Change of position

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Change of position is a defense to a claim of unjust enrichment, or for restitution. Ordinarily, someone who has been unjustly enriched at the expense of another is strictly liable to disgorge his gains. However, a "change of position" defense operates where it would be inequitable to compel him to make restitution.

In English law, explicit recognition of the defence in response to an unjust enrichment claim was only first made in Lipkin Gorman v Karpnale Ltd [1991] 2 AC 548.

This defence was discussed in Ireland in the case of Murphy v Attorney General [1982] IR 241.



  • Charles Mitchell, 'Change of Position: the developing law' [2005] LMCLQ 168
  • Andrew Burrows, James Edelman and Ewan McKendrick, Cases and Materials on the Law of Restitution (2007) 2nd Ed., Oxford University Press, pp.762-804

wtf - no reference to physical movement?