By Tim Pickworth 

In a briefing that will be of particular interest to commercial parties involved in long-term, joint venture-type arrangements, Commercial Dispute Resolution specialist Tim Pickworth explains why a High Court decision that has implied a duty of good faith into a commercial contract is controversial, and considers some practical solutions.

The general rule to date…

English law does not generally recognise a duty to act in good faith when forming or performing contracts (albeit the concept is a familiar one in many civil law jurisdictions).

…and some significant exceptions

In the 2013 case of Yam Seng Pte Ltd v International Trade Corp Ltd [1], Mr Justice Legatt (as he then was) held, in the High Court, that a duty of good faith may be implied into certain types of commercial contracts. In the 2018 case of Al Nehayan v Kent [2] (in one of his final judgments before becoming Lord Justice and being elevated to the Court of Appeal) Legatt reiterated that a duty of good faith may be implied into ‘relational’ contracts.