An individual qualifies as a Convention refugee only if he or she has a "well-founded fear" of being persecuted. While it is generally agreed that the "well-founded fear" requirement limits refugee status to persons who face an actual, forward-looking risk of being persecuted (the "objective element"), linguistic ambiguity has resulted in a divergence of views regarding whether the test also involves assessment of the state of mind of the person seeking recognition of refugee status (the "subjective element").
Colloquium on Challenges in International Refugee Law. "The Michigan Guidelines on Well-Founded Fear." Mich. J. Int'l L. 26, no. 2 (2005): 492-503.