(Ma4) (Live Presentation and Webinar) Unjust Enrichment: does it exist and if so, what is it, where is it going and can we humanely dispose of it?

Date:  17 November 2023 (Friday)   Time: 2:30pm–5:45pm   Language: English  Level: Elementary

Speaker:          Stephen Gallagher, Professor of Practice in Law, Associate Dean (Academic & Student Affairs), the  Faculty of Law, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Lawyer CPD / ACCA CPD / SFC CPT / Insurers’ CPD Pts:  3 points                 Fee: HK$1,790


 This three-hour seminar will consider what has been hailed as the newest form of standalone action at common law- unjust enrichment. The seminar will consider the history of the development of unjust enrichment, the only form of action at common law created by academics rather than judges, and its development. The seminar will consider unjust enrichment’s part in the search for a unified common law of restitution. The seminar will then consider the development of unjust enrichment and its defence, the change of position, in Hong Kong and England. The seminar will consider the links between unjust enrichment and equity and the possible development of the action to deal with more than just money claims. In conclusion we will consider whether unjust enrichment does exist or whether it is just another name for money had and received, and whether we can humanely dispose of the last vestige of the “cult of restitution.”


Course Outline:

Some of the topics considered in this seminar include:

  • What is unjust enrichment?
  • Where did it come from?
  • A brief history of unjust enrichment;
  • The common money counts;
  • Mansfield’s fallacy and the “Glorious uncertainty of the law”
  • Lord Goff’s academic pursuit of a law of restitution;
  • Gambling solicitors and a firm’s lost funds;
  • Unjust enrichment and the change of position defence;
  • The modern action for unjust enrichment in Hong Kong;
  • The limits of actions for unjust enrichment;
  • Arguments for tracing more than money;
  • Could we live without unjust enrichment?




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Stephen Gallagher
Stephen Gallagher, Professor of Practice in Law, Associate Dean (Academic & Student Affairs), the Faculty of Law, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Steven Gallagher was awarded a first class LL.B. He was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2006. Steven teaches the equity and trusts courses for undergraduate and postgraduate students. Steven also teaches a course on art, antiquities, cultural heritage and the law on the LLM programme. Steven has presented continuing professional development courses for solicitors in Hong Kong on many topics associated with equity. Steven’s research interests include equity and the law of trusts, cultural heritage law and legal history. In September 2021, Steven published the book, “Protecting Built Heritage in Hong Kong: what heritage and what protection?”