A service provider, who provides services, for example a builder under a construction contract, has the right to be paid for those services pursuant to the terms of the contract. However, where that service provider cannot make a claim for payment pursuant to a contract they have the right to make a quantum meruit claim instead.
Quantum meruit claims are founded on the idea that it is unjust for a party to receive a benefit (i.e. services rendered) without paying for such a benefit. Accordingly, the party who performed the work or provided the benefit is entitled to make a claim for the reasonable value of the services provided or work completed.
Before making a quantum meruit claim ensure that there is no contract in place. Making a claim for breach of contract will usually be simpler and more cost effective as there is no need to prove the existence of an agreement or contract.
A contract may not be in place in the following circumstances:
- there was a contract but it has since been made void, terminated, frustrated or is otherwise unenforceable;
- there is a contract in place but the client has requested further works outside of the contract; and, or
- where the negotiation of the contract is ongoing but for whatever reason, work has commenced.
The following must be proved in order to be successful in a quantum meruit claim:
- that work has been performed and completed satisfactorily; and
- that the service provider has suffered loss (i.e. non-payment). The service provider may only claim damages in the amount of the reasonable value of the work completed.
If you have received a quantum meruit claim or have undertaken work and not been paid contact Walker & George for assistance.