A Passion For Justice ─ The Natural Law Foundations Of Lord Denning’s Thought And Work -- By: Andrew Phang

Journal: Global Journal of Classical Theology
Volume: GJCT 05:2 (Jan 2006)
Article: A Passion For Justice ─ The Natural Law Foundations Of Lord Denning’s Thought And Work
Author: Andrew Phang


A Passion For Justice ─
The Natural Law Foundations Of Lord Denning’s Thought And Work

(PART TWO)

Andrew Phang

Senior Counsel; Professor of Law, Singapore Management University. This Part concludes the essay, the first Part of which was published in the previous issue of the Journal.

II. Lord Denning’s Ethical And Religious Beliefs (Continued)

In The Law (Continued)

(3) Other Areas:

It will be seen that the basic (substantive) pattern underlying Denning’s judgments in the law of contract is replicated in other areas of the law.

The law relating to restitution has only recently begun to establish itself as a discrete topic.197 However, Lord Denning may be considered to have been one of the earliest exponents of the doctrine itself. Indeed, in an article in the Law Quarterly Review, he speaks explicitly about “unjust enrichment” in relation to the action at law for money had and received; Denning argued that such an action “was in fact a remedy for unjust enrichment” and that “[i]ts basis was the fact that the defendant had received money which in justice and equity belonged to the plaintiff.”198 This particular article, Denning tells us, “contains the material on which the statement [in Nelson v Larholt199] was based.”200 Nelson v Larholt201 is, in fact, now a leading case in the law of restitution,202 and the statement Lord Denning referred to203 is as follows:

“A man’s money is property which is protected by law. It may exist in various forms, such as coins, treasury notes, cash at bank, or cheques, or bills of exchange of which he is ‘the holder’ but, whatever its form, it is protected according to one uniform principle. If it is taken from the rightful owner, or, indeed, from the beneficial owner, without his authority, he can recover the money from any person into whose hands it can be traced, unless and until it reaches one who receives it in good faith and for value and without notice of the want of authority.”

Of interest, too, are the following extrajudicial observations by Denning, made as far back as 1953 with more (as it has turned out) than a hint of prophecy:

“The law of restitution is, I think, assured. It comprises all those cases whic...

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