NATURAL OBLIGATIONS AND THE COMMON LAW OF UNJUST ENRICHMENT

Author: WU, TANG HANG

Source: Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal, Volume 6, Number 2, 2006 , pp. 133-156(24)

Publisher: Hart Publishing

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Abstract:

This paper investigates the suggestion by some scholars of the necessity of transplanting the concept of natural obligations into the common law of unjust enrichment. The argument advanced in this paper is that such a legal transplant is undesirable because the concept of natural obligations in the civil law tradition might distort the common law and it is too vague to be used as a general defence. Instead of introducing the concept of natural obligations as a defence, it is suggested the law of unjust enrichment ought to be balanced with the recognition of two defences against restitutionary recovery: money paid pursuant to a time-barred debt and money paid in relation to a gambling loss. In neither case may the money be recovered simply by proving a mistake of law.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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