European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 215–244 | Cite as

Punitive Damages: A European Criminal Law Approach. State Sanctions and the System of Guarantees

  • Manuel Gómez Tomillo


It has traditionally been upheld that punitive damages are incompatible with the Constitutions of civil law countries. This paper sustains the opposing thesis and argues their compatibility, of a general nature, with the basic principles of continental European States, and especially with the principles of legality, proportionality and non bis in idem. This opens the way to the enforcement, in Europe, of sentences delivered in the United States of America. However, despite this starting point, the advisability of exporting the model of punitive damages is rejected. The theme is expanded to argue the equivalent nature of the guarantees and limits of all sanctioning activity of the State and those already established in Criminal Law. This would encompass punitive damages and all types of civil sanctions.


Criminal law Punitive damages System of guarantees 



I wish to express my thanks to the University of Harvard, at which I completed the present work, in the summer of 2011, and to the Spanish Ministry of Innovation and Science, which financed it through research project DER2009-08324.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Derecho penal, Facultad de DerechoValladolid University (SPAIN)ValladolidSpain

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