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The law of unjust enrichment has been dogged by a persistent question: what explains the claimant’s entitlement to restitution from the defendant? For Professor Birks, the answer lay in appeal to the simple intuition that the payor of a mistaken payment was entitled to its return;1 but this view of the law, which principally focuses on the combination of some enrichment of the defendant and some vitiation of the claimant’s will, is not short of modern-day detractors.2 However, the leading alternatives fare little better, leaving us with a still-open question. In School Facility Management Ltd v Governing Body of Christ the King College3 we find the seeds of an answer: the express or implied conditions on which we act.
Christ the King College (“the College”) was a voluntary aided school maintained by the Isle of Wight Council (“the Council”). In February 2009, the Council agreed to