Legal Dictionary

bad faith

Legal Definition of bad faith

  1. intent to deceive. A person who intentionally tries to deceive or mislead another in order to gain some advantage.

Definition of bad faith


  • (philosophy) from French mauvaise foi (literally, bad faith), coined by existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sarte.
  • bad + faith


bad faith (uncountable)

  1. (law) A malicious motive by a party in a lawsuit. This has an effect on the ability to maintain causes of action and obtain legal remedies.
  2. (law) Intent to deceive or mislead another to gain some advantage; dishonesty or fraud in a transaction (such as knowingly misrepresenting the quality of something that is being bought or sold).
  3. (philosophy) The existentialist concept of denying one's total freedom of will.

See also


Further reading

Bad faith (Latin: mala fides) is a legal concept in which a malicious motive on the part of a party in a lawsuit undermines their case. It has an effect on the ability to maintain causes of action and obtain legal remedies. Generally speaking, courts will not just look at the legal rights of parties in pursuing a transaction or a lawsuit, but will look behind the activity at the motives of the persons attempting to obtain the assistance of the court. If a court feels that the reasons behind the transaction or lawsuit have the effect of abusing the power of the law, or the court, it will generally deny a party the ability to rely on a legal remedy that they will otherwise be entitled to. It is related to the equitable powers of common law courts to look beyond the law.


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


1.     lex fori
2.     landed property
3.     salacious
4.     lex situs
5.     lex causae
6.     violent crime
7.     conscionable
8.     family court
9.     leasing
10.     public liability