Blackstone's formulation  

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In criminal law, Blackstone's formulation (also known as Blackstone's ratio or the Blackstone ratio) is the principle that "It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer", as expressed by the English jurist William Blackstone in his seminal work, Commentaries on the Laws of England, published in the 1760s.

Historically, the details of the ratio have varied, but the message that government and the courts must err on the side of innocence has remained constant.

In popular culture

Horace Rumpole, the protagonist barrister of Rumpole of the Bailey, is fond of paraphrasing Blackstone's formulation, albeit without attribution.

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