The High Court to consider the availability of quantum meruit in cases of contract repudiation

In mid-December 2018, the High Court of Australia granted special leave to appeal from the decision of the Victorian Court of Appeal in Mann v Paterson Constructions Pty Ltd [2018] VSCA 231.

We have previously prepared an update regarding the decision of the Victorian Court of Appeal in Mann v Paterson Constructions Pty Ltd [2018] VSCA 231. A copy of that update is available here.

In summary, the Court of Appeal held in that case that:

  • as held in Sopov v Kane Constructions Pty Ltd (No 2) (2009) 24 VR 510, a builder seeking a quantum meruit amount following acceptance of an owner’s repudiation of a building contract is entitled to recover the ‘fair and reasonable’ value of the benefit conferred on the owner by the work that the builder performed;

  • nothing has transpired in the nine years since Sopov v Kane that lessens the force of the observations made in that decision; and

  • it is for the High Court to determine if quantum meruit is to be declared to be unavailable as a matter of law.

The granting of special leave will provide an opportunity for the High Court to confirm whether the principles in Sopov v Kane remain correct, and the relevant legal principles in relation to quantum meruit.

We will provide a further update on this matter once the High Court provides its decision.

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