Restitution for unjust enrichment—elements of the claim
Produced in partnership with Harris Bor of 20 Essex Street
Restitution for unjust enrichment—elements of the claim

The following Dispute Resolution guidance note Produced in partnership with Harris Bor of 20 Essex Street provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Restitution for unjust enrichment—elements of the claim
  • Unjust enrichment claim—what is it and when is it used?
  • Unjust enrichment—required elements for a claim
  • The defendant has been enriched (first requirement)
  • Bank receiving monies by mistake
  • Enrichment is at the claimant's expense (second requirement)
  • Retention of the enrichment is unjust (third requirement)
  • 'Woolwich type' restitution claims—public authorities
  • Defences to a claim in restitution for unjust enrichment
  • Unjust enrichment and limitation
  • more

Unjust enrichment claim—what is it and when is it used?

A claim based on unjust enrichment is one which seeks to restore to an innocent party the gains that someone else has obtained from them. It is part of the equitable remedy of restitution, on which see: Restitution and unjust enrichment—overview.

A claim for unjust enrichment may be an appropriate basis of claim in a variety of scenarios, such as where money or property has been paid or transferred away by mistake.

While a claim in restitution for unjust enrichment is not necessarily dependent on some wrongful act by the defendant, many restitutionary claims are brought in consequence of some form of alleged wrongdoing by the defendant. See Practice Note: Restitution for wrongful acts.

A claim for unjust enrichment is a claim which may sometimes be pursued alongside (in the alternative) to a claim in contract, circumstances permitting.

A claim for unjust enrichment is sometimes known as a claim for money had and received. In the insolvency case of Officeserve Technologies v Annabel's (Berkeley Square), concerning section 127 of the Insolvency Act 1986 and the voiding of any disposition of the company's property made after the commencement of the winding up, the judge observed:

‘In the present case, I am in no doubt that the modern equivalent of the old claim for money had