In courts and in legislation, terms like ‘reasonableness’ or ‘reasonable person’ come up occasionally. These terms are used as tests to indicate the kinds of conduct that would be expected in different situations. They are used as a yardstick to compare the conduct of those involved with a hypothetical, legal situation.
For instance, in a motor vehicle accident, the court might ask questions regarding a hypothetical ‘reasonable person’ and how they would have responded in the same situation. ‘Was the accident caused by a reasonable attempt to prevent another collision?’ ‘Did the defendant take all reasonable steps to assist the plaintiff after the accident?’
The justice system always considers a baseline level of conduct, so it pays to act honestly and consistently in tricky situations – and to know what’s expected of others.