R George Wright, ‘Objective and Subjective Tests in the Law’

Across many subject areas, the law commonly attempts to distinguish between objective and subjective tests, and to assess the merits of objective as opposed to subjective legal tests. This Article argues that all such efforts are fundamentally incoherent and ultimately futile in practice. As demonstrated below, what the law takes to be objective in the relevant sense is essentially constituted by what the law takes to be subjective, and vice versa. Judicial preoccupation with objective and subjective tests thus does no more than distract from more meaningful concerns. Judicial attention should be directed away from this hopeless distinction, and instead focused on devising tests that best reflect the substantive interests at stake in any given context.

R George Wright, Objective and Subjective Tests in the Law, 16 University of New Hampshire Law Review 121 (2017).

First posted 2017-11-07 13:27:36

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