Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Bonus pater familias Definition:

Latin: the good family man.

Related Terms: Reasonable Man, Man on the Clapham Omnibus

The ordinary prudent person.

The legal fiction of a ethereal reference point against which to judge the conduct of those against which an allegation of negligence lies.

In Roman law, as in the subsequent civil law which has superceded it, civil liability is often determined against the standard of the civil law 's equivalent to the common law's reasonable man: the bonus paper familias. In French-speaking jurisdictions, all civil law lawyers will recognize the term bon pere de famille as readily as a common law lawyer would recognize the term reasonable man.

Some have described the concept of the ideal, the bonus pater familias as simply an appeal to local custom in any given situation.1

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