Communities and Collections

Incontrovertible benefits and the Canadian law of restitution

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Introduction: Historically, the common law's attitude towards one who mistakenly provided non-monetary benefits to another, who neither requested nor acquiesced in their conferment, was tight-fisted and fiercely individualistic. \"One cleans another's shoes; what can the other do but put them on?\" And though they grow ever softer, the voices of jurists long since passed do still echo about in the halls of justice. Fortunately, a new school of thought is emerging which questions the merits of the traditional view and the quality of justice which flows from it; and which calls for the availability of restitutionary relief in circumstances where an \"incontrovertible benefit\" has been received. While at first blush many Canadian authorities appear to rather summarily reject the notion that an incontrovertible benefit can or should give rise to relief, it will be shown that the brunt of that hostility is unfounded. An analysis of the case-law reveals the incontrovertible-benefit concept to be supported by, or at least compatible with, almost all of the reported decisions in the area in both reasoning and result. An analysis of the principles involved yields the conclusion that the time has come for the concept to be accepted into the Canadian law of restitution.

  • Date created
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
  • DOI
  • License
    © 1990 Mitchell McInnes et al. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
  • Language
  • Citation for previous publication
    • McInnes, M. (1990). Incontrovertible benefits and the Canadian law of restitution. Advocates' Quarterly, 12(3), 323-366. Retrieved from
  • Link to related item