Exemplary Damages

Kyotera Victoria Fishnets Ltd v The Commissioner General, Uganda Revenue Authority (CIVIL SUIT NO. 224 OF 2014) [2018] UGCOMM 12 (15 May 2018);


Headnote and Holding: 

The court concerned whether the goods seized by the defendants were all released pursuant to a consent to judgment being signed, and payment being fulfilled. 

The plaintiff instituted action against the defendants for a declaration that they had breach a consent order. The defendants, without the plaintiff being present, entered a warehouse and seized a substantial number of goods. 

A consent to judgment was entered into, wherein it was alleged that the defendant had breached the consent by not releasing all the goods. The plaintiff sought recovery of the goods and said that the seizure was unlawful. 

The court found that the test to be applied is as follows: 1) whether all goods were released? 2) If not, what is the value of the goods not released and the potential remedies available? 

The court found that the burden of proof lies on the party who asserts that the truth of the issue is in dispute. When that party adduces evidence, which is sufficient to raise a presumption that what he alleges is true, the burden of proof shifts to the other party to counter allege and produce evidence to rebut the presumption. 

The court found that a substantial portion of the goods were not released as a result of the defendant being overburdened in their workforce, which deprived the plaintiff from use of the proceeds of the goods. Therefore, the plaintiff should be compensated for the economic inconvenience and awarded general damages. 

The plaintiff tried to claim exemplary damages for breach of consent to judgment, however this was denied as it was not proven that the conduct of the defendants amounted to oppressive, arbitrary or unconstitutional behaviour. 

Application upheld. 


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