Duty of Utmost Good Faith

  • Haemala ThanasegaranEmail author


The duty of utmost good faith forms the cornerstone of insurance law codified in s17 of the Marine Insurance Act 1906 of the United Kingdom. It is a wide and all-encompassing duty that has arisen as a result of insurance contracts being uberrimae fidei in nature. This chapter examines the origin, meaning and juridical basis of the duty of utmost good faith; its applicability to non-marine insurance contracts in the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Australia; its scope or continuing nature with respect to the insurer’s and insured’s obligations; and the recent legislative reforms in the area in the jurisdictions examined.


Insurance Policy Good Faith Insurance Contract Proposal Form Marine Insurance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Abu Bakar B (2013) The commercial law of Malaysia revisited—Section 5 (2) of the Civil Law Act 1956; Constitutionality, the EU and Islamisation. Int Islam Univ Malaysia Law J 21(1)Google Scholar
  2. Australian Law Reform Commission (1982) Report No 20, Insurance ContractsGoogle Scholar
  3. Australian Law Reform Commission (2001) Report No 91, Review of the Marine Insurance Act 1909Google Scholar
  4. Bennett H (1999) Mapping the doctrine of utmost good faith in insurance contract law. Lloyd’s Marit Commer Law Quart 165Google Scholar
  5. Birds J (2013) Birds’ Modern Insurance Law, vol 9. Sweet & Maxwell, LondonGoogle Scholar
  6. Burton S (1980) Breach of contract and the common law duty to perform in good faith. Harv Law Rev 94:369Google Scholar
  7. Campbell N (2005) Insurance law. N Z Law Rev 3:431Google Scholar
  8. Clarke M (2003) Refusing rescission: contracts of utmost bad faith. Camb Law J 556Google Scholar
  9. Derrington (2002) Marine insurance law in Australia: the Australian law reform commission proposals. Lloyd’s Marit Commer Law Quart 214Google Scholar
  10. Eggers P (2003) Remedies for the failure to observe the utmost good faith. Lloyd’s Marit Commer Law Quart 249Google Scholar
  11. Financial Ombudsman Service (1991) Insurance Ombudsman Annual Report 1990, LondonGoogle Scholar
  12. Finn P (1989a) Good faith and fair dealing. Paper presented at the Australian Insurance Law Association Conference, Melbourne, Nov 1989Google Scholar
  13. Finn P (1989b) Commerce, the common law and morality. Melb Univ Law Rev 17:87Google Scholar
  14. Hasson RA (1969) The doctrine of uberrima fides in insurance law—a critical evaluation. Mod Law Rev 32:615Google Scholar
  15. Hasson RA (1984) The special nature of insurance contracts: a comparison of the American and English law of insurance. Mod Law Rev 47:505Google Scholar
  16. Kelly D (1989) The insured’s rights in relation to the provision of information by the insurer. Insur Law J 2:45Google Scholar
  17. Law Commission (1980) Insurance law: non-disclosure and breach of warranty, Report No 104, Cmnd 8064Google Scholar
  18. Law Reform Committee (1957) Conditions and exceptions in insurance policies, Report No 5, Cmnd 62Google Scholar
  19. Lee KS (1997) Ubi Jus Ibi Remedium? Insurer’s duty to disclose—time for another look? Singap J Leg Stud 185Google Scholar
  20. Legh-Jones N, Birds J, Owen D (eds) (2003) MacGillivray on insurance law, vol 10. Sweet & Maxwell, LondonGoogle Scholar
  21. Mahmood NR (1992) Insurance law in Malaysia. Butterworths, MalaysiaGoogle Scholar
  22. Merkin R (2010) Colinvaux’s law of insurance, 9th edn. Sweet & Maxwell, LondonGoogle Scholar
  23. Naidoo A, Oughton D (2005) The confused post-formation duty of good faith in insurance law: from refinement to fragmentation to elimination? J Bus Law 346Google Scholar
  24. Parkes JE, Heil RJ (1973) Insurers beware: “bad faith” is in full bloom. Forum 9:63Google Scholar
  25. Poh CC (2005) Principles of insurance law, 6th edn. Butterworths, SingaporeGoogle Scholar
  26. Soyer B (2003) Continuing duty of utmost good faith in insurance contracts: still alive? Lloyd’s Marit Commer Law Quart 39Google Scholar
  27. Sutton K (1999) Insurance law in Australia, 3rd edn. Law Book Co, SydneyGoogle Scholar
  28. Tarr A (1989) Insurance law and the consumer. Bond Law Rev 1:79Google Scholar
  29. Tarr J-A (2001) The insured’s reasonable expectations. Insur Law J 12:9Google Scholar
  30. Thanasegaran H (2004) Insurers’ good faith in Malaysia: does a search for a fairer balance in non-marine insurance contracts lead to Australia?’ Insur Law J 15:143Google Scholar
  31. Thanasegaran H (2007) To renew or not to renew—what are the questions? An evaluation of the statutory warning in insurance contracts’ Malay Law J 2:cxlvii, clii–cliiiGoogle Scholar
  32. Thanasegaran H (2011) Settlement of claims by Malaysian insurance and takaful companies: a genuine prospect or merely suspect? Int Co Commer Law Rev 22(6):191Google Scholar
  33. Thanasegaran H, Shaiban M (2014) Harmonization of Takaful (Islamic insurance) regulation—a realistic goal or improbable ideal? Singap J Legal Stud 328Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Monash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations