The condictio quasi indebiti

Du Plessis, Jacques (2010)

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This essay focuses on something called the condictio quasi indebiti. This condictio is not well-known in South African law. In fact, it features only twice in the law reports: first, almost a century ago, in a judgment of De Villiers JP in Van Wijk’s Trustee v African Banking Corporation,1 and then, more recently, in a judgment of Harms JA in Bowman, De Wet and Du Plessis NNO v Fidelity Bank Ltd.2 Something this rare may either be so precious that it deserves to be saved from obscurity, or it may be so insignificant that it deserves to be consigned to the past. The challenge is then to determine whether there is indeed any need for recognising such a condictio in modern South African law. In furtherance of a methodology favoured by the Jubilar, the perspective adopted here will be historical, taking Roman sources as the point of departure, and then enquiring whether these sources provide insights that are useful for modern purposes.

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