UCL Faculty of Laws

Prof Charles Mitchell

Prof Charles Mitchell

Professor of Laws

Faculty of Laws


Joined UCL
1st Aug 2010

Research summary

Charles Mitchell’s main research interests are unjust enrichment, equity and trusts, and modern legal history.

In the field of unjust enrichment he has written many articles and two monographs: The Law of Contribution and Reimbursement (OUP, 2003) and Subrogation: Law and Practice (OUP, 2007) (with Stephen Watterson). He is also an author of Goff and Jones: The Law of Unjust Enrichment 9th edn (Sweet & Maxwell, 2016) (with Paul Mitchell and Stephen Watterson). He has edited several essay collections, including Philosophical Foundations of the Law of Unjust Enrichment (OUP, 2009) (with Robert Chambers and James Penner), Restitution of Overpaid Tax (Hart, 2013) (with Steven Elliott and Birke Häcker) and The Restatement Third, Restitution and Unjust Enrichment: Critical and Comparative Essays (Hart, 2013) (with William Swadling).

He has written many articles on equity and trusts. He is an author of Underhill and Hayton: Law Relating to Trusts and Trustees 20th edn (LexisNexis Butterworths, 2022) (with Paul Matthews, Jonathan Harris and Sinéad Agnew) and Hayton & Mitchell: Text, Cases and Materials on the Law of Trusts and Equitable Remedies 14th edn (Sweet & Maxwell, 2015) (with Ben McFarlane). He has edited several essay collections, including Foundations of Charity (Hart, 2000) (with Sue Moody), Constructive and Resulting Trusts (Hart, 2010), Current Issues in Succession Law (Hart, 2016) (with Birke Häcker), and Pensions: Law, Policy and Practice (Hart, 2020) (with Sinéad Agnew and Paul Davies). 

He is an author of Law and Society in England, 1750-1950 2nd edn (Hart, 2019) (with William Cornish, Stephen Banks, Paul Mitchell and Rebecca Probert). With Paul Mitchell, he devised the Landmark Cases series of historical case studies, published by Hart, and they co-edited the first four volumes of the series, on Restitution (2006), Contract (2008), Tort (2010) and Equity (2012).

Some of his articles are online at: https://ssrn.com/author=2105148 .

Teaching summary

Charles Mitchell has taught courses on Contract, Tort, Unjust Enrichment, Property, Trusts, International and Commercial Trusts, Company, Insurance, Agency, and Commercial Remedies.

In 2014 and 2019 he won UCL Faculty of Laws Excellence Awards for Legal Teaching, based on LLB and LLM student votes and feedback.

He has supervised PhD theses on the following topics: testamentary promises, the history of undue influence and breach of fiduciary duty, trusts in Japan and Quebec, decision-making in pension trusts, attribution rules in unjust enrichment, unjust enrichment claims for failure of condition, unjust enrichment claims for mistake, the penalties doctrine in contract law, the contractual doctrine of duress, primary and secondary rights in private law, the regulation of civil society, the politics of the Charities Act 2006, and tort liability in the voluntary sector.


Charles Mitchell has been a Professor of Law at UCL since 2010. From 2013 to 2016 he was Vice Dean (Staffing) and then Deputy Dean of UCL Laws. In 2017 he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy and in 2019 he was appointed an Honorary Queen's Counsel.

Working as an independent consultant, he has advised on aspects of the law of unjust enrichment in several major cases: Caledonia North Sea Ltd v British Telecommunications plc 2002 SC (HL) 117 (Scots law of contribution, recompense and subrogation); Benedetti v Sawiris [2014] AC 938 (valuation of services); Littlewoods Retail Ltd v HMRC (No 2) [2018] AC 869 (valuation of the opportunity to use money); Test Claimants in the FII Group Litigation v HMRC [2022] AC 1 (limitation rules affecting claims founded on mistake of law); Test Claimants in the FII Group Litigation v HMRC [2021] 1 WLR 4354 (recovery of interest on mistaken tax payments, ‘netting off’ of gains and losses when quantifying enrichment, application of ‘direct provider’ rule).

Cases in which his work has been cited and discussed include: AIB Group (UK) plc v Mark Redler & Co [2015] AC 1503 (compensatory liability of defaulting trustees); Menelaou v Bank of Cyprus plc [2016] AC 176 (subrogation); Vodafone Ltd v Office of Communications [2020] QB 200 (counterfactual arguments against restitutionary liability of public bodies); Sim Poh Ping v Winsta Holding Pte Ltd [2020] 1 SLR 1199 (compensatory liability of defaulting fiduciaries); Sevilleja v Marex Financial Ltd [2021] AC 39 (reflective loss); Surrey CC v NHS Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group [2021] QB 896 (defeat of claims in unjust enrichment  by statutory rights); and Byers v Saudi National Bank [2022] 4 WLR 22 (liability for knowing receipt).