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(B) PROPERTY

Generally, where the defendant receives property, such as land or chattels, he or she would acknowledge that the property is a valuable benefit and so constitutes an enrichment. But it is possible subjectively to devalue property. This will especially be the case where the defendant argues that he or she would not have chosen to spend money on that property, preferring instead to spend the money on something which was of more use to him or her. For example, if the defendant already has a car and is given another car by the claimant by mistake, the defendant could rely on subjective devaluation and assert that she did not value the car. Such subjective devaluation would, however, be subject to those principles which operate to limit its application.[1] Whereas money has both an intrinsic value and a use value, property can only be valued either by reference to its exchange value or its use value and not both,[2] because, for example, the exchange value of the property will reflect its use value as well.

  • [1] 87 Lodder, Enrichment in the Law of Unjust Enrichment and Restitution, 98.
  • [2] 88 [1979] 1 WLR 783, 799.
 
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