Bona Fides According to Lawyers 

Are we – humans – nice?

Rutger Bregman, the author of the book “Humankind: A hopeful history” would literally say “Most people, deep down, are pretty decent/nice.” On the other hand, the common legal enthusiast would hesitate at first. However, the answer would be “It depends”.


Depends on what?

Bregman strongly believes that “Some things are true whether you believe in them or not. Water boils at 100°C. Smoking kills. President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on 22 November 1963. Other things have the potential to be true, if we believe in them.”

Exactly! Some things might be true if people are guided by bona fides (in “good faith” from Latin). This general legal principle finds application in various areas of law, but in particular it affects the contractual relationships.

Apart from being a legal obligation to comply with, any interested person before reaching an agreement has in mind (at least) two things:

  • The benefits in kind or cash, and/ or
  • The behavior of the other party.

That being said, our human nature (deep down) expects from others to behave in good faith. However, the law – unlike the man –  is not subjective, nor emotional, and has no expectations. It clearly states its purpose and objectives, which in this case are: the expressed determination to enter into a contract and perform its obligations. 

Ultimately, we get what we expect to get (citing Bregman once again). Therefore if you are passionate about expanding your latin vocabulary you can click here. 

Feel free to share with Legit your opinion on the book (if you read it), and anytime the feedback on our blog posts.  

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