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Hicklin Rule

The Hicklin Rule refers to the decision in Regina v. Hicklin, L.R. 3 Q.B. 360 in 1868, in which the U.K. Court of the Queen’s Bench created that country’s first standard for defining what constitutes obscene material. The test required a court to ask only “whether the tendency of the matter charged as obscenity is to deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences, and into whose hands a publication of this sort may fall.” In addition to becoming the standard definition of obscenity for the courts of the United Kingdom, this seemingly simple definition was soon adopted by the courts of several other countries and would serve as the primary definition of obscenity across most of the common law world ...

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