Implied contract

An implied contract arises where the agreement is created by the actions of the parties involved and is not contained in written or spoken terms. This is in contrast to an express contract, where the agreement is contained in written or spoken terms.

An implied contract can be implied either by fact or by law.

1. Implied by fact: the factual circumstances imply that the party has reached an agreement in the absence of express terms, e.g. where a patient voluntarily attends a scheduled appointment with a doctor, his attendance implies his agreement to the doctor’s fee, and thus, a contract may be implied by fact.

2. Implied by law: the court implies a contract in light of circumstances suggesting that without this remedy, one party would receive unjust enrichment from the other party’s action, e.g. where a patient received emergency medical treatment while unconscious from a doctor, a contract may be implied by law to compensate the doctor.

In addition to entirely implied contracts, there is also the capacity for terms to be implied into a contract that appears to be express. These are known as implied terms.