Topic: Proprietary responses to policy motivated unjust enrichment claims

Presenter: Professor Simone Degeling - Faculty of Law, The University of New South Wales (UNSW)

The incidence of proprietary responses to unjust enrichment remains a controversial subject. Most analysis has focused on intention based unjust factors. Accompanying this debate has been a parallel inquiry into the extent to which judicial reasoning is entitled to consider policy arguments or arguments from consequence in justifying a proprietary award.

Professor Degeling's paper argues that in the policy motivated category such distinctions are largely irrelevant. 

Theories of proprietary response linked to the intention of the plaintiff or indeed wrongdoing of the defendant have little to offer in accounting for those cases in which a proprietary interest is raised to reverse enrichment in the policy motivated category. Instead, the policy grounding the claim speaks to this issue.

Importantly, this policy necessarily involves the acceptance of the possibility of consequentiality reasoning or reasoning which takes account of community welfare considerations.

This seminar is jointly presented by the TC Beirne School of Law, Research Seminar Series and the Australian Centre for Private Law (ACPL).

All welcome, please register by emailing Beth Williams.

Contact: Beth Williams, ph: 334 69350, email:

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