Enforcing Unjust Enrichment Rights: The Recovery of Mistaken Payments in Practice
21 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2019 Last revised: 14 Jan 2019
Date Written: September 1, 2018
This article examines the recoverability of mistaken payments made by bank transfer in practice in Singapore. It is now clearly established under Singapore law that a mistaken payor has a claim in unjust enrichment to recover his mistaken payment. However, it is not so easy for the mistaken payor to enforce his rights. In Singapore, this problem is particularly acute because of bank privacy laws in Singapore which make it difficult for a mistaken payor to discover the identity of the payee. Yet, without the ability to effectively enforce one’s unjust enrichment rights, having those rights themselves is of little practical value. The article then proposes a simple wayto make it significantly easier and cheaper for mistaken payors to enforce their unjust enrichment rights: by expanding the jurisdiction of the Small Claims Tribunal to encompass these claims. Doing so would enhance access to justice and should be warmly welcomed.
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