Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Ad Damnum Definition:

Latin: to the damage.

Related Terms: Damages, Pleadings

Typically refers to the parts or sections of a Court application (pleadings) that speaks to the damages that were allegedly suffered and claimed by the plaintiff.

As Russ VerSteeg write in Essential Latin for Lawyers:

"The ad damnum clause ... is the clause in which the litigant asks the court for money damages."

The ad damnum part of a petition or a claim will usually suggest an amount in dollars that the plaintiff asks the court to award.

The ad damnum can be critical as any quantum suggested therein may constitute a ceiling for any damages awarded.

Every jurisdiction seems to prefer one form of the ad damnum to another.

Additionally, some prohibit reference to any anticipated quantum of damages while others require it.

In England, one form1 for general claim in negligence suggests this ad damnum:

The Claimant claims damages for personal injuries and loss and damages caused by the negligence or breach of statutory duty of the Defendant, its employees or agents at (address and date of alleged injury) and interest theron pursuant to (insert name of relevant statute in regards to interest).

The Claimant expects to recover more than £50,000.

However, using the Canadian jurisdiction of British Columbia as an example, this stipulation as to the ad damnum from the 2011 Rules of Court, Rule 3-7(14), and which prohibits any suggestion as to the value of appropriate damages:

"If general damages are claimed, the amount of the general damages claimed must not be stated in any pleading."


  • NOTE #1: Atkin's Encyclopedia of Court Forms in Civil Proceedings, 2nd Edition, Volume 29(2), "Personal Injury" (London: LexisNexis, 2007), page 127.
  • Supreme Court Civil Rules, B.C. Reg. 168/2009
  • VerSteeg, Russ, Essential Latin Gor Lawyers (Durham: Carolina Acadenmic Press, 1990), page 120.

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