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Johnny Depp won the trial and Amber Heard lost: How much does Heard have to pay Depp and why?

In the high profile case between former lovers the jury found in favour of Depp on two counts, but in favour of Heard on one.

Depp awarded $15 million in damages as jury finds in his favour

A verdict has been returned in the high-profile court case between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, with the jury finding that Depp was unfairly defamed by Heard in an op-ed in The Washington Post. However they did find in favour of Heard on one count filed by her legal team.

The jury found in favour of Depp on two counts, and awarded him compensatory payments of $10 million and $5 million. Heard has been awarded $2 million in compensation for he upheld claim.

The verdict was returned by jurors after deliberating for around 12 hours, after the testimony and courtroom arguments came to a close last week. Regardless of the financial compensation ordered by the court, both parties will likely to see their fate decided in the court of public opinion. Views of many onlookers have become so entrenched that they may not be swayed by the jury’s decision.

Depp’s legal team had sued Heard for an amount “no less than $50 million” after claiming that she defamed him by implying that he had abused her during their two-year marriage.

In turn Heard countersued for $100 million claiming that Depp had carried out a “smear campaign” against her. Her team described the court case as a continuation of the “abuse and harassment” that she had referred to years earlier.

Worth a read: Amber Heard’s “excellent grounds” for appeal

Why is there no criminal charge for either party?

Civil court cases, also known as lawsuits, often focus on the damage perpetrated by the defendant. Both super-wealthy actors demanded a substantial compensation payment for what they believed was a misrepresentation of their relationship.

The case was heard in a civil court, rather than as a criminal case, so the jury was not be asked to decide guilt and innocence. Instead, jurors were simply tasked with deciding which side is in the right, on the balance of probability.

Rather than the legal standard of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that is applied in criminal cases, the jury simply sided with whichever party they felt was most likely to be correct.

As such, neither party was ever at any risk of a criminal record or prison time because the case is being heard in the civil, not the criminal, courts. However in civil cases the damage to reputation dealt by an unfavourable verdict can be more painful than any amount of financial losses, particularly for two such high-profile figures.