When West Meets East: thinking big in Singapore over good faith in commercial contract law

Yong Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Singapore commercial contract law has taken an Asian perspective in respect of express terms of good faith in the negotiation of contract. In general, however, it adheres to the English contract law orthodoxy regarding good faith. More specifically, Singapore, like England, does not recognize a general duty or principle of good faith and it is reluctant to imply a duty of good faith into a contract. However, as a hub of international trade and a rising forum for commercial dispute resolution, Singapore will have a stronger need to reconcile the differences in good faith in contract law between the English/Commonwealth and the European-Asian legal traditions. Conventional wisdom and international commercial law instruments in this respect are not as helpful as one would expect for such a need. Instead, to an enlightening but limited extent, the “organizing principle” approach in Bhasin v Hrynew could be useful for setting up a framework for reconciling the differences. This framework could consist of an organising principle of (honouring) reasonable expectations, a duty of honesty, and a duty of fair dealing. The framework realistically concretises good faith into the three components, all of which are essentially objective and ascertainable in specific factual matrix and are well-recognised in both common law and civil law.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-362
Number of pages46
JournalJournal of Commonwealth Law
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2019


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