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Prof Charles Mitchell
  • Professor of Laws
  • Faculty of Laws
UCL Principal Supervisor

Charles Mitchell has degrees in Modern History and Law from Oxford and UCL. He worked at King’s College London and Oxford before returning to UCL in 2010. From 2013 to 2016 he was Vice Dean (Staffing) and then Deputy Dean of UCL Laws. In 2017 he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy. In 2019 he was appointed an Honorary Queen's Counsel.

Working as an independent consultant, he has advised on aspects of the law of unjust enrichment in several major cases: Caledonia North Sea Ltd v British Telecommunications plc 2002 SC (HL) 117 (Scots law of contribution, recompense and subrogation); Benedetti v Sawiris [2014] AC 938 (valuation of services); Littlewoods Retail Ltd v HMRC (No 2) [2018] AC 869 (valuation of the opportunity to use money); Test Claimants in the FII Group Litigation v HMRC [2020] UKSC 47 (limitation rules affecting claims founded on mistake of law).

His work has been cited in many cases, including Arthur v Attorney General of the Turks and Caicos Islands [2012] UKPC 30; Independent Trustee Services Ltd v GP Noble Trustees Ltd [2013] Ch 31; Pitt v Holt [2013] 2 AC 108; Petrodel Resources Ltd v Prest [2013] 2 AC 415; Benedetti v Sawiris [2014] AC 938; Williams v Central Bank of Nigeria [2014] AC 1189; Australian Financial Services and Leasing Pty Ltd v Hills Industries Ltd (2014) 253 CLR 560; Test Claimants in the FII Group Litigation v HMRC (No 1) [2015] STC 1471; AIB Group (UK) plc v Mark Redler & Co [2015] AC 1503; Relfo Ltd (in liq) v Varsani [2015] 1 BCLC 14; Investment Trust Companies (in liq) v HMRC [2015] STC 1280; Patel v Mirza [2015] Ch 271; Menelaou v Bank of Cyprus plc [2016] AC 176; International Energy Group Ltd v Zurich Insurance Plc UK [2016] AC 509; Rahmatullah v Ministry of Defence [2017] AC 649; Edwards Lifesciences LLC v Boston Scientific Scimed Inc [2018] FSR 30; Interactive Technology Corp Ltd v Ferster [2018] EWCA Civ 1594; RSA Insurance plc v Assicurazoni Generali SpA [2019] 1 All ER (Comm) 115; BMW Australia Ltd v Brewster (2019) 374 ALR 627; Vodafone Ltd v Office of Communications [2020] QB 200; Sim Poh Ping v Winsta Holding Pte Ltd [2020] SGCA 35; Sevilleja v Marex Financial Ltd [2020] 3 WLR 255.

Research Summary

Charles Mitchell’s main research interests are unjust enrichment, equity and trusts, and modern legal history.

In the field of unjust enrichment he has written many articles and two monographs: The Law of Contribution and Reimbursement (OUP, 2003) and Subrogation: Law and Practice (OUP, 2007) (with Stephen Watterson). He is also an author of Goff and Jones: The Law of Unjust Enrichment 9th edn (Sweet & Maxwell, 2016) (with Paul Mitchell and Stephen Watterson). He has edited several essay collections, including Philosophical Foundations of the Law of Unjust Enrichment (OUP, 2009) (with Robert Chambers and James Penner), Restitution of Overpaid Tax (Hart, 2013) (with Steven Elliott and Birke Häcker) and The Restatement Third, Restitution and Unjust Enrichment: Critical and Comparative Essays (Hart, 2013) (with William Swadling).

He has written many articles on equity and trusts. He is also an author of Underhill and Hayton: Law Relating to Trusts and Trustees 19th edn (LexisNexis Butterworths, 2016) (with David Hayton and Paul Matthews) and Hayton & Mitchell: Text, Cases and Materials on the Law of Trusts and Equitable Remedies 14th edn (Sweet & Maxwell, 2015) (with Ben McFarlane). He has edited several essay collections, including Foundations of Charity (Hart, 2000) (with Sue Moody), Constructive and Resulting Trusts (Hart, 2010), Current Issues in Succession Law (Hart, 2016) (with Birke Häcker), and Pensions: Law, Policy and Practice (Hart, 2020) (with Sinéad Agnew and Paul Davies). With Paul Davies he is currently organising a workshop on recent developments in offshore trusts law, which will take place at UCL in 2022.

He is an author of Law and Society in England, 1750-1950 2nd edn (Hart, 2019) (with William Cornish, Stephen Banks, Paul Mitchell and Rebecca Probert). With Paul Mitchell, he devised the Landmark Cases series of historical case studies, published by Hart, and they co-edited the first four volumes of the series, on Restitution (2006), Contract (2008), Tort (2010) and Equity (2012). With David Foster he is currently organising a workshop on the history of Equity in England, which will take place at UCL in 2022. 

Some of his articles are online at: https://ssrn.com/author=2105148 .

Teaching Summary

Charles Mitchell has taught courses on Contract, Tort, Unjust Enrichment, Property, Trusts, International and Commercial Trusts, Company, Insurance, Agency, and Commercial Remedies.

In 2014 and 2019 he won UCL Faculty of Laws Excellence Awards for Legal Teaching, based on LLB and LLM student votes and feedback.

He has supervised PhD theses on the following topics: testamentary promises, the history of undue influence and breach of fiduciary duty, trusts in Japan and Quebec, pension trusts, attribution rules in unjust enrichment, unjust enrichment claims for failure of condition, unjust enrichment claims for mistake, the penalties doctrine in contract law, the contractual doctrine of duress, primary and secondary rights in private law, the regulation of civil society, the politics of the Charities Act 2006, and tort liability in the voluntary sector.

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