An amount claimed as reasonable recompense for a benefit conferred or work done at another’s request on the grounds that there was an implied promise to pay for it. Quantum meruit usually arises in building and construction matters. While usually, builders and contractors are paid according to contract or heads of agreement, a quantum meruit claim provides payment where work has been completed outside of these agreements, allowing the worker/s to avoid being unjustly deprived of fair pay for their labour.
There are four scenarios which would give rise to a quantum meruit claim:
- Where the contract does not specify a price
- Where work is performed outside of the contract
- Where the work is completed but the original contract no longer exists
- Where the work is completed under a head of agreement but payment cannot be claimed
If a worker can prove that work was performed under any of these scenarios, and additionally, that the amount claimed is a ‘reasonable sum’, they may be granted their quantum meruit claim.