Judgment No. 1195
THE COMPLAINT IS DISMISSED.
"It is a general principle of law that any sum paid on a mistaken assumption of fact is recoverable. And since the complainant received payment on the assumption that her husband was her dependant and since that assumption later proved to be mistaken, the sums she received are, according to that principle, recoverable."
general principle; recovery of overpayment; family allowance; refund; right
The complainant having received undue payment, the Union claimed a refund. The complainant challenges this on the grounds that "because of prescription the debt has become unenforceable. There is indeed a widely recognised principle that lapse of time may extinguish an obligation, but the difficulty here is that the Union's rules set no time limit for such extinctive prescription." However the Tribunal holds that the time between the payment of the material sums and the Union's request for their repayment "was not long enough to warrant declaring the undue payments irrecoverable. Not only is the period of extinctive prescription much longer in most national systems of law, but the complainant pleads no personal difficulty or hardship in making repayment: the Union is not claiming lump-sum reimbursement but is spreading it over eighteen months."
time limit; reasonable time; recovery of overpayment; domestic law; refund; debt