprudential dimensions and contextual applications thereof.


Level 3, Forgan Smith Building, The University of Queensland, St Lucia and Online via Zoom.
W353 (Law School Board Room)