By Fernando Langa and Gilda Rivas
We can define INTEREST as the sum of money owed to the creditor as compensation for the damage caused by the breach or late performance of an obligation; it is LEGAL when the rate is fixed by law; it is JUDICIAL when it is owed from the filing of a complaint or from a prior intimation; it is COMPENSATORY when it is intended to repair the damage resulting from the definitive breach of an obligation or its defective performance; it is MORATORIUM when it is designed to repair the damage resulting from the delay in the fulfillment of an obligation.
In contractual civil liability, there is an applicable condemnation for damages by reason of non-compliance with the legal obligation or because of a delay in carrying it out1; similarly, obligations that are limited to the payment of a certain amount and damages that may result from delay in performance, only consist condemnation to the interests specified by law2.
The action in civil liability is primarily intended to repair a damage, and is built mainly in the Dominican Civil Code articles 1382 and following, which is complemented greatly by the case law rules issued thereon.
For its part, case law has determined three common requirements to all levels of responsibility within civil liability, and these are:
1. The wrongful act;
2. The damage; and
3. The relationship of cause and effect between the two.
The wrongful act is defined by our Supreme Court as “an error of conduct, which would not have been committed by a normal person on the same external conditions; it is also defined as an act contrary to law (…) “1, we can conclude that it is a breach of a pre-existing obligation contrary to the right of another, which can result from a contract or the law itself. 2