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Charles Mitchell
Thu, 1 Nov 2007 22:17:47 +0000
The underrated undergraduate subject


Dear Gerhard

I believe that 'restitution' made it onto the list of core subjects in January 1995, when the Law Society and Council for Legal Education issued an announcement to the Law Schools, replacing the outlines of the then 6 core subjects with outlines of 7 core subjects (the new 7th subject was EU law), and rejigging the old outlines for contract and tort with:


The foundations governing the formation and enforceability of contracts, together with their performance and discharge, including the remedies available to parties and the doctrine of privity. An outline of the law of restitution.



The foundations of tortious liability (including vicarious and joint liability) and the remedies in respect of torts (including damages). There should be a sufficient study of the major torts (such as negligence, nuisance, intentional interference with the person and defamation) to exemplify the application of the general principles and the defences, and to familiarise the student with the principal torts and their constituent elements.

As far as I'm aware very few UK law schools pay any attention at all to the final sentence of Obligations I, and the very few who do stick an hour's lecture or two covering the whole field at the end of their contract lecture series. I am unaware of any attempts by the Law Society or CLE or anyone else to enforce the requirement. The politics driving the 1995 announcement were unease among the professions at the perceived shortcomings of law programmes delivered by post-1992 universities and others. Whatever the rights and wrongs of that, tweaking the syllabus by adding UE doesn't seem to have made much difference! There's a comment by Peter Birks.


Best wishes


Quoting Gerhard Dannemann

Is this a well kept secret, or am I the only one who has until today missed out on the fact that the Law Society and the Bar Council require all undergraduates to have been taught restitution? At least this is what their Joint Statement (p. 5) tells us.

"Obligations including Contract, Restitution and Tort" is commonly "translated" in to "Obligations I: Contract" and "Obligations II: Tort", with restitution being dropped in the process.

Funny enough, outside their joint declaration, even Bar Council and Law Society subscribe to this view.

Can anyone illuminate me on the story behind this?

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