Quantum Meruit In certain circumstances, a party may recover the reasonable value of goods or services provided in quantum form, even if a contract is subsequently unlawful or inconclusive. “The law does not imply a commitment to pay for services provided illegally under a contract expressly prohibited by law. But if the services provided by one party under a no-go contract were not in itself illegal and the other party does not act voluntarily on it, the first, as in the case of a quantum meruit, can recover for what the latter has actually received, although no recovery can be made on the contract. (Trumbo v. Bank of Berkeley (1947) 77 Cal.App.2d 704, 710). Early common law cases held that the performance of a contract should always take place. Whatever difficulties the contracting parties faced, they were absolutely responsible for their obligations.  In the 19th century, the courts developed a doctrine that contracts that were impossible to comply would be frustrated and would automatically end. In Taylor v Caldwell, Blackburn J found that when Surrey Gardens Music Hall burned down unexpectedly, the owners did not have to pay compensation to the company that had rented it for an extravagant performance because it was not indebted to any of the parties. One hypothesis that underlies all contracts (a “pre-condition case”) is that they can be executed. People would not normally be under contract to do something they knew would be impossible. Beyond the physical impossibility, the frustration might be that a treaty would become illegal, for example, when a war broke out and the government banned trade with a country at war, or perhaps if the whole purpose of an agreement was destroyed by another event, such as renting a space to attend a cancelled coronation parade.  But a contract is thwarted not only because a subsequent event makes the implementation of the agreement more difficult than expected, such as at Davis Contractors Ltd/Fareham UDC, where a developer unfortunately had to spend more time and money on work than he would be paid for due to an unforeseen shortage of labour and supplies.
The House of Lords rejected his claim to contracts in place for him to claim quantenmeruit.  As the doctrine of frustration is a matter of treaty construction, it can be drawn by so-called “force majeure” clauses.  Similarly, a contract may have a force majeure clause that would terminate a contract more easily than the Konstruktion common law. In The Super Servant Two, Wijsmuller instructed BV to lease a self-driving barge to J. Lauritzen A/S, who wanted to tow another boat from Japan to Rotterdam, but had a provision that the contract would be terminated in the event of an event that made it difficult to encounter “dangers or hazards and accidents of the sea”.