Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

2019 Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello

Proportionality Test

  • Tomáš Sobek
  • Josef MontagEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7753-2_721


Proportionality test is a legal method used by courts, typically constitutional courts, to decide hard cases, which are cases where two or more legitimate rights collide. In such cases a decision necessarily leads to one right prevailing at the expense of another. In order to decide such cases correctly, the court must balance the satisfaction of some rights and the damage to other rights resulting from a judgment. This entry overviews the proportionality test and the four steps of implementing the test. We also discuss the incommensurability problem, which is the main criticism of the balancing approach.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Alder J (2001) Incommensurable values and judicial review: the case of local government. Public Law 4:717–735Google Scholar
  2. Aleinikoff TA (1987) Constitutional law in the age of balancing. Yale Law J 96:943–1005CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alexy R (2002) A theory of constitutional rights. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  4. Alexy R (2014) Constitutional rights and proportionality. Revus 22:51–65Google Scholar
  5. Barak A (2012) Proportionality: constitutional rights and their limitations. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chang R (1997) Introduction. In: Chang R (ed) Incommensurability, incomparability, and practical reason. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  7. Chang R (2002) The possibility of parity. Ethics 112: 659–688CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chang R (2012) Are hard choices cases of incomparability? Philos Issues 22:106–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chang R (2013) Incommensurability (and incomparability). In: LaFollette H (ed) International encyclopedia of ethics. Blackwell Publishing, Malden, pp 2591–2604Google Scholar
  10. Da Silva VA (2011) Comparing the incommensurable: constitutional principles, balancing and rational decision. Oxf J Leg Stud 31:273–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Edmonds D (2014) Would you kill the fat man? The trolley problem and what your answer tells us about right and wrong. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  12. Endicott T (2014) Proportionality and incommensurability. In: Proportionality and the rule of law: rights, justification, reasoning. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp 311–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Frank RH (2008) Why is cost-benefit analysis so controversial? In: Hausman DM (ed) The philosophy of economics: an anthology. Cambridge University Press, New York, pp 251–269Google Scholar
  14. Klatt M, Meister M (2012) The constitutional structure of proportionality. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Raz J (1986) Morality of freedom. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  16. Raz J (1999) Engaging reason: on the theory of value and action. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  17. Winter J (2016) Alexyho vážící formule. Právník 5:446–461Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of LawMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.International School of EconomicsKazakh-British Technical UniversityAlmatyKazakhstan