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Morgan V. Ashcroft I Notes

BCL Law Notes > Restitution of Unjust Enrichment BCL Notes

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MORGAN V. ASHCROFT FACTS The plaintiff is a bookmaker and he claims to recover from the defendant, a licensed victualler who had been in the habit of making bets with him, a sum of 24l. 2s. 1d., being the amount of an alleged overpayment made by the plaintiff to the defendant in settling bets. The learned county court judge found as a fact that the defendant had been overpaid to the extent of 24l. 2s. 1d. and that the overpayment was made under a mistake of fact - namely, the mistake of the plaintiff's clerk in not noticing that the 24l. 2s. 1d. due on the first day's transactions had been credited twice, and he gave judgment for the plaintiff for this amount. He entertained doubts as to the maintainability of the counterclaim, but he found as a fact that the defendant did not make the additional bets in question, with the result that the counterclaim in any event failed. ISSUE Whether or not the learned county court judge was right in holding that the plaintiff is entitled to recover the 24l. 2s. 1d. which upon the account must be taken to have been an unintentional overpayment. HOLDING WILFRID GREENE MR Court cannot take account of Gambling Transactions It was necessary for the Court to examine the state of the account between the parties. Now this, in my opinion, is a thing which the Court is not entitled to do, since by merely taking the account the Court would necessarily be recognizing wagering transactions as producing legal obligations and therefore doing the very thing which the Gaming Act, 1845, does not permit to be done. In truth, a claim such as the present to recover an overpayment in respect of wagering transactions must, in my view, inevitably be founded upon an account between the parties. It would plainly not be possible for a bookmaker to bring an action for an account of the wagering transactions between himself and a client and repayment of any amount found upon the taking of the account to have been overpaid... In other words, the Court could not examine the state of account between the parties; and as the plaintiff's claim could not be dealt with in the absence of an examination of the whole account it must of necessity fall. Implied Contract Reasoning

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