High Court of Australia

Mann v Paterson Constructions Pty Ltd [2019] HCA 32

9 Oct 2019

Case Number: M197/2018

Before

Kiefel CJ, Bell, Gageler, Keane, Nettle, Gordon, Edelman JJ

Catchwords

Restitution – Unjust enrichment – Work and labour done – Where land owners and builder entered into contract to which Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 (Vic) applied – Where contract provided for progress payments at completion of stages – Where owners requested, and builder carried out, variations to plans and specifications in contract without giving written notice as required by s 38 of Act – Where owners repudiated contract after builder raised invoice claiming for variations – Where contract terminated by builder's acceptance of owners' repudiation – Whether s 38 of Act applied to limit amount recoverable by builder for variations – Whether builder entitled to recover in restitution as alternative to claim in damages for breach of contract – Whether contract price operated as ceiling on amount recoverable by way of restitution.

Words and phrases – "accrued rights", "alternative restitutionary remedy", "common counts", "completed stage", "contract price ceiling", "contractual incentives", "domestic building contract", "failure of basis", "failure of consideration", "limit on recovery", "measure of restitution", "notice", "primary and secondary obligations", "principle of legality", "protective provisions", "qualifying or vitiating factor", "quantum meruit", "quasi-contractual obligation", "repudiation", "restitution", "subjective devaluation", "unjust enrichment", "variations", "work and labour done".

Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 (Vic) – ss 1, 3, 4, 16, 27, 38, 39, 53, 132.
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