Claims in quantum meruit are based in the law of restitution and the principle of unjust enrichment. Claims may arise in a variety of circumstances, including:-
- Where there is a contract which is silent on issues of payment;
- Where work commences prior to a binding contract (anticipated contracts);
- Where the contract has been made void, terminated, frustrated or is otherwise unenforceable; or
- Where there is no contract at all.
In a contract for the provision of services where no scale of remuneration is agreed, the law imposes an obligation to pay a reasonable sum (quantum meruit) for services rendered which were expressly or impliedly requested by the defendant.
Where there is no contract, quantum meruit operates within the law of unjust enrichment. It must be established that the defendant was enriched by receipt of the services. The court will generally value the quantum meruit as a reasonable sum by reference to an objective value of the enrichment.