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Peter Jaffey

Restitution is generally understood as the return of a payment or transfer, or more broadly the removal of a benefit from the defendant. In modern times, restitution has come to be understood as a remedy for unjust enrichment and the law of restitution has become closely associated with or even equated with the law of unjust enrichment. This has heavily influenced how restitution is understood and when it is available, and it has involved re-interpreting parts of the common law. This chapter considers what is meant by restitution and outlines and criticises the unjust enrichment approach to restitution. In particular, it considers the role of unjust enrichment in contractual and property contexts and whether the claim for restitution in these contexts is not more fruitfully understood purely as a remedy in contract law or property law rather than unjust enrichment. It also considers and criticises the category of ‘restitution for wrongs’.