Annual Survey of International & Comparative Law


The primary aim of this article is to propose an answer if U.S. punitive damages judgments should be recognized in Germany. First, the article will give an overview about punitive damages under American Law and then will analyze the German doctrinal framework of damages. On this basis, the paper will provide an overview of the proceeding of the recognition and execution of foreign judgments in Germany, including the German ordre public. The comparative analysis of this paper will identify parallels between U.S. punitive damages and German damages and will show penal elements within the German civil law. The enforceability of punitive damages in Germany depends on the German point of view towards punitive damages. Thus, this article will identify penal elements in the German civil law. Even if the German civil law would be unacquainted with punishment, it could be imaginable that the German law could tolerate the objectives of punitive damages. Therefore it will be discussed, if the German law or jurisprudence contains aspects that correspond to the intention of American punitive damages.