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Restitution is the recovery of money or property from a person who has been unjustly enriched by it. If, for example, person A pays money to person B under a contract which is later ruled to be unlawful, A has no action in breach of contract to recover the money, because there is no contract. He probably has no action in Tort, because it may be the case that no fault can be ascribed to B. However, if B has been unjustly enriched by the receipt of the money, then A will have an action in restitution.

Restitution is a relatively recent development in the UK, although it has a long history in other jurisdictions. Until recently, a claimant in cirumstances such as those described above would have had to rely on Equity to recover his money -- for example, he could argue that aresulting trust arose in his favour (see sinclair v brougham (1914)). For a discussion of this point, see TheoreticalBasisForResultingTrusts.