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Civil Disputes: Mistaken Payments


At some point, you or someone you know might have paid money into the wrong account and to the wrong person. If you have, you may be able to make a civil law claim with our Civil Lawyers, or Commercial Litigation Lawyers.


Payment by Mistake

This type of mistake can arise in situations where:

§ Money paid into the incorrect bank account; or

§ Money paid pursuant to a contract that was not due and payable; or

§ Mistaken overpayments – money had and received.


If this has happened by mistake, at the detriment of the payer, and it enriches the payee, then the payer can make a claim unjust enrichment.


Overall, there are three (3) components for an unjust enrichment case, they are:

1. The enrichment; and

2. The enrichment being obtained at the plaintiff’s expense; and

3. The enrichment being unjust.


If you have received money by mistake and have a claim made against you, there are some defences available to help you avoid giving the money back. The two pre-dominant defences at civil law would include:

  • Good consideration where the payee gave a valuable item, usually a good or service in exchange for the payment.

  • The argument of changing a person’s position. This may be that they received the money in good faith, they acted in a manner to their detriment upon the receipt of the money and it would then be 'inequitable' to claim that mistakenly paid money back.

However these defences are complicated, and we strongly recommend seeking qualified legal advice.


If you require assistance with a mistaken payment, the experienced Civil Lawyers at Kapadia and Gordon lawyers can assist.


Please contact Kapadia and Gordon lawyers today on +61 402 52 6031 or via www.kapadialegal.com for more information.


This article is provided for the purposes of general information and is not legal advice. Please contact us directly for tailored specific legal advice.

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