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NECESSITOUS INTERVENTION BY A STRANGER

There are two grounds of restitution which can be considered to be founded on the principle of necessity, relating to where there is a pre-existing legal relationship between the claimant and the defendant and where there is no such relationship. This latter ground of restitution will be considered first.

In certain recognized categories the claimant will be able to obtain restitution from the defendant by virtue of necessitous intervention, even though there is no pre-existing legal relationship between the parties. The claimant in these circumstances is conveniently characterized as a ‘stranger’ even though he or she may have been known to the defendant, simply because there is no legal relationship between the parties, such as an agency relationship.

(A) DISCHARGE OF THE DEFENDANT’S LEGAL LIABILITY

Restitution has been awarded in a number of cases where the consequence of the claimant’s necessitous intervention is the discharge of a legal liability which was owed by the defendant to a third party.

 
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