It is clear that the United States has had a significant influence on the development of the unjust enrichment principle in England. Whilst the raw materials for what became unjust enrichment were developed in England from the eighteenth century in particular, it was jurists in the United States in the late nineteenth century who first sought to explain these disparate rules with reference to the language of restitution and unjust enrichment.[1] This was developed significantly by the publication of Seavey and Scott’s first Restatement of the Law of Restitution, Quasi-Contracts and Constructive Trusts, which undoubtedly had a dramatic effect on the development of the law of restitution in England and beyond, influencing both commentators—particularly Goff and Jones, who acknowledged the influence explicitly in the preface to the first edition of The Law of Restitution—and judges. A second Restatement was abandoned. Restatement Third: Restitution and Unjust Enrichment was published in 2011 and this constitutes the most important survey of the US law of restitution for over 70 years. Reference will be made to it where appropriate throughout this book. The influence of US law on the development of English law has been much reduced recently, however. Restitution and unjust enrichment are generally not taught specifically in US law schools, but are covered in courses on contracts or remedies.[2] [3] It is to be hoped that the publication of Restatement Third will rejuvenate interest in the subject in the United States. Restatement Third has been influential in England, with the publication of Burrows’ A Restatement of the English Law of Unjust Enrichment.44 Whilst this is the personal view of Professor Burrows as to the state of the English law of unjust enrichment, albeit advised by a group of academics, judges, and practitioners, it is a significant contribution to the understanding of the English law and again references will be made as appropriate to it throughout this book.

  • [1] See A Kull, ‘James Barr Ames and the Early Modern History of Unjust Enrichment’ (2005) OJLS 297.
  • [2] See J Langbein, ‘The Later History of Restitution’ in W Cornish, R Nolan, J O’Sullivan, and G Virgo (eds),Restitution: Past, Present and Future (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 1998), 60-2.
  • [3] Hart Publishing, 2012.
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