What was the problem with Palm Tree Justice? Language, justice, equity and enrichment

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review


Unjust enrichment arose as a twentieth- century phenomenon although it has roots apparently going back to the nineteenth century and draws significantly on case law back to the eighteenth century. According to the proponents of unjust enrichment, it traces back to Roman law.1 It has been considerably debated in the literature whether unjust enrichment is something new, a new way of summing up an underlying principle in the law, or the rediscovery of a principle that should have been inthelawallalongbuthadbecomedistorted.2 What is clear is that unjust enrichment has a deep relationship with the principles of equity. Whether this is by conceiving of it as a rationalization of equitable principles or something offering a functional alternativetoequity.3 The idea that it provides a rational basis for equity is predicated on the argument that equity otherwise lacks this rational nature in its own right. The argument for unjust enrichment as a superior functional alternative to equity is similarly predicated on an argument that equity lacks a rational or coherent basis.4
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRethinking Unjust Enrichment
Subtitle of host publicationHistory, Sociology, Doctrine and Theory
EditorsWarren Swain, Sagi Pearl
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191976353
ISBN (Print)9780192874146
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2023


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