Dusty Phrases

Hi! Welcome to “Dusty Phrases.” You will find below an ancient phrase in one language or another, along with its English translation. You may also find the power to inspire your friends or provoke dread among your enemies.

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Pacta sunt servanda


Agreements must be kept

This Latin phrase is a legal term which expresses an idea at the very heart of modern society. From wiki:

Pacta sunt servandaLatin for “agreements must be kept”, is a brocard and a fundamental principle of law. According to Hans Wehberg, a professor of international law, “few rules for the ordering of Society have such a deep moral and religious influence” as this principle.

In its most common sense, the principle refers to private contracts and prescribes that the provisions, i.e. clauses, of a contract are law between the parties to the contract, and therefore implies that neglect of their respective obligations is a violation of the contract. The first known expression of the brocard is in the writings of the canonist Cardinal Hostiensis from the 13th century AD, which were published in the 16th.

In both civil law and common law jurisdictions, the principle is related to the general principle of correct behavior in commerce, including the assumption of good faith. While most jurisdictions in the world have some form of good faith within their legal systems, there exists debate as to how good faith should be evaluated and measured. For example, in the United States—a common law jurisdiction—the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing exists in all commercial contracts.

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