What Are the Differences between a Quasi Contract and Promissory Estoppel

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If you are new to the legal world, you might be familiar with the terms quasi contract and promissory estoppel. Both concepts play an essential role in contract law, but they are two different legal theories with some distinct differences. Let`s take a closer look at each of these concepts and what sets them apart.

Quasi Contract

A quasi contract is also known as an implied-in-law contract or constructive contract. It`s a legal theory that allows a court to create a contractual obligation between two parties, even if there was no actual agreement in place. The idea behind this legal theory is to prevent one party from receiving unjust enrichment.

In a quasi contract, one party provides a benefit to another party, and the other party receives that benefit willingly. Although there is no actual contract between the two parties, the courts may enforce payment by the party receiving the benefit to prevent unjust enrichment. This is because the party providing the benefit expects to be compensated.

Promissory Estoppel

Promissory estoppel is a doctrine that is often used as a legal theory in contract law cases. It is also known as detrimental reliance. This legal theory arises when one party makes a promise to another party, and the other party relies on that promise to their detriment. If the party making the promise later reneges on that promise, the affected party may have a right to damages.

The key difference between a quasi contract and promissory estoppel is that a quasi contract arises when there is no actual agreement. Promissory estoppel, on the other hand, arises when there is a promise made, but the promise is not part of a formal agreement. A quasi contract is based on the assumption that one party has received a benefit that they should not receive without compensation. Promissory estoppel is based on the assumption that a party has been harmed by relying on a promise that was not kept.

Conclusion

In summary, a quasi contract and promissory estoppel are both legal doctrines that are used in contract law cases. Quasi contracts are used when there is no actual agreement between parties, and one party receives a benefit that they should not receive without compensation. Promissory estoppel, on the other hand, arises when a promise is made, but not part of a formal agreement, and where one party relies on that promise to their detriment. Understanding the differences between these two doctrines can be critical in determining the legal course of action in contract disputes.