Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Restitutio In Integrum Definition:

Latin: restitution to the original position.

Related Terms: Restitution

In Cheshire's Law of Contract:

"The question ... concerns the principles upon which damages must be evaluated or quantified in terms of money. This may appropriately  be called the question of measure of damages.

"The principle adopted by the courts in many cases ... is that of restitutio in integrum. If the plaintiff has suffered damage that is not too remote, he must, as far as money can do it, be restored to the position he would have been in had that particular damage not occurred."

In the context of tort law, Canada's highest court used these words in Cooper v Miller:

"The fundamental principle is that the plaintiff in an action for negligence is entitled to a sum of damages which will return the plaintiff to the position the plaintiff would have been in had the accident not occurred, in so far as money is capable of doing this.  This goal was expressed in the early cases by the maxim restitutio in integrum.  The plaintiff is entitled to full compensation and is not to be denied recovery of losses which he has sustained.... (T)he basic rule is that it is the net consequential loss and expense which the court must measure.

"At the same time, the compensation must be fair to both the plaintiff and the defendant.

"In short, the ideal of the law in negligence cases is fully restorative but non-punitive damages.  The ideal of compensation which is at the same time full and fair is met by awarding damages for all the plaintiff's actual losses, and no more. The watchword is restoration; what is required to restore the plaintiff to his or her pre-accident position."


  • Furstom, M., Cheshire, Fifoot and Furmston's Law of Contract (14th Edition, London: Butterworths, 2001).
  • Cooper v Miller [1994] 1 SCR 359; published at

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