Foreign Currency: Claims, Judgments and Damages

Page 277


Are currency exchange losses recoverable as damages?



13.1 The issue considered in this chapter is whether losses arising from depreciation of a currency may be claimed as damages in civil proceedings. This question most commonly arises in claims for breach of contract arising from late or nonpayment of a fixed sum, but it can also arise in other types of claims.

Majority view and a dissenting view

13.2 Two of the authors of this book are of the view that the answer to the question posed above on the current state of English law is, in summary: Yes, broadly speaking, a claimant can recover such damages, subject to the usual rules of causation and remoteness applicable to the claim.1 In the view of the third author, the answer, again in summary, is: Only very rarely where particular circumstances apply. What follows below is the analysis of the majority. The views of the third author are presented as a separate note of dissent at the end of this chapter.2


13.3 For contract claims, the issue of whether a loss arises from currency depreciation usually occurs in the following (simplified) factual scenario:

Debtor ‘D’ is obliged to pay Creditor ‘C’ a thousand units of a foreign currency (‘FC’), on a certain date. D makes the payment later than stipulated in the contract. By the time payment is received by C, the foreign currency has lost value against C’s home currency3 (‘HC’).

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