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Sumpter v Hedges, [1898] 1 QB 673

Facts:

Contract to build houses. P did part of the work then abandoned K. D finished work. P sues for money for part work

Ratio:

When a contract is abandoned after part performance, the party who abandoned the contract can only recover on quantum meruit for the work already done if: The circumstances give the other party an option to take or not take the benefit of the work done, thus creating an inference of a new contract.

Analysis:

It was argued that P should be able to recover for the work he did on quantum meruit.
**For that to be so there must be evidence of a fresh contract to pay for the work already done.

Munro v Butt – 1858
**Unless a building owner does something from which a new contract can be inferred to pay for the work already done, the P in such a case cannot recover on a quantum meruit.

If the P had just broke the contract (an not abandoned it) and then D proceeded to finish the work, the P might be able to sue for quantum merit. Where the circumstances give no option (as to take to benefit of the work done) then there is no inference of a new contract


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