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What is meant by the term penalty?

The word “penalty” has not been defined in the MGL but judicial pronouncements and principles of jurisprudence have laid down the nature of a penalty as:

  • a temporary punishment or a sum of money imposed by statute, to be paid as punishment for the commission of a certain offence;
  • a punishment imposed by law or contract for doing or failing to do something that was the duty of a party to do.