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Mr Rajiv Shah's picture


Education CV


  • LLM (First Class Honours), University of Cambridge (2014)
  • Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honours), Law, University of Cambridge (2013)
  • Bachelor of Science (Second Class Honours Upper Division), Mathematics, University of Warwick (2010)

Scholarship and Prizes:

  • Travers Smith PhD Studentship in Private Law (2014-17)
  • Senior Harris Scholar, Downing College Cambridge (2013-16)
  • Clifford Chance CJ Hamson Prize for best performance in Aspects of Obligations, Cambridge Faculty of Law (2013)

Fields of research

Private Law, Restitution, Unjust Enrichment, Defences, Jurisprudence


An Intellectual History of Unjust Enrichment


My research is in two parts. The first part is historical. It traces the evolution of what we now call "unjust enrichment" claims from the 19th century to this day. It argues that the 19th century lawyers did engage in the normative foundations of the action for money had and received and that this was based on the fact that morally the money still belonged to the defendant. It also argues that during the 19th century the action had more in common with tort than it did with contract. It is only in the early 20th century that the implied contract theory emerged. It will also be argued that the basis for recovery under quantum meruit and the action for money paid had very little in common with the action for money had and received. The historical part concludes with an explanation for why all those claims came to be lumped together under the principle of unjust enrichment.

The second part is normative. Taking stock from the historical enquiry, it argues against the move to unify the subject under the head of "unjust enrichment". It will be argued that this is both under inclusive and over inclusive. Instead, the law ought to be organised (as it was in the 19th century) depending on what the type of the enrichment is. 


Professor Graham Virgo

Start Date

Oct 2014

End date

Jun 2017