Restitution and the Rescue of Life

  • Mitchell McInnes


The author argues that restitutionary relief should be available to life rescuers. Analyzed in terms of the Canadian principle of unjust enrichment, it can be said that a victim receives an enrichment and a rescuer suffers a corresponding deprivation when there is no juristic reason for the enrichment. Policy considerations and precedent also favour the recognition of a right of recovery in limited circumstances. A rescuer's measure of relief should generally be restricted to reimbursement of his expenses, though a professional should also be entitled to remuneration for his services. Policy considerations militate against the availability of privately financed rewards, and against compensation for losses and injuries.