In English jurisprudence
, the highest test as to whether an action was blameless is whether a reasonable man in that position would have done the same thing. This test is considered "objective
" in that it is imposed by the court
from its own point of view, as opposed to the weaker, subjective
, test of whether or not the party in question thought what they were doing was acceptable.
The test can be further broken down into one concerning a reasonable man with:
The standard is a reasonable man knowing the same things as the party in question. This might be termed a "semi-objective" test.
Constructive knowledge and notice
Constructive knowledge is information that the actor can be relied upon by third parties to posess. Events and circumstances may put a person "on notice"; a reasonable man would investigate further.
Hence the full "reasonable man" test is the action of a reasonable man having the knowledge that was actually posessed, knowledge that ought to have been possessed, constructive knowledge, and respecting statutory duties. There is a further twist in the tail: in different circumstances, a different kind of "reasonable man" is presumed, to reflect the kind of person that ought to put themselves in a given position. So, trustees investing trust property ought to act as "ordinary reasonable men of business".