Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Restitution Definition:

The return to a rightful owner of a thing wrongfully taken.

Related Terms: Restitutio In Integrum

To be restored what was lost.

Under ancient English common law, when a party enforced a court judgement and then that judgment was overturned on appeal, the appellant could ask the appeal court for "restitution", or financial compensation placing that appellant in the same position as if the original legal decision had not been enforced.

A new strain of common law has also developed a distinct doctrine of restitution, closely associated with unjust enrichment, where a person deprived of something of value belonging to them, can ask a court to order "restitution".

A good example is asking a court to reverse or correct a payment made in error.

See also restitutioin integrum.


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