The victim may be able to bring a restitutionary claim on the basis that the criminal was unjustly enriched at the victim’s expense. This is because the commission of a criminal offence may enable the victim to establish one of the recognized grounds of restitution. So, for example, if the defendant falsely imprisoned the claimant and demanded the payment of money from him or her as a condition of release, the defendant will have committed the crimes of false imprisonment[1] and blackmail,[2] but the claimant will be able to recover the money paid on the ground of duress of the person.[3]


Alternatively, the victim may be able to establish a restitutionary claim against the criminal on the basis that the victim seeks to vindicate his or her continuing proprietary rights. This will often be the case where the defendant steals the claimant’s property or handles stolen property. This is illustrated by Lipkin Gorman (a firm) v Karpnale Ltd,[4] where money was stolen from the claimant, a firm of solicitors, by one of its partners, who gambled with the money at the defendant’s casino. The claimant recovered some of the money which had been stolen, and this is preferably analysed on the basis that the defendant had received money which belonged to the claimant.[5] It was irrelevant that the defendant in this case was not the criminal, it being sufficient that the defendant had received the proceeds of crime from the criminal.[6]

  • [1] This is a common law offence. See D Ormerod (ed), Smith and Hogan, Criminal Law (13th edn, Oxford:
  • [2] Oxford University Press, 2011), 678. 2 Theft Act 1968, s 21.
  • [3] See, for example, Duke de Cadaval v Collins (1836) 4 Ad and El 858, 111 ER 1006. See p 211, above.
  • [4] [1991] 2 AC 548. See p 560, below. 5 See further p 560, below.
  • [5] 10 Where the claimant wishes to recover stolen property from a thief the court may require the thief to
  • [6] return the property, its substitute or its value to the victim: Theft Act 1968, s 28.
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