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Pacta sunt servanda (Latin for "agreements must be kept"[1]), is a brocard, a basic principle of civil law and of international law.

In its most common sense, the principle refers to private contracts, stressing that contained clauses are law between the parties, and implies that nonfulfillment of respective obligations is a breach of the pact.

In civil law jurisdictions this principle is related to the general principle of correct behavior in commercial practice — including the assumption of good faith — is a requirement for the efficacy of the whole system, so the eventual disorder is sometimes punished by the law of some systems even without any direct penalty incurred by any of the parties. However, common law jurisdictions usually do not have the principle of good faith in commercial contracts, therefore it is inappropriate to state that pacta sunt servanda includes the principle of good faith.

With reference to international agreements, "every treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith."[2] Pacta sunt servanda is related to good faith, while pacta sunt servanda does not equate with good faith. This entitles states to require that obligations be respected and to rely upon the obligations being respected. This good faith basis of treaties implies that a party to the treaty cannot invoke provisions of its municipal (domestic) law as justification for a failure to perform. However, with regards to the Vienna Convention and the UNIDROIT Principles it should be kept in mind that these are heavily influenced by civil law jurisdictions. To derive from these sources that pacta sunt servanda includes the principle of good faith is therefore incorrect.

The only limit to pacta sunt servanda are the peremptory norms of general international law, called jus cogens (compelling law). The legal principle clausula rebus sic stantibus, part of customary international law, also allows for treaty obligations to be unfulfilled due to a compelling change in circumstances.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Black's Law Dictionary (8th ed. 2004)
  2. ^ From the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, signed at Vienna on May 23, 1969, entered into force on January 27, 1980, art. 26, and the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties between States and International Organizations or between International Organizations, signed at Vienna on March 21, 1986, not yet entered into force, art. 26.


External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacta_sunt_servanda — Please support Wikipedia.
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242 news items

Crónica Global
Mon, 18 Aug 2014 01:11:19 -0700

Oriol Junqueras explica este principio con "los acuerdos están para cumplirlos, no para especular con ellos frívolamente". Así que la frase está efectivamente bien escrita y además bien entendida, pero si la miramos un poco más de cerca y, por ejemplo, ...
The Federalist
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 04:20:18 -0700

The most important rule of international law is “pacta sunt servanda”—agreements must be kept. When the United States, or any nation, becomes a party to a treaty, it promises to obey the provisions of the treaty as a legally binding commitment ...
Indian Country Today Media Network
Fri, 01 Aug 2014 09:06:56 -0700

“We called it Pacta Sunt Servanda. The colonists call it Oklahoma.” The attacks on 9/11 kept on giving for Al Qaeda when New York Post reported the cancer toll among responders to the terrorist attack on 9-11 has broken above 2,500, up from 1,140 last ...

World Politics Journal

World Politics Journal
Fri, 08 Aug 2014 12:07:30 -0700

This might be deduced either from “pacta sunt servanda”, or from the notion that states enjoy a legal personality different from the ones of the human beings member of a given regime or government14. For instance, an old agreement concluded between the ...
Air Cargo News.com
Wed, 06 Aug 2014 21:41:15 -0700

... communist regime over the constitutional Laotian monarchy, it continues to be an architectural gem in the skyline of Vientiane, and a reminder to the U.S. government that “pacta sunt servanda” applies only where such contracts have actually been ...
Mondaq News Alerts (registration)
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 07:15:00 -0700

... mission under the conditions mentioned above, we deem that such right could be validly transferred (in total or in part) to the employee on the base of an assignment agreement executed by the parties by virtue of the principle of law "pacta sunt ...
International Law Office
Tue, 29 Jul 2014 07:37:30 -0700

As for the second question, the ECJ ruled that as the European Union is not a contracting party to the Marpol Convention, it cannot be bound by the convention and the pacta sunt servanda principle therefore did not apply in this case. Further, the ECJ ...


Thu, 21 Aug 2014 00:52:30 -0700

Elmshorn | „Pacta sunt servanda“, sagt der Lateiner. „Die Verträge sind einzuhalten“, sagt auch der Insolvenzverwalter des Pleite gegangenen Vereins ProJugend. 36.000 Euro forderte Rechtsvertreter Dr. Klaus Pannen von der Stadt ein. Verbindlichkeiten ...

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