DAMNUM SINE INJURIA and INJURIA SINE DAMNUM
Updated: Aug 31, 2020
(GITAM School of Law)
Both the maxims Damnum sine injuria and Injuria Sine damnum are split into three parts:-
● Damnum / Damno means serious harm, loss or damage to property, health etc.
● Injuria means a violation of the privilege given to the complainant by the statute.
● Sine means without.
Such two maxims come under the category of qualified rights, and there is no presumption of damages in cases of qualified rights, and violation of these rights can only be enforced on the basis of damages.
A tort, in common law jurisdiction, is a civil mistake which causes a claimant to suffer loss or harm, resulting in legal liability for the individual for committing a tortious act. This can include deliberate infliction of emotional distress, neglect, financial injury, accidents, privacy infringement and many other things.Tort law,a situation where the object of a lawsuit is to obtain private legal relief such as damages, can be contrasted with the criminal law that deals with state-punished criminal offences. Tort law can also be compared with contract law, which also includes a legal remedy upon violation of duty; but while the contractual responsibility is one chosen by the parties as the duty in both tort and abuse is enforced by the state.
Law of torts is said to be a series of situations in which the court provides remedies for the legal harm done by one person to another by way of damages.
There are three elements which must be proven before tort is committed are as follows:
● The defendant must commit an act or omission.
● The act or omission will be in violation of the plaintiff's legal right.
● The defendant will commit certain misdeeds or omissions that give rise to legal remedies.
There are 2 legal maxims that fall under this category:
● Damnum sine injuria
● Injuria Sine damnum
Maxims refers to the concepts and prepositions defined therein. It is the general rules or standards or guidelines set out and that the general public will obey. Maxims are very useful, because they can be simply and correctly interpreted with the aid of this particular point of law and can also be used for the proper settlement of cases. Maxims are used commonly in different fields of law. As the law is a complex topic with multiple definitions, rules and principles. Such combinations of specific Latin and French words are therefore deemed appropriate for a much clearer understanding.
DAMNUM SINE INJURIA
Damnum Sine Injuria is a term relating to injuries sustained by the complainant but there is no infringement of a person's civil right. In such cases, where there is no breach of a plaintiff's legal right but the plaintiff is sustaining the injury or damage, the plaintiff can not bring an action against the other for the same, as it is not lawfully enforceable, unless there is some infringement of a legal right.
Damnum Sine Injuria, the word's literal sense refers to loss or harm with respect to income, property or any physical loss without violating any legal right. This can not be enforced in law even if the act has been intentional and has been done to harm someone but without violating the person's legal right.
Related case laws
1.Mayor of Bradford v/s Pickles , AC 587
In this case Bradford Company supplied water from its well. The defendant had adjacent land to the property of the company of which it was well.Defendant wished to sell his estate. He addressed the Corporate Mayor but failed to compromise. So the defendant dug well in his own land by cutting off the underground supply of corporate water well .This caused corporate loss to the plaintiff due to lack of adequate supply of water to corporate people. So Plaintiff sued Defendant for malice damages.
The court then held that the defendant is not liable because the defendant's act is not wrongful as it has not violated the law or the plaintiff's right. There is objective malice, ill will of digging well in his own land is not a tort.
2.Gloucester Grammar school case, 1410 (setting up rival school) Y.B .11 Hen.IV
The Defendant was a teacher at the school of the plaintiff. Due to some dispute Defendant left the school of the plaintiff and started his own school in front of the school of the plaintiff, which caused him harm. As a result of increased competition, the plaintiff must reduce their fees from 40 pence per scholar to 12 pence per quarter. This decrease in fees allows the plaintiff to monetary loss.
The Court held that there was a financial loss to the plaintiff, but the defendant had the right to start any legal business and have fair competition. Therefore, the defendant had not infringed any legal right of the plaintiff, so no action could be taken against the defendant. Therefore, the defendant could not be held liable.
In situations where the legal right has been infringed, the court presumes that damages will be paid but in situations where no legal right has been infringed, the Damnum sine Injuria principle applies and no recourse is accessible for the same. Therefore, it can rightly be said that an act that is committed lawfully or legitimately, without fault, and in the exercise of a legal right, any damage as comes to another is therefore harmless.
INJURIA SINE DAMNUM
Injuria sine damnum is a breach of a legal right without causing the complainant any injury, loss or damage but legal right is infringed, the person in whom the right is vested is entitled to bring a suit. Each person has an absolute right to his property, to his person's rights, and this right can be exercised in its own right to his freedom and infringement. A person who has been infringed on the legal right has a cause of action such that even a breach of any legal right knowingly brings the cause of the case.The law also gives the freedom that if a person is merely threatened with infringing a legal right even without completing the injury, the person whose right has been threatened can bring a claim under the provisions of the Specific Relief Act under Declaration and Injunction.
Injuria Sine Damno is a legal term , meaning injury or loss or harm so done to the claimant without any actual injury or damage. It is a Latin term where 'Injuria' refers to injury 'Sine' means without and 'Damno' refers to property or any physical loss, thus the term refers to 'injury sustained without actual loss. Here, in this case, the complainant does not have to prove the damages he has suffered so much, he only has to prove that he has suffered some legal damage, that is the action brought in such a way that it is in itself actionable. As, for example, if A roams around B's house without any excuse then, in that case, there is a violation of B's legal right and this rule is also true and If a person is illegally detained against his will, the detention will have a claim for substantial damages for wrongful imprisonment even if no significant injury has been suffered.
Related case laws
1.Ashby v. White, (1703) 2 LR 938
In this case, Plaintiff was a valid voter, his name was on the voting list but the defendant; the election incharge refused to give his legitimate vote. So Plaintiff sued the defendant for compensation even though in monetary terms no harm was incurred.
The Court ruled that the defendant is liable to pay compensation because he infringed the plaintiff's legitimate right to vote. Since the plaintiff suffered no real loss in terms of income, or the candidate who was interested in the plaintiff was elected, but the defendant infringed his legal right and was therefore liable to pay compensation.
2.Marzetti v/s Williams,(1830) 1 B & Ad 415
(Bank refusing customers cheque)
In this situation, the plaintiff was an account holder who had money in his account.One day he went to withdraw money via Self Check. While his account contained ample money but the Defendant; banker declined to pay the plaintiff for no cause. And then the plaintiff filed a complaint seeking damages against the defendant;banker.
The court held that while the claimant suffered no monetary damage but his legal right was infringed.So the defendant is liable as per the principle of Injuria Sine damnum.
❖ In general, therefore, the principle Injuria Sine Damno applies to the remedies given in the form of damages or compensation in breach of any legal right, so that if the legal right is infringed, the case will be brought even though there is no harm to another. In other words, it is a violation of a right in which no damage is sustained but a cause of action is established.
Differences between Damnum sine injuria and Injuria Sine damnum
1.Damnum sine Injuria applies to the damages sustained by the defendant but the legal rights are not violated because there is no breach whereas Injuria Sine damnum is the civil damage to the plaintiff, without harm to the actual injury
2Damnum sine Injuria is the damages that have been sustained without violating any legal right thereby having no cause for action whereas Injuria Sine damnum is a breach of a legal right in which the complainant often establishes an actionable claim, even though no harm has been incurred.
3.In the cases of Damnum sine Injuria court awards no compensation whereas in the cases of Injuria Sine damnum compensation is awarded by the court.
4.Damnum sine Injuria is for the moral wrongs , which in the eyes of the law have no practice whereas Injuria Sine damnum is for the legal errors that can be enforced if the lawful right of the citizen has been violated.
5.In the cases of Damnum sine Injuria, the complainant suffers a loss but no legal injury has been sustained whereas in the cases of Injuria Sine damnum the plaintiff has suffered legal injury in this regard, no matter whether they have suffered any loss or not.
6.In Damnum sine Injuria ,damages without harm can not be operated upon whereas inInjuria Sine damnum it is actionable if a civil right is infringed.
Rule of Torts is a branch that resembles other laws but in many ways it is distinct from them. While there may be differences of opinion among the jurist about tort liability, the law was created. The breach of private right without any real loss or harm sustained in the case of injuria sine damno. Every person has an absolute right to his life , property and rights, but when there is neither damno nor injuries, no action can be taken. In India, if legal right is infringed, there is no need to show any legal damage. Offenses such as libel, attack, battery, etc., are pure misconduct, without proof of actionable harm. So if there is no breach of the legal right, any relief will be given even though there was a significant loss.
The main purpose of the Damnum Sine Injuria maxim is that no ground of action or cause of action exists for a person behaving within reasonable limits, even if the other person is suffering damages on that account, while the main goal of the Injuria Sine damnum maxim is that if a person's legal right is violated, a cause of action arises and the person whose legal right is infringed,In such cases a legitimate right that is distinct from absolute rights has been violated.
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