Quantum Meruit for services rendered in a three-party context: (Implied) contract, restitution, or unjust enrichment?
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This article considers when a claimant is entitled to recover (on a quantum meruit) for services rendered to the recipient of the services, where such recipient (or the claimant) has a contractual relatinship with a third party governing the performance of the services. Such three-party scenarios pose challenges for unjust enrichment theory. An alternative analysis, adopted in a recent decision of the High Court of Australia, uses what is essentially contractual reasoning to establish a quantum meruit. This article considers the competing approaches and concludes that the contractual approach is simpler, and more accurately reflects the reality of the parties' relationships and the legal concerns that need to be addressed.
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