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Philosophical Foundations of the Law of Unjust Enrichment$
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Robert Chambers, Charles Mitchell, and James Penner

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199567751

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199567751.001.1

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The Meaning of Loss and Enrichment

The Meaning of Loss and Enrichment

(p.211) 8 The Meaning of Loss and Enrichment
Philosophical Foundations of the Law of Unjust Enrichment

James Edelman

Oxford University Press

The chapter explores the nature and meaning of enrichment in the law of unjust enrichment. It seeks symmetry in several aspects of the law. First, enrichment or gain should be the mirror of loss. In the law of wrongdoing, a gain made at the moment of the infringement of a claimant's rights should be assessed in the same way as a loss incurred at the moment of infringement of a claimant's rights. Second, the same approach to the basic measure of enrichment, or gain, received should be taken in the law of wrongs as the approach taken to it in the law of unjust enrichment. The chapter explains that just as an immediate loss to the claimant is an undesired consequence, the value of which is objectively assessed, so too an immediate gain or enrichment transferred from the claimant is a desired consequence, the value of which is objectively assessed. Different functional considerations govern the award of subsequent losses and the disgorgement of subsequent profits, the latter of which is properly treated as a different remedy.

Keywords:   unjust enrichment, enrichment, gain, loss, desired consequence, undesired consequence, objective valuation, substitutive damages, account of profits, disgorgement

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