Linking Gains to Wrongs

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This article provides a theoretical and doctrinal explanation of how the but-for test links gains to the wrong that produced them. Gain-based damages cases focus on the gain resulting from the defendant's tortious behaviour. In these cases, the contrastive aspect of the but-for test, requiring the factfinder to consider the hypothetical result that would have occurred had the right thing happened instead of the defendant's wrongdoing, is not confined to the question of reasonability, as it is in negligence cases. Rather, in gain-based damages cases, the factfinder faces the open-ended normative task of determining the hypothetically appropriate scenario that contrasts with the wrongdoing that happened in reality. For this reason, in gain-based damages cases, the normative sensitivity of the but-for test is revealed in full. The article explains how this sensitivity influences the result of the but-for test expressing the amount of gain causally attributed to the defendant's wrongdoing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-383
Number of pages19
JournalCanadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence
Issue number2
StatePublished - 28 Aug 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Law


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