A quasi-contract is a legal obligation imposed by law to prevent unjust enrichment. This is also called a contract implied in law or a constructive contract. A quasi-contract may be presumed by a court in the absence of a true contract, but not where a contract either express or implied in fact—covering the same subject matter already exists.
A quasi-contract (or implied-in-law contract or constructive contract) is a fictional contract recognized by a court. The notion of a quasi-contract can be traced to Roman law and is still a concept used in some modern legal systems. Quasi Contract laws are deduced from the Latin statement “Nemo debet locupletari ex aliena juncture”, which proclaims that no man should grow rich from another person’s loss. It was one of the central doctrines of Roman law.
Characteristics of a Quasi Contract
- It often involves monetary compensation.
- The right is enforced by law rather than the result of an agreement.
- It is based on the concept of equity, good conscience, justice, and principles of natural justice.
- The right does not apply to everyone but just to specific individuals. As a result, it has the appearance of a contractual obligation.
Contracts Under the Indian Contract Act, of 1872
The Indian Contract Act of 1872, Sections 68–72, outlines 5 scenarios where it may arise. Keep in mind that there is no genuine contractual relationship between the sides, yet the law enforces contractual obligations owing to the exceptional situations.
The main difference between them is that in the case of the latter, there is no exchange of offer, acceptance, or consideration between two or more parties. However, it is still legally enforceable. For example, if a package belonging to A is delivered to M, then M is legally obligated to return it to A. If M uses up the packaging contents for himself, then A has the right to sue him. In that case, the court can order M to reimburse A under Quasi-contract law.