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").
Hathaway, James C. "Michigan Guidelines on Well-Founded Fear." Mich. J. Int'l L. 26, no. 2 (2005): 492-503. (These guidelines reflect the consensus of the participants at the Third Colloquium on Challenges in International Refugee Law, convened by James C. Hathaway and held at the University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor, Michigan, on March 26-28, 2004)