Lecture 2: Some aspects of the intersection of the law of agency with the law of restitution

The interposition of agents in restitutionary fact patterns, especially on the recipient’s side of the equation, raises issues of quite acute difficulty. The difficulties attach to the legal position of both the agent and the principal, but the harder questions concern the liability of the principal. There are large pockets of venerable case law that are relevant to both types of protagonist, but at least in relation to the position of the principal, there are real doubts as to whether the thickets can be encouraged into orderly hedges. In the meanwhile, the emergence in England and Wales of a free-ranging principle of unjust enrichment has been laying waste to most of the existing vegetation in, and indeed the topography of, the restitutionary landscape. This paper explores the place of agency law in this territory.

Commentator: Dr Thomas Krebs

Chair: Professor Francis Reynolds

Peter Watts is a Professor of Law at the University of Auckland. He is the General Editor of Bowstead & Reynolds on Agency (20th ed, Sweet & Maxwell, 2014). His other books include Directors' Powers and Duties (2nd ed, LexisNexis, 2015) and Watts, Campbell and Hare (Company Law in New Zealand (2nd ed, LexisNexis, 2015). He is a barrister at Bankside Chambers in Auckland and a door tenant at Fountain Court Chambers, The Temple, London. He is a Queen's Counsel and a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand. In 2016, he is a Leverhulme Visiting Professor to the University of Oxford.


Three Leverhulme Trust Lectures are to be delivered at the University of Oxford in May 2016 by Professor Peter Watts.

Lecture 1: Wk 3 TT (10 May), The Cube, 5:30pm

Lecture 2: Wk 4 TT (17 May), The Cube, 5:30pm

Lecture 3: Wk 6 TT (31 May), The Cube, 5:30pm