Quasi Contract

Quasi-Contract in the United States

Quasi Contract Definition

A liability similar to that created by contract, but not really arising by the consent of the parties. Quasi contracts are said to be founded in general:

  • On a record, as the liability on a judgment.
  • On a statutory, official, or customary duty, as the obligation of a husband for necessaries furnished his wife, even against his orders; or the liability of a vessel for half pilotage on refusing the first pilot offering himself. 2 Wall. (U. S.) 450.
  • On the doctrine that no one shall be permitted to enrich himself unjustly at the expense of another; as the liability of an infant to pay for necessaries (141 Mass. 530), or the liability to repay money paid by mistake (Keener, Quasi Cont. 16).

The distinction between “quasi contract” and “implied contract” appears to be one of degree, rather than of principle. It has been said that implied contract extends to those cases where there was an intent to contract, or at least no intent not to contract; but in many cases commonly assigned to implied contracts, the only evidence of intent to contract is in the imputed knowledge that the law would impose a given liability, and this element is absent from but few quasi contracts. On the other hand, the test of definite intention not to contract would exclude many liabilities properly classified as quasi contractual, for example, that for money paid by mistake. It may be said, generally, that quasi contracts embrace those cases where there was a positive intention not to contract, and cases where there was no intent to contract, and the party was more remote from any inferred intent than in cases of implied contract, but the exact line of demarcation cannot, in the present state of legal nomenclature, be drawn. (1)

Quasi-Contract in the United States

Both express and implied contracts embody an actual agreement of the parties. A quasi-contract, by contrast, is an obligation said to be ‘‘imposed by law” in order to avoid unjust enrichment of one person at the expense of another. In fact, a quasi-contract is not a contract at all; it is a fiction that the courts created to prevent injustice. Suppose, for example, that a carpenter mistakenly believes you have hired him to repair your porch; in fact, it is your neighbor who has hired him. One Saturday morning he arrives at your doorstep and begins to work. Rather than stop him, you let him proceed, pleased at the prospect of having your porch fixed for free (since you have never talked to the carpenter, you figure you need not pay his bill). Although it is true there is no contract, the law implies a contract for the value of the work. (2)

Quasi-Contract meaning

A quasi-contract is the legal act of a person, by which he obligates himself towards another without any agreement between them. For example, a physician who treats an unconscious patient at the scene of an accident will have an action in quasi-contract for the cost of her services. See Andrews v. O’Grady, 44 Misc.2d 28, 252 NYS.2d 814, 817.

Quasi Contract in Foreign Legal Encyclopedias

For starting research in the law of a foreign country:

Link Description
Quasi Contract Quasi Contract in the World Legal Encyclopedia.
Quasi Contract Quasi Contract in the European Legal Encyclopedia.
Quasi Contract Quasi Contract in the Asian Legal Encyclopedia.
Quasi Contract Quasi Contract in the UK Legal Encyclopedia.
Quasi Contract Quasi Contract in the Australian Legal Encyclopedia.

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Basic Meaning of Quasi Contract

Quasi Contract means: a fictional contract created or implied by a court for a person who is unable to contract for himself (e.g., medical care, death); an obligation which law creates in the absence of agreement; is invoked by courts where there is unjust enrichment.



  1. This definition of Quasi Contract is based on The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary .
  2. “Business and the Legal Environment”, by Don Mayer, Daniel M. Warner and George J. Siedel.

See Also

Quasi Contract: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Quasi Contract. This part provides references, in relation to Quasi Contract, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Quasi Contract by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Quasi Contract and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Quasi Contract or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Quasi Contract and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Quasi Contract. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Quasi Contract should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Quasi Contract when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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