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LEGAL DICTIONARY - LETTER Q


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QDOT TRUST
A trust used to postpone estate tax when more than the amount of the personal federal estate tax exemption is left to a non-U.S. citizen spouse by the other spouse. QDOT stands for qualified domestic trust.

QUANTUM
Latin: amount or extent.

QUANTUM MERUIT
Latin for "as much as he deserved," the actual value of services performed. Quantum meruit determines the amount to be paid for services when no contract exists or when there is doubt as to the amount due for the work performed but done under circumstances when payment could be expected. This may include a physician's emergency aid, legal work when there was no contract, or evaluating the amount due when outside forces cause a job to be terminated unexpectedly. If a person sues for payment for services in such circumstances the judge or jury will calculate the amount due based on time and usual rate of pay or the customary charge, based on quantum meruit by implying a contract existed.

QUASI-CONTRACT
An agreement that has the form of a Contract but is different in some technical way. For example, some writers would class a Recognizance as a quasi-contract.

QUASI-JUDICIAL
Refers to decisions made by administrative tribunals or government officials to which the rules of natural justice apply. In judicial decisions, the principles of natural justice always apply. But between routine government policy decisions and the traditional court forums lies a hybrid, sometimes called a "tribunal" or "administrative tribunal" and not necessarily presided by judges. These operate as a government policy-making body at times but also exercise a licensing, certifying, approval or other adjudication authority which is "judicial" because it directly affects the legal rights of a person. Some law teachers suggest that there is no such thing as a "quasi-judicial" decision or body; the body or decision is either judicial or not.

QUEEN'S COUNSEL
Senior barristers, who will usually be involved in serious or complex cases. Practicing as a QC is often referred to colloquially as being `in silk', and a QC as `a silk'. Most senior judges are appointed from practicing QCs.

QUORUM
The number of people who must be present at a meeting before business can be conducted. Without "quorum", decisions are invalid. Many organizations have a quorum requirement to prevent decisions being taken without a majority of members present.