Under certain circumstances, a person may receive a benefit to which the law regards another person as better entitled, or for which the law considers he should pay to the other person, even though there is no contract between the parties. Such relationships are termed quasi-contracts, because, although there is no contract or agreement between the parties, they are put in the same position as if there were a contract between them.
A quasi-contract rests on the ground of equity that a person shall not be allowed to enrich himself unjustly at the expense of another. The principle of unjust enrichment requires:
- That the defendant has been ‘enriched’ by the receipt of a ‘benefit’
- That this enrichment is at the expense of the plaintiff, and
- That the retention of the enrichment is unjust.
Law of quasi-contracts is also known as the law of restitution. Strictly speaking, a quasi-contract is not a contract at all. A contract is intentionally entered into. A quasi-contract, on the other hand, is created by law.