The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd


  • M. D. Chalmers
Reference work entry


A quasi-contract may be defined as a transaction or state of facts to which the law, independently of the volition of the parties, annexes an obligation similar to that, which would arise from a contract. The term, though a familiar one in Roman law, has only been recently adopted into English law. Yet a quasi-contract is clearly distinct from an implied contract, the term which was formerly used to cover both classes of obligations. When a man goes into a shop and orders goods, and nothing is said about the price, there is an implied contract to pay for them, for this is the intention of the parties. But the obligation of a principal in the absence of any agreement to indemnify his agent for anything done pursuant to his authority, is an instance of quasi-contract. The law annexes the obligation to the relationship between the parties.

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  1. Anson, W.R. 1879. On contracts. Book 6, Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. D. Chalmers
    • 1
  1. 1.