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action has become prevalent; indeed the French Cour de cassation has outflanked the specific instance approach of the Code civil by establishing unjust enrichment as a general principle of law existing independently of la loi. Does such a general action really help lawyers solve unjust enrichment problems? 2 When it comes to English law, the traditional position, until quite recently, was very clearly stated by Lord Diplock. Nevertheless, once one views the law from the position of the law of actions, including, of course, equitable remedies, the role of the principle of unjust enrichment becomes much more evident. It is the mirror image of the principle of wrongfully causing loss and it invites the court to look, not so much at the plaintiffs loss, but the benefit obtained without just cause. Indeed, one French professor once suggested the following principle to act as the mirror image of liability for damage in Art 1382: ‘Any human act whatsoever which causes an enrichment to another gives rise to a right on behalf of the person by whose act the enrichment has been procured to recover it.’ What problems does such a principle present when analysing factual situations? 3 Ought the court to look at the physical benefit itself (money in a defendant’s bank account or property bought with the enrichment money) or should they take an abstract view of benefit (for example, seeing it in terms of value)?
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