This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Law Notes Aspects Of Obligations Notes

Grounds Of Restitution Notes

Updated Grounds Of Restitution Notes

Aspects Of Obligations Notes

Aspects Of Obligations

Approximately 333 pages

Aspects Of Obligations notes fully updated for recent exams in the UK. These notes cover all the major LLB aspects cases and so are perfect for anyone doing an LLB in the UK or a great supplement for those doing LLBs abroad, whether that be in Ireland, Canada, Hong Kong or Malaysia (University of London).

These notes were formed directly from a reading of the cases and main texts and are vigorous, concise and very well written. Everything is conveniently split up by topic as you can see by th...

The following is a more accessible plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Aspects Of Obligations Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

UNJUST ENRICHMENT (II): Unjust Factors

  1. Absence or Presence of Basis?

    1. Absence of Basis

      1. Birks’s Absence of Basis Scheme

        1. General

          • Birks – it is sufficient for the claimant to establish that there was no explanatory basis for the receipt of an enrichment (e.g. if there was a contract/statute, that is used instead). Therefore all potentially void contracts potentially give restitution, but defences restrict these

  • Baloch –German approach of only treating some void contracts as yielding restitution is more direct, but Birks’s approach fits in with common law better

    • Burrows –because you have to look at, e.g. contract law, to see whether a basis exists or not, the pyramid might be thought to push unjust enrichment into other areas of law

    1. Judicial Support

  • Westdeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale v Islington (1996) (HL) –obiter –voidness of the swap contract triggered unjust enrichment and meant there was an absence of consideration

  • Kleinwort Benson v Lincoln (1999) (HL) –Lord Hope –it is unjust for a person to retain a benefit which he has received at the expense of another, without any legal ground to justify its retention, which that other person did not intend him to receive

    1. Normative Judicial Support

  • Deutsche Morgan Grenfell Group v IRC (2006) (HL) –Lord Walker –The recognition of “no basis” as a single unifying principle would preserve … the purity of the principle on which unjust enrichment is founded, without in any way removing (as this case illustrates) the need for careful analysis of the content of particular “unjust factor” such as mistake. But this was not the right case in which to do it, and there should be a period of reappraisal

    Lord Hoffmann - absence of a basis for payment is a ground which generalises and subsumes all separate categories of situation where a payment of money not due was recoverable

    1. Participatory and Non Participatory Enrichments

Participatory Obligatory Claimant pays money pursuant to an invalid obligation (e.g. due to mistake, void contract or ultra vires taxes)
Voluntary Claimant gives benefit but the purpose fails (e.g. contracts failing to materialise and risk-takers, who make a gift)
Non-Participatory No basis at all (e.g. claimant ignorant of defendant’s enrichment)
  1. The Pyramid

    • At the base of the pyramid are unjust factors, and at the top is absence of basis. The unjust factors will cause an absence of basis because the transfer will have always occurred on either a failed basis or without consent

  1. Advantages of the Pyramid

    1. External Controlling Factor

  • Baloch –pyramid gives unjust factors a controlling mechanism in the form of absence of basis. Without this, unjust factors characterise the transaction as an intent-based unjust factor, which is inappropriate (e.g. interest rate swap cases were to do with void contracts rather than non-voluntariness of the transfer)

    1. Sufficient Attention to Validity of Agreement

      • CTN Cash & Carry v Gallaher (1994) –claimant ordered cigarettes from defendant who delivered to the wrong warehouse. Before defendant could redeliver, they were stolen. Defendant then redelivered to the correct warehouse. Claimant was billed for both deliveries and paid because defendant threatened to withdraw credit facilities. Claimant then claimed restitution, arguing payment was vitiated by duress. Held there was no obligation under the contract to pay for the cigarettes (as defendant thought) but no restitution anyway. For the purposes of duress, it didn’t matter whether the obligation was valid or invalid

  • BalochCTN treated the duress analysis as the same whether the obligation was valid or not. They therefore failed to incorporate the validity of the agreement into their analysis. The Birks analysis would have avoided this problem

    • Roxborough v Rothmans (2001) (HCA)–tax paid when it was subsequently declared unconstitutional. Court didn’t say why they were granting restitution but it was granted

  • Baloch –under Birks approach, court would have looked at a reason why there was an absence of basis (e.g. because of mistake or failure of consideration), but as such didn’t direct their minds to this question

    1. A Happy Medium Between “Unjust Factors” and “Civilian” Approaches

      • Deutsche Morgan Grenfell v IRC (2006) (HL) –tax erroneously paid too early. Claimant sued for use value of the money

  • Baloch –a purely objective approach would not allow restitution for value of the money but unjust factor approach didn’t properly consider the basis for restitution

    1. By-Benefits

  • Baloch –by-benefits are not properly catered for under Birks they are treated as gifts. Instead, they should be treated as cases of ignorance or mistakes

    1. Disadvantages of the Pyramid

      1. The State of the Authorities

        • Kleinwort Benson v Lincoln (1999) (HL) –Lord Hope – positive grounds of restitution must be established (specifically contrasted common law and civilian approaches)

        • Marine Trade v Pioneer Freight (2009) (HC) –Flaux J –positive grounds must be established

        • Woolwich v IRC (1993) (HL) –English law might have, but has not, developed so as to grant restitution simply because the benefit rendered was not due

      2. Different Results

        • Burrows – results are different in mistaken payment cases because you have to work out whether there was a valid basis, not whether claimant was mistaken. With void contracts, Birks would not say automatically there is restitution because there is an absence of basis because if claimant knew it was void he would be making a gift

        • CTN Cash and Carry v Gallaher (1994) –the pyramid would have given restitution because there was an absence of basis; fact that there was no duress was irrelevant. Here, restitution was not given because there was no duress.

        • Kerrison v Glyn, Mills, Currie (1911) –claimant recovered money paid in anticipation of a liability that never arose. Birks – this is okay because claimant’s purpose had failed

  • Virgo –in Kerrison, Birks hasn’t...

Buy the full version of these notes or essay plans and more in our Aspects Of Obligations Notes.