Doubting the subsidiarity of unjust enrichment

Campbell, M. (2021) Doubting the subsidiarity of unjust enrichment. Lloyd's Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly, 2021, pp. 535-552.

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Abstract

Courts and commentators frequently use the noun “subsidiarity” and the adjective “subsidiary” to help explain certain of unjust enrichment’s relations with other areas of law and legal institutions—especially property, contract, and statute. However, the vocabulary of subsidiarity is unsuited for that purpose. It should disappear from unjust enrichment discourse. After its Introduction, this paper proceeds in four Parts. Parts II and III analyse accounts of unjust enrichment as subsidiary to property and contract. The instances in which unjust enrichment claims are said to be subsidiary to property and contract are ones in which a given enrichment is not unjust in the first place. They are situations where, as a matter of law, no unjust enrichment claim actually exists to be subsidiary to any other claim or institution. They cannot logically, therefore, represent examples of the so-called subsidiarity of unjust enrichment. They are better explained through the spectrum of the “unjust question” in the unjust enrichment inquiry. Part IV applies the same arguments to the interaction of unjust enrichment and statutes which are entirely inconsistent with unjust enrichment claims. It also demonstrates that unjust enrichment is not subsidiary to statutes which, though not exclusive of unjust enrichment, nevertheless alter its normal operation. Part V concludes.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Campbell, Dr Mat
Authors: Campbell, M.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Social Justice Place and Lifelong Education
Journal Name:Lloyd's Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly
Publisher:Informa Law
ISSN:0306-2945
ISSN (Online):2329-8472
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 Informa UK plc.
First Published:First published in Lloyd's Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly 2021: 535-552
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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