Legal Dictionary

good faith

Legal Definition of good faith


Definition of good faith


    Translated from Latin bonā fide ("in good faith"), the ablative of bona fides ("good faith"), between 1890 and 1895.


good faith (uncountable)

  1. Good, honest intentions, even if producing unfortunate results.

    He made a mistake, but acted in good faith.
    Although this behavior may look suspicious, we should assume good faith.


good faith (comparative more good faith, superlative most good faith)

  1. Having or done with good, honest intentions; well-intentioned.

    A good faith buyer.
    A good faith attempt.

  2. Presuming that all parties to a discussion are honest and intend to act in a fair and appropriate manner.

    Good faith bargaining.

Related terms

  1. bona fide



Further reading

Good faith, or in Latin bona fides (bona fide means "in good faith"), is good, honest intention (even if producing unfortunate results) or belief. In law, it is the mental and moral state of honesty, conviction as to the truth or falsehood of a proposition or body of opinion, or as to the rectitude or depravity of a line of conduct. This concept is important in law, especially equitable matters.

In contemporary English, "bona fides" is sometimes used as a synonym for credentials, background, or documentation of a person's identity. "Show me your bona fides" can mean: Why should I trust you (your good faith in this matter)? Tell me who you are. In this sense, the phrase is sometimes used in job advertisements, and should not be confused with the bona fide occupational qualifications or the employer's good faith effort, as described below.

Source: Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


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