The Discoverability of Mistakes of Law

Research output: Article


The “mistake of law” category of unjust enrichment might be a more obscure cause of action were it not for s.32(1)(c) of the Limitation Act 1980. That provision postpones the limitation period in cases of “mistake.” Recent landmark judgments have interpreted s.32(1)(c) to extend time for bringing actions in mistake of law until there has been an authoritative judicial pronouncement on the point of law in issue. This understanding of discoverability is arbitrary, jurisprudentially strained, and internally inconsistent. It gives rise to serious problems in doctrine and policy. The courts should revisit their jurisprudence and consider the more coherent understandings of the discoverability principle that others have previously advanced.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-137
JournalLloyd's Maritime & Commercial Law Quarterly
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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