good faith [English]

Other Languages

InterPARES Definition

n. ~ Honest dealings, implying a lack of deceit in purpose, faithfulness to duty or obligation, and observance of generally accepted practices, without intent to defraud or to seek unfair advantage.

General Notes

Observance of 'generally accepted practices' includes social customs appropriate for a given scenario. It suggests that an individual acting in good faith will not game the system by taking actions that subvert common, often implicit, expectations. 'Good faith' is sometimes synonymous with bona fides, although in US English that term refers to an individual's credentials. Good faith is the antithesis of bad faith, a dishonest purpose or intent, untrustworthy performance, disregard of standards of practice, or attempt for unfair advantage.

Other Definitions

  • Ballentine 2010 (†332 s.v. "good faith"): n. ~ 1. Fairness and equity. The antithesis of fraud and deceit. Acting in the absence of circumstances placing a man of ordinary prudence on inquiry. – 2. Acting with a sincere belief that the accomplishment intended is not unlawful or harmful to another. – 3. Acting in the belief that a prudent and sensible man would hold in the ordinary conduct of his own business affairs. – 4. Absence of improper motive and of a negligent disregard of the rights of others. – 5. Acting without culpable negligence or a willful disregard of the rights of others and in the honest and reasonable belief that the act is rightful. [Notes omitted.]
  • Wex 2014 (†500 s.v. "good faith"): A term that generally describes honest dealing. Depending on the exact setting, good faith may require an honest belief or purpose, faithful performance of duties, observance of fair dealing standards, or an absence of fraudulent intent.


  • Mancuso 2013B (†367 3): A duty, rule and/or obligation, which, if shown by a party, is often rewarded by law. (†402)
  • OED 3rd (CD) 2004 (†499 s.v. "faith"): 11. good faith, bad faith = L. bona, mala fides, in which the primary notion seems to have been the objective aspect of confidence well or ill bestowed. . . . ¶ a. good faith: fidelity, loyalty [the quality of fulfilling one's trust; faithfulness...]; esp. honesty of intention in entering into engagement, sincerity in professions, bona fides. ¶ b. bad faith: faithlessness, treachery, intent to deceive. (†767)
  • Wikipedia (†387 s.v. "good faith (law)"): In contract law, the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing is a general presumption that the parties to a contract will deal with each other honestly, fairly, and in good faith, so as to not destroy the right of the other party or parties to receive the benefits of the contract. (†403)