A quasi-contract is a contract established by the court where there is no such official contract between the parties and there is a conflict over the payment of the goods or services supplied. Courts create quasi-contracts to prevent a person from being unjustly compensated or, if he does not deserve to do so, from benefiting from the circumstance.
A quasi-contract can provide less recovery than an implied-in-fact contract, or an 'implied-in-law' contract. This is because an implied-in-fact contract sets out in its entirety the terms of an arrangement, as originally intended by the parties, even if only in a verbal agreement. A party may be entitled to recover any anticipated income as a result of an implied-in-fact contract, as well as the cost of any labor and materials he may have laid down to complete the project. To prevent one party from being unjustly enriched, a quasi-contract will only allow as much recovery as necessary.
Under a practice that was referred to back then as indebitatus assumpsit, the history of quasi-contract can be followed back to the Middle Ages. The law dictated during that period that a defendant would receive a sum of money from the defendant, in an amount determined by the courts, as if the defendant had always agreed to pay the defendant for his goods or services. Indebitatus assumpsit was a tactic used by the courts to make one party pay another as if the two parties had formed a contract. The defendant's agreement was implied by the law to be bound by a contract that required compensation. In the early days of quasi-contract culture, such contracts were used to impose restitution obligations.
The word "unjust enrichment" refers to an individual wrongly receiving a benefit, whether by chance or as a consequence of the misfortune of another person. He has not paid or worked for the profit he has got, when one is unjustly rewarded, and it is therefore morally and ethically acceptable for him to return it. In order to prove unjust enrichment, five elements must be shown:
1. Enrichment may have been obtained by the defendant.
2. As a consequence of the enrichment, the claimant would have suffered a downside.
3. Enrichment must be considered to be unfair.
4. There must be a lack of explanation for the enrichment and the resulting drawback.
5. There must be an absence by the statute of a remedy granted to the complainant.
In a case of unjust enrichment, the recourse open to an applicant is restitution. In order to remedy an injustice, compensation is a payout to reimburse him for what the claimant was initially promised. Restitution may either come in the form of an order to pay the cash value of the gain earned by the defendant, or it can be ordered to return an object that is the target of the enrichment.
Quasi Contract requirements
There are some quasi-contract conditions for a judge to make a decision in this type of case. The first of the quasi-contract conditions is that the plaintiff must have supplied the defendant with a tangible good or service, with the impression that the complainant will obtain payment for that good or service. The second of the quasi-contract conditions is that the claimant must be able to state why it would be unreasonable for the defendant to obtain, without paying for, the product or service, and would thus be unlawfully enriched.