The Cambridge Law Journal

Shorter Articles

Excising Estoppel by Representation as a Defence to Restitution

Paul Key*

Both the existence of and theoretical justification for defences to an action in unjust enrichment have been the source of controversy since the action was first recognised in Moses v. Macferlam.* The House of Lords' recognition of a defence of change of position in Lipkin Gorman v. Karpnale Ltd goes some way towards meeting the criticisms levelled at the courts' general failure to develop and clarify the defences to restitution. The judgments of Lord Goff and Lord Templeman have properly been acclaimed for imposing some measure of order upon an important aspect of the law of restitution. However, problems remain. Lipkin Gorman does not provide an exhaustive analysis of either change of position or its inter-relationship with other defences.


* Solicitor, Herbert Smith, London.