This Article examines the role of unjust enrichment in substantive and remedial restitution as one option available to the movement that seeks to secure reparations for the descendants of the millions who were enslaved, transported from the African continent, and dispersed throughout the Americas and Europe. The reparations movement also seeks fitting remedies for the continuing depredations imposed upon people of African descent in the years that have followed the abolition of slavery. The substantive and remedial law of restitution, particularly the concepts of unjust enrichment and the remedy of constructive trust, provide particularly apt vehicles for reparations claims.
After exploring the role of reparations litigation in the ongoing international effort to redress the continuing inequality generated by the transatlantic slave trade, this Article presents the unjust enrichment claims raised in a reparations lawsuit typical of those currently underway in United States courts. An overview of unjust enrichment and its legal lineage follows. The Article then concludes after a brief examination of unjust enrichment remedies.
81 Or. L. Rev. 771 (2002)