The Role of Unjust Enrichment in New Zealand

45 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2019

See all articles by Tessa Cooksley

Tessa Cooksley

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni

Date Written: October 8, 2019

Abstract

This paper argues that courts should recognise unjust enrichment as a cause of action, mainly due to the structure and discipline this can bring to New Zealand’s private law. This paper explores the historical development of unjust enrichment, and its relationship to the general law of restitution. This involves an exploration of legal taxonomy, and the different roles the concept of unjust enrichment can play in a common law legal system. The current New Zealand position on unjust enrichment is unclear: it can be seen operating as a label, a legal principle and some argue it is a cause of action in its own right. This paper considers how other jurisdictions have treated the concept of unjust enrichment, before briefly outlining how the cause of action should be structured in New Zealand. Given its sometimes broad nature, this paper views unjust enrichment as a supplementary action, within the law of obligations: there to provide a remedy when one is necessary, even in the absence of a wrong or an agreement between the parties.

Keywords: unjust enrichment, law of obligations

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Cooksley, Tessa, The Role of Unjust Enrichment in New Zealand (October 8, 2019). Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper, Student/Alumni Paper No. 21/2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3466517

Tessa Cooksley (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni

PO Box 600
Wellington, Victoria 6140
New Zealand

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
47
Abstract Views
137
PlumX Metrics