Good Faith in International Law
(2) UCL Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 2013, 40-63
Bonn Research Paper on Public International Law No. 2/2013
22 Pages Posted: 26 May 2013 Last revised: 29 Oct 2013
Date Written: May 24, 2013
As a ‘general principle,’ good faith forms part of the sources of international law. Still not widely examined in relation to rights and obligations, the aim here is to demonstrate the specific characteristics of the principle. In general international law rules such as pacta sunt servanda, abuse of rights, estoppel and acquiescence, and negotiation of disputes are grounded to some extent in good faith. In treaty interpretation, good faith has various manifestations from the time prior to signature through to interpretation. These are outlined here.
The contention is that good faith acts to mediate the effects of States’ rights in international law, in order to achieve acceptable results when competing interests exist. Fundamentally, good faith is a limitation of State sovereignty, albeit one that is necessary, as it protects other States and their trust and reliance in international law.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation