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The Doctrine of Unjustified Enrichment

  • H. C. Gutteridge and R. J. A. David


The origin and growth in continental law of the doctrine of unjustified enrichment is not merely an object lesson of the greatest importance to comparative lawyers. It is also of peculiar interest to English lawyers because it affords an admirable illustration of the working of the system of precedent in the continental countries. Moreover, it furnishes abundant proof—if any be needed—of the fact that an elaborate system of rules based on judicial precedent can, and does, exist side by side with the provisions of codes which in their inception were designed to prevent case law from coming into existence.



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1 The terra used in French law is ‘enrichissement sans cause,’ but legal opinion in France seems to prefer ‘enrichissement illegitime’; the English term ‘unjustified enrichment’ which is used in this article is perhaps the nearestequivalent to ‘enrichissement illégitime.’

2 E.g. Code Civil français, Art. 5.

3 Winfield, The Province of the Law of Tort, pp. 127 et seq.; Landon in the Bell Yard, ‘No. VIII (November, 1931), p. 19; Winfield, ibid. No. IX (May, 1932), p. 32; Stallybrass, Landon v. Winfield: An Intervention, ibid. No. X (November, 1932), p. 18.

4 We trust that it will not be thought that we have ignored the law of ScHand, and in particular the decision of the House of Lords in Cantiare San Rocco v. Clyde Shipbuilding and Engineering Co. [1924] A. C. 226, but in our new the background furnished by French law is preferable for comparative purposes as it covers a wider area than that of the corresponding rules in Scots law.

The Doctrine of Unjustified Enrichment

  • H. C. Gutteridge and R. J. A. David


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