Good faith

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"Bona fide" redirects here. For other uses, see Bona fide (disambiguation).
For Wikipedia's guideline on good faith edits, see Wikipedia:Assume good faith.

Good faith (Latin: bona fides) is fair and open dealing in human interactions. This is often thought to require sincere, honest intentions or belief, regardless of the outcome of an action. Some Latin phrases lose their literal meaning over centuries, this is not the case with bona fides, it is still widely used and interchangeable with its generally accepted modern day translation of good faith.[1] It is an important concept within law, philosophy, and business. The opposed concepts are bad faith, mala fides (duplicity) and perfidy (pretense). In contemporary English, the usage of bona fides (note the "s") is synonymous with credentials and identity. 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.

Bona fides[edit]

Bona fides is a Latin phrase meaning "in good faith", often used to mean "genuine" today. It is often misspelled: "bonafied", as if it were the past tense of an imaginary verb: "bonafy".[2] While today fides is concomitant to faith, a more technical translation of the Latin concept would be something like "reliability", in the sense of a trust between two parties for the potentiality of a relationship. In ancient Rome bona fides was always assumed by both sides, had implied responsibilities, and both legal and religious consequences if broken.[3] It was one of the original virtues to be considered a religious "divinity" in Roman paganism.


Main article: Good faith (law)

In law, bona fides denotes the mental and moral states of honesty and conviction regarding either the truth or the falsity of a proposition, or of a body of opinion; likewise regarding either the rectitude or the depravity of a line of conduct. As a legal concept bona fides is especially important in matters of equity (see Contract).[4][5] In contract law, the implied covenant of good faith is a general presumption that the parties to a contract will deal with each other honestly and fairly, so as not to destroy the right of the other party or parties to receive the benefits of the contract. In insurance law, the insurer's breach of the implied covenant may give rise to a legal liability known as insurance bad faith.
Most U.S. jurisdictions view breaches of implied covenants of good faith and fair dealing solely as a variant of breach of contract. Linguistically, in the U.S., American English usage of bona fides applies it as synonymous with credentials, professional background, and documents attesting a person's identity, which is not synonymous with bona fide occupational qualifications. More recently, other common law countries have begun to adopt good faith as a general principle. In the UK, the High Court in Yam Seng Pte Ltd v Int Trade Corp Ltd[6] expressed this preference. In Canada, the Supreme Court declared in Bhasin v. Hrynew that good faith was a general organising principle.[7]


In philosophy, the concept of good faith denotes sincere, honest intention or belief, regardless of the outcome of an action; the opposed concepts are bad faith, mala fides (duplicity) and perfidy (pretense).

Good faith employment efforts[edit]

Bona fide occupational qualifications (employer's good faith effort) are qualities or attributes that employers are allowed to consider when making decisions on the hiring and retaining employees. An employer's good faith effort is used as an evaluation tool by the jurisdiction during the annual program review process to determine an employer's level of commitment to the reduction goals of the CTR Law. United States federal and state governments are required by affirmative action (and other such laws) to look for disabled, minority, female, and veteran business enterprises when bidding public jobs. Good faith effort law varies from state to state and even within states depending on the awarding dept. of the government. Most good faith effort requires advertising in state certified publications, usually a trade and a focus publication. Other countries such as Canada have similar programs.

Good faith in Wikis[edit]

Public wikis, of which the collaborative encyclopedia Wikipedia (currently the largest and most popular general reference work on the Internet[8][9][10]) is the most well-known, depend on implicitly or explicitly assuming that its users are acting in good faith. Wikipedia's principle of "Assuming Good Faith" (often abbreviated AGF), has been a stated guideline since 2005.[11] It has been described as "the first principle in the Wikipedia etiquette".[12] According to one study of users' motives for contributing to Wikipedia, "while participants have both individualistic and collaborative motives, collaborative (altruistic) motives dominate."[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Garger, John. "Translating Arguendo and Bona Fide from Latin to English." Bright Hub Education. Bright Hub Inc., 5 Jan 2012. Retrieved 6 Feb 2015.
  2. ^ Brians, Paul. "Bonafied". Common Errors in English Usage. Washington State University, Nov 2013. Retrieved 06 Feb 2015.
  3. ^ Adams John P.THE ROMAN CONCEPT OF FIDES., May 2009. Retrieved Jan 2015.
  4. ^ "good faith". Retrieved 2008-03-03. 
  5. ^ Good Faith as an international principle of law
  6. ^ [2013] EWHC 111
  7. ^ (2014) SCC 71
  8. ^ "Five-year Traffic Statistics for". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  9. ^ Bill Tancer (2007-05-01). "Look Who's Using Wikipedia". Time. Retrieved 2007-12-01. The sheer volume of content [...] is partly responsible for the site's dominance as an online reference. When compared to the top 3,200 educational reference sites in the U.S., Wikipedia is #1, capturing 24.3% of all visits to the category  Cf. Bill Tancer (Global Manager, Hitwise), "Wikipedia, Search and School Homework", Hitwise: An Experian Company (Blog), March 1, 2007. Retrieved December 18, 2008.
  10. ^ Alex Woodson (2007-07-08). "Wikipedia remains go-to site for online news". Reuters. Retrieved 2007-12-16. Online encyclopedia Wikipedia has added about 20 million unique monthly visitors in the past year, making it the top online news and information destination, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. 
  11. ^ "Wikipedia:Assume good faith." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 13 May 2005, 20:361 UTC. <>
  12. ^ Goldspink, Chris (2007), "Normative self-regulation in the emergence of global network institutions: The Case of Wikipedia", Proceedings of the 13th ANZSYS Conference - Auckland, New Zealand, 2nd-5th December, 2007; Systemic Development: Local Solutions in a Global Environment
  13. ^ Wagner, C., Prasarnphanich, P. (2007) Innovating collaborative content creation: the role of altruism and wiki technology. Proceedings of 40th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 3rd-6th January, 2007, Hawaii

External links[edit]