n Annual Survey of South African Law - Unjustified enrichment

Volume 2007, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0376-4605



In 2007 (4) SA 16 (O), the facts were as follows : the first and second plaintiffs were a public school and its governing body, respectively (collectively, 'the school'). The first defendant was the member of the Provincial Government responsible for all educational matters in the Free State, while the second defendant was joined as the head of the Free State Provincial Government (collectively, 'the Department'). The school occupied premises owned by the Department by virtue of a licence (precario). Those premises were damaged by fire and repaired by the school. A claim for roughly two thirds of the cost of the repairs was successfully lodged with an insurance company, MF. The balance of the costs of repair was financed from other sources. MF then sought to recover the amount paid out from the Department on the basis of unjustified enrichment, relying on the doctrine of subrogation. An alternative plea of negotiorum gestio was abandoned.

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