Restitution Damages – damages awarded to a plaintiff when the defendant has been unjustly enriched at the plaintiff’s expense

restitution damages:

1. Damages awarded to a plaintiff when the defendant has been unjustly enriched at the plaintiff’s expense. [1]

     Excerpt from P.S. Atiyah’s An Introduction to the Law of Contract (3d ed. 1981):

     “Suppose A pays money to B in pursuance of a contract which turns out to be void, or perhaps is subsequently frustrated: clearly A cannot sue B for breach of contract. B’s promise to perform his side of the bargain is vitiated by the mistake or the frustrating event, so A’s lost expectations are losses which he must just put up with. But his claim to repayment of the money is evidently much stronger: for this money is a tangible loss to A and a tangible enrichment to B.  So in this sort of case the money will often be recoverable, though English lawyers think of this as a quasicontractual claim to recover money as on a total failure of consideration, and not a contractual claim to restitution damages. There is, however, no strong reason for refusing to call this a contractual action, any more than there is a reason for calling an action for damages quasi-contractual.” [2]

restitution – especially in cases of unjust enrichment (including fraud and theft), compensation paid by a criminal to a victim, not awarded in a civil trial, but ordered as part of a criminal sentence or as a condition of probation.


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[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black, Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-61300-4

[2]: P.S. Atiyah, An Introduction to the Law of Contract 312 (3d ed. 1981).



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