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Wrotham Park Damages – Principles and Practical Issues

Tay Yong Seng & Ang Ann Liang

[2018] SAL Prac 7

“Wrotham Park damages” are damages for breach of a restrictive covenant. They are measured not by reference to the claimant’s pecuniary loss, but by the sum of money which the claimant could have demanded from the defendant for relaxing the covenant. Such damages were first awarded by the English High Court in Wrotham Park Estate Co Ltd v Parkside Homes Ltd [1974] 1 WLR 798 (“Wrotham Park”). That case dealt with damages for the breach of a restrictive covenant over land. Since then, Wrotham Park damages have been extended to other areas, including restrictive covenants over the use of intellectual property and confidential information. These developments have sparked debate in both Singapore and England on the doctrinal basis of Wrotham Park damages and widened the scope of their potential application. This article first analyses these developments in Singapore and England. It will then argue that unlike England (which recently excluded Wrotham Park damages for breaches of non-compete agreements), there should be no similar exclusion in Singapore. Finally, it will also deal with practical issues on the quantification of Wrotham Park damages.