LLM Programme

The taught modules offered on the LLM programme vary from year to year. Please check the full list of taught modules list for details of modules running in specific academic years. We make every effort to ensure that every module will be offered, but modules are subject to change and cancellation. You are therefore advised to check this site regularly for further updates throughout the year preceding entry to the LLM programme.

Credit value: 30 credits (12 ECTS)
Module Convenor:
Professor Robert Chambers
Other Teachers:
Professor Ben McFarlane


A sound understanding of unjust enrichment and restitution is essential for lawyers specialising in commercial litigation. This module places particular emphasis on the commercial setting within which many such claims arise, looking, for example, at the problems encountered by banks and companies which make mistaken payments, enter invalid transactions, lend money against imperfect security, fall victim to fraudsters who misappropriate their assets, or pay taxes that are not due. The focus of the module is on Anglo-Commonwealth law, but some comparisons are drawn with the laws of civilian and mixed legal systems.

A claimant in unjust enrichment must show that the defendant was enriched, that the enrichment was gained at the claimant’s expense, and that the enrichment was unjust. Where all three requirements are satisfied, two further questions arise: what is the appropriate method of restitution and are there any defences to that claim?


Fundamental Concepts

  • Introduction to Unjust Enrichment and Restitution
  • Enrichment
  • Expense to the Claimant
  • Tracing
  • Restitution

Reasons for Restitution

  • Mistake
  • Duress
  • Undue Influence
  • Weakness and Incapacity
  • Want of Authority
  • Failure of Consideration 1 (Discharged Contracts)
  • Failure of Consideration 2 (Void and Anticipated Contracts)
  • Emergencies
  • Public Bodies Acting Ultra Vires
  • Absence of Basis
  • Wrongful Enrichment


  • Change of Position and Passing On
  • Estoppel, Bona Fide Purchase, and Counter-Restitution Impossible
  • Illegality, Incapacity, and Limitation
  • Revision

Background Reading (optional):

The set textbook for the module is Andrew Burrows, The Law of Restitution (3rd edn OUP Oxford 2010). Students prepare for each seminar by reading the relevant chapter in this book along with two or three assigned readings (usually one case and one article) which will be discussed in detail during the seminar.

Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, once students have made their module selections upon enrolment in September.

Delivery and enrolment
Lectures/Seminars: 20 x two-hour seminars
Tutorials: None
Previous module enrolments: Small - less than 15 students
Who may enrol: LLM students
Prerequisities: None
Barred module combinations: None
Core Module for LLM specialism: International Commercial Law
Final Assessment: 3-hour unseen written examination
Practice Assessment: Opportunity for feedback on one optional practice essay per term

This page was last updated on 24 July, 2014


The application process for the 2014-15 academic session, for entry in September 2014, is now closed.

Information regarding applications for September 2015 will be updated on the website in September 2014.

IMPORTANT NOTICE : Updated 28 May 2014

The Home Office issued an update about the acceptance of ETS tests (including TOEFL). They have now confirmed that Higher Education students applying for a Tier 4 visa may use a TOEFL test taken after 17 April, if a Higher Education Institution is willing to use its academic discretion. For those students entering in September 2014, UCL will continue to accept the TOEFL even if it was taken after 17 April. However, if an applicant still needs to book a test then we recommend that they take an alternative test to TOEFL. Those who have already arranged to take a different test following the previous advice from the Home Office, we encourage you to go ahead with taking the alternative test.

The TOEFL test will continue to be accepted for 2014 entrants who have been asked to take an English language qualification as part of their offer condition, and do not need to apply for a visa to study in the UK.