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Mistake in Contract Law and in Unjust Enrichment

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Chapter Summary

The theme of this chapter is that mistake in contract and mistake in unjust enrichment are different and should be retained as distinct and separate areas of the law. The law relating to which mistakes will prevent a contract from coming into being and which mistakes will make a contract void has developed in a confusing manner over a long period of time. The types of mistake which have been held to prevent formation of a contract because the parties cannot be said to have reached agreement are: mistakes as to identity of the other contracting party; mistakes as to the identity of the subject matter of the contract; and mistakes as to the terms of the contract. The accepted claim formulation for unjust enrichment in Canadian law is set down by Dickson J. in Rathwell v. Rathwell and approved by the Supreme Court of Canada in Pettkus v. Becker.

Keywords: Canadian law; contracting party; supreme court; unjust enrichment



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