What is Quasi Contracts? Meaning, Features, Types

What is Quasi Contracts?

There are certain social relationships that give rise to various obligations to be performed by individuals which bring about the existence of a contract. Such obligations so arise are called quasi-contracts as they create some obligations resembling those created as per normal contracts.

It is an obligation imposed by law upon a person for the benefit of another even in the absence of an express contract. It is based on the principle of equity, (i.e., fairness, moral justice, or ethics) which means no person shall be allowed to unjustly enrich himself at the expense of another.

Such obligations are called quasi-contracts or implied contracts because the outcomes of such obligations resemble those created by a contract.

Quasi-contracts are contracts that are implied in law. Such implied contracts are not contracts in a pure sense. However, quasi-contracts are remedies devised by a court. A court applies when the legal requirements of the Contract Act, of 1872 do not exist but it would be grossly unjust to permit one party to benefit at the cost of the other.

Features of Quasi-contract

Salient features of a quasi-contract are as follows:

  • Quasi-contracts are not created through an agreement but these are imposed by the law.

  • These contracts do not create any obligation against the whole world, but they provide an obligation to a particular person or group of persons only, in whose regards the contractual obligation arises.

Types of Quasi Contract

There are various types of quasi-contracts that can be explained below:

Claim for Necessities Supplied by a Person Incompetent to Contracts

When a person is providing the necessities of life to another person who is incapable of entering into a contract, the person providing the necessities is entitled to the claim of that person’s property.

Reimbursement of Money Paid Which Was Done by Another

A person who has given some amount to another person then he is fully entitled to claim that reimbursement from that person provided that the payment has to be made for the protection of his
own interest.

Obligations of Persons Enjoying the Benefit of Non-gratuitous Acts

When a person does anything that is lawful and non-gratuitous and the person for whom it was done has enjoyed some benefits against it, then the person is bound to pay the compensation to that person
for the things which he has delivered.

Finder of Lost Goods

When any person has found something that is related to any other person then it is the legal obligation of the person to:

  • Take care of the property as if it was his property
  • Take appropriate action for its care
  • Restore the good to its original owner if the original owner is found.

Return of Goods Obtained Through Mistake or Coercion

It is the legal liability of the person to return the thing which has been delivered to him by mistake or under coercion. Every kind of payment in such cases must be returned back.

Distinction Between a Contract and Quasi-Contract

Points of DistinctionContractQuasi-Contract
PurposeA contract results from the will of the parties expressed with a view to creating an obligation.A quasi-contract is an obligation resembling that created by a contract.
AgreementA contract is an agreement.There is no agreement at all.
Essential ElementsThe contract has certain es-
essential elements.
Essentials for the formation of a contract are absent.
NatureIt is a full-fledged contract and is binding.A quasi-contract resembles a contract. It is not a full-fledged contract. It is an implied contract, but its results resemble those created by a contract.
Distinction Between a Contract and Quasi-Contract
  • Clarkson, K., Miller, R., Jentz, G., & Cross, F. (2014). Business Law: Text and Cases (11th ed.).

  • Keenan, D., & Riches, S. (2007). Business law. Harlow: Pearson Longman.

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