Good Faith in Dutch Contract Law

Good Faith in Dutch Contract Law: What You Need to Know

Dutch contract law is known for its emphasis on good faith. This principle forms the backbone of Dutch contract law and is considered an essential element of every contract.

But what is good faith, and why is it so important in Dutch contract law? In this article, we`ll explore what good faith means according to Dutch law and how it affects contract formation, performance, and termination.

What is Good Faith?

Good faith is a term used to describe an actor`s honest and sincere intention to act in a just and appropriate manner. In other words, it refers to the moral obligation of parties to act in an open, honest, and fair manner when forming, performing, or terminating a contract.

Under Dutch law, good faith is considered a fundamental principle of legal relations. It is an overarching concept that governs the conduct of parties throughout a contract`s life cycle.

But what does this mean in practice? Let`s take a closer look.

Good Faith in Contract Formation

Good faith plays a crucial role in the formation of contracts under Dutch law. In general, parties are expected to negotiate the terms of a contract in an open, honest, and fair manner.

For example, if one party intentionally conceals or misrepresents a material fact, such as a product`s defects, during contract negotiations, they are not acting in good faith. This could result in the contract being voided or the non-breaching party being entitled to damages.

Good Faith in Contract Performance

Good faith also governs the performance of contracts. Parties must perform their obligations under the contract in an honest and sincere manner, adhering to the terms and conditions of the agreement.

If a party fails to perform its obligations as promised, this could constitute a breach of the contract. However, it`s essential to note that not all breaches are equal. A breach of contract committed with the intent to deceive or undermine the other party`s interests is considered a more severe breach than an unintentional breach.

Good Faith in Contract Termination

Finally, good faith also applies to the termination of contracts. Parties must act in good faith when terminating a contract without breaching the agreement`s terms and conditions.

For example, if a party terminates a contract without justification or adequate notice, they may be found to be acting in bad faith. This could result in the other party being entitled to damages or other remedies.


In conclusion, Dutch contract law places a high value on good faith. This principle governs every aspect of contract formation, performance, and termination.

As a party to a contract under Dutch law, it`s essential to act in good faith to avoid the potential consequences of breaching the agreement. If you`re unsure about how to act in good faith or whether a breach of contract has occurred, it`s best to seek the advice of an experienced Dutch contract law attorney.