Quantum meruit and quantum valebat
Quantum meruit means ‘the amount he deserves’ or ‘as much as he has earned’ and in most cases denotes a claim for a reasonable sum in respect of services supplied
Quantum valebat means ‘as much as it is worth’ and denotes a claim for a reasonable price in respect of goods supplied
A claim for quantum meruit does not usually arise if there is a valid contract between the parties to pay an agreed sum and the claimant must usually show that the defendant expressly or impliedly requested or freely accepted the services or goods in question. A fair and reasonable payment is arrived at by adopting general market rates. A quantum meruit claim may arise where there is:
- No fixed contractual price. This may be the case where negotiations have failed. Where work is carried out while negotiation as to the terms are ongoing but agreement is reached on the key terms, the contractor is entitled to be paid a reasonable sum for the work carried out
- Work outside a contract. Where there is a contract for specified work but the performing party does work outside the contract at the other party’s request, the performing party is entitled to be paid a reasonable sum for the work outside the contract
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