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Mr Samuel Bannister

Postgraduate Researcher

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Postgraduate Researcher in the Durham Law School  


Sam is a final-year PhD candidate and Part-Time Tutor in the Law School. After graduating in Law from Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge in 2017, he first came to Durham to study for his LLM, where he received awards for both the best General LLM mark and best Dissertation. Alongside his current studies, Sam is a research assistant to Dr Andreas Televantos, University of Oxford, questioning to what extent Regency era English law facilitated trade before the advent of general incorporation and modern securities law. He also works as a Postgraduate Student Ambassador and was from 2018-2020 the Team Lead for Café Politique at the Ustinov Global Citizenship Programme. He is a grateful recipient of the Durham Law School Studentship. 


Sam is interested in unjust enrichment and its extension into the domestic context. His LLM dissertation was titled “Argument to Obsoletion: The Relationship Between Knowing Receipt and Unjust Enrichment” and considered whether unjust enrichment and knowing receipt could be 'fused'. Sam is broadly interested in how unjust enrichment - hitherto considered a commercial law doctrine - could offer insights into domestic and family law problems.

Sam's current research involves the use of unjust enrichment in the cohabitation context. The current law on cohabitation is historically heavily criticised area, leaning traditionally in favour of those in a more powerful economic position and devaluing domestic contributions including childcare and homemaking. Sam's thesis argues that unjust enrichment, as a doctrine focused on restitution of benefits 'unjustly' recieved at the expense of the claimant, could provide a useful framework for evaluating claims arising on cohabitation relationship breakdown. This would further test the boundaries of the youthful doctrine of unjust enrichment and its interaction with other areas of law. Sam is supervised by Dr Andy Hayward and Dr Johanna Jacques. 

Research interests

  • Trusts Law
  • Land Law
  • Unjust Enrichment
  • Restitution


Journal Article

  • Bannister, S (2021). Over-Acquiring and Under-Quantifying: Continuing Issues with the Common Intention Constructive Trust. Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 2: 222-229.
  • Bannister, S (2021). Domestic Contributions as Unjust Enrichments: Commodifying Love? Child and Family Law Quarterly 33(3): 257-274.


  • Bannister, S (2021), The Normative Significance of Intention for Asset Division in Cohabiting Relationships, Society of Legal Scholars Annual Conference. Durham.
  • Bannister, S (2021), Claims for Homemaking and Unpaid Caregiving: Gifts, Love and Mercenary Considerations, Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference. Cardiff.
  • Bannister, S (2021), Comparing the Significance of Intention at Cohabitation Relationship Breakdown in Common Law Jurisdictions, Association of Law, Property and Society Virtual 24-Hour Conference.
  • Bannister, S (2021), Commodifying Domestic Work in the Cohabitation Context? The Common Intention Constructive Trust 50 Years On, Durham Law School PGR Conference. Durham.