HONESTLY!? LIAR BEWARE!
What should come as no surprise to “normal folk” came as quite a shock to the legal profession and legal observers this past November.
In the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Bhasin v. Hrynew, 2014 SCC 71, Canada’s top court went way out on a limb to create a “new” legal obligation to act honestly and not deceitfully when involved in a contract with another person or company. What might have seemed like an obvious expectation has turned into big legal news. Large corporations and individuals alike will now have to deal faithfully and, yes, honestly with each other when involved in ongoing contracts.
“…a duty to perform contracts honestly will make the law more certain, more just and more in tune with reasonable commercial expectations”.
A bit of a head scratcher to me (pun intended). In the 40 years since I left law school I do not recall anyone seriously making a case for deceit and dishonesty when going about one’s business. Maybe I should get out more.
We will watch carefully as judges across Canada interpret this new law in upcoming cases.
For now, it is settled: No more crossing your fingers behind your back when you shake hands on a deal! Liar beware!
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