When property is wrongfully damaged the cost of reinstatement is often the appropriate measure of damages. Reinstatement by repair or replacement is, however, often possible only by replacing old materials with new materials that enhance the value of the property, generating ‘betterment’. In such cases courts are faced with a choice whether to abide the betterment and award the cost of reinstatement, or reduce damages to offset the betterment. Examples of both responses to betterment are found in the cases, but no clear principle has been articulated by Canadian courts as to when one is to be preferred over the other. I advance such a principle here, and use it to resolve some difficulties faced by courts in the assessment of damages where betterment is present.
Pratt, Michael G, Betterment (August 18, 2017). (2017) 40:1 Dalhousie Law Journal 67-105.