Measuring Justice

33 Pages Posted: 16 May 2019

Date Written: February 3, 2019


The possibility of measuring the success of the criminal justice system in distinguishing the guilty from the innocent is often dismissed as impossible or at least impractical. Here I claim to demonstrate that such epistemic measurement would only be difficult. All measurement consists of two steps, the acquisition of observations and their processing through a computational framework. The law has lacked both, but I have recently put forward a computational framework and here I set out how the relevant observations can be obtained. This completes the conceptual foundations necessary for the development of jurisprudence as a social science, for policymaking in the law that is rooted in concern for epistemic outcomes, and for us to fulfil the modern, democratic promise that our forebears found in Blackstone’s ratio.

Keywords: Blackstone's Ratio, Epistemology, Criminal Law, Jurisprudence, F-measure

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Cullerne Bown, William, Measuring Justice (February 3, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

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