Restitution on Mistakes of Law
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About the project

The Singapore Academy of Law’s Law Reform Committee examined the contract law rule that money paid out under a mistake of law, rather than a mistake of fact, is not recoverable. It recommended that the rule should be abolished through an amendment to the Civil Law Act (Chapter 43, 1999 Revised Edition).

Project status: Completed

  • The report was published in April 2001.
  • The report was cited in Tan Sook Yee & Tang Hang Wu, “Equity, Trust and Restitution” (2001) 2 Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review of Singapore Cases [SAL Ann Rev] 198 at paragraph 12.39; Andrew Phang Boon Leong, “Contract Law” (2002) 3 SAL Ann Rev 122 at paragraph 9.53; and Yeo Tiong Min, “Restitution” (2002) 3 SAL Ann Rev 345 at paragraph 19.2.
  • It proved to be unnecessary for Parliament to consider acting on the report, as in 2002 in Management Corporation Strata Title Plan No 473 v De Beers Jewellery Pte Ltd [2002] SGCA 13, [2002] 1 SLR(R) 418, the Court of Appeal, following the lead taken by the United Kingdom House of Lords in Kleinwort Benson v Lincoln City Council [1998] UKHL 38, [1999] 2 AC 349, decided that it would abrogate the rule judicially.

Areas of law

Contract law
Restitution law


Report on Reforms to the Law of Restitution on Mistakes of Law

Click on the image above to view the report

Last updated 10 May 2019