Chris Dent, ‘The “Reasonable Man”, his Nineteenth-century “Siblings”, and their Legacy’

The reasonable man is the best known, but not the only, legal construct to be born into the nineteenth-century common law. This article introduces the man’s siblings – including those from the areas of trust law, criminal law, contract law, and intellectual property law (both patents and trademarks). The fact that some of these ‘men’ changed the law is not controversial; this research further highlights that while several of these came to life in that century, only some had a significant role into the twentieth century. Those that did are tied to the foundations of our society through their role in facilitating innovation and consumer protection. The argument is that it was the constructs’ nature and their capacity to accommodate public policy issues that enabled the vitality of the ‘reasonable person‘ (negligence) and the ‘person skilled in the art’ (patents).

Chris Dent, The ‘Reasonable Man’, his Nineteenth-century ‘Siblings’, and their Legacy. Journal of Law and Society. First published: 3 August 2017. DOI: 10.1111/jols.12036.

First posted 2017-08-05 06:30:53

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