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Unit Overview


The law of unjust enrichment has until recently been the forgotten area of private law or the law of obligations. It is now firmly entrenched as the third fundamental area of the law of obligations, along with contract and tort. This unit focuses on several areas of the law of unjust enrichment including mistaken payments, duress, failure of consideration and available defences. Also dealt with are waiver of tort, estoppel, tracing, and restitutionary recovery of improperly acquired gains. Key areas of the law that are unclear when considered other than in the context of the law of unjust enrichment are also dealt with, for example, unconscionability, waiver of tort, estoppel, and equitable and common law tracing. The unit also examines the law of restitution, the gains based remedy for actions in unjust enrichment and an under-appreciated additional remedy available to other causes of action such as wrongs.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Non-standard teaching periodUWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) demonstrate how restitutionary rights arise in unjust enrichment and how restitutionary rights are affected by defences; (2) integrate knowledge of property, torts, trusts and equity to identify any inconsistencies in the cases concerning unjust enrichment; and (3) conduct independent research on unjust enrichment and restitution issues.


Students demonstrate achievement of the outcomes in a variety of assessment methods which may include a case note and research essays. Details of assessment are advised in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit rules
LAWS3392 Unjust Enrichment and Restitution
Contact hours
Students must attend every day of the intensive period. 6-10 Feb 2023
Students must attend every day of the intensive period. 6-10 Feb 2023

Edelman, J. and Bant, E. Unjust Enrichment in Australia: OUP 2006 

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  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.