Law Idioms | List of Law Idioms With Meaning and Examples

Law Idioms: Every citizen of a country must follow the rules and laws of their country. Well, in the English language, there are many phrases with law that might help an individual understand the meaning behind every direction and that will help them follow it more precisely.

There are various justice idioms and idioms about rights in the English language, and sometimes it gets difficult to remember the exact meaning of each of them.

Therefore, to make it easier, this article provides you with a list of law idioms containing various legal idioms with meaning and examples.

These idioms will help one use them while holding a conversation regarding the mentioned topic.

Enrich your Vocabulary by practicing the English Idioms that are commonly used in everyday conversations and understand their actual meaning.

Name of Law Idioms

List of Law Idioms

Meaning and examples of few commonly used law idioms

Above suspicion

Meaning: When one is not suspected of doing anything wrong since they are sincere.

Example: When the vase broke, only Ginny was above suspicion in the entire house.

Case by case

Meaning: When each case or situation is observed, examined, and declared individually without mixing everything.

Example: Everyone in the hospital was treated on a case-by-case basis, and hence things were very smooth.

Under the table

Meaning: To perform an activity privately since it is unlawful and illegal.

Example: The restaurant looked exceptionally well maintained, but they supplied drugs under the table.

Eye for an eye

Meaning: This idiom means that one should receive punishment or face the consequences in the exact manner they used for causing trouble.

Example: She broke my pencil, and therefore I broke hers as well. It was an eye for an eye.

Justice is blind

Meaning: This idiom means that justice is objective and impartial.

Example: She had two kids, but still, she was given a punishment of 5 years of jail. Justice truly is blind.

In the eyes of the law

Meaning: When something is declared to be right or wrong according to the law.

Example: Meredith knew that Alex committed the crime unintentionally, but in the eyes of the law, he was a criminal.

Bang to rights

Meaning: When one collects enough evidence against someone and can prove them guilty of a particular crime.

Example: Mark broke the traffic rules but was caught bang to rights.

Act of congress

Meaning: Something that requires immense hard work and patience.

Example: Completing an English project is indeed an act of congress.

Before the ink is dry

Meaning: When an agreement is made but is broken very quickly.

Example: The group of enemies agreed to live peacefully and not harm each other, but then two started fighting even before the ink was dry.

Bring someone to book

Meaning: When one is either punished for something they have done or explained that their behaviour was wrong.

Example: After Will was caught cheating on the test, his class teacher brought him to a book.

Mend your ways

Meaning: To make some good changes in one’s behaviour.

Example: My class teacher asked me to mend my ways to stay in the school.

Bail out

Meaning: Stop doing something or getting out of something.

Example: Justin bailed out of our Science project just at the last time.

Ball and chain

Meaning: This idiom describes someone or something that removes one’s freedom and stops them from doing something.

Example: Molly’s homework acted as her ball and chain and refrained her from going out with her friends.

The letter of the law

Meaning: When one acts precisely according to the writing of the law without trying to understand the spirit of the law.

Example: We all know that she’s the principal’s daughter, but still, we need to stick to the letter of the law and not give her any special treatment.

The jury is out

Meaning: This idiom states that the decision has not yet been taken, and hence nothing is still evident.

Example: We should not accuse him of the murder since the jury is still out.

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Open-and-shut case

Meaning: A legal case that is solved and closed quickly without putting much effort since the proofs are evident.

Example: The car accident was declared as an open-and-shut by the court.

Read someone the riot act

Meaning: To warn and scold someone because of something they have done.

Example: The neighbour read Harry the riot act after he broke their window glasses while playing baseball.

Case in point

Meaning: A sample or example of something that is being talked about or discussed.

Example: Being on your top behaviour when you are in school is extremely important. Jessica is the perfect case in point.

Cover your tracks

Meaning: Hide proofs, evidence, whereabouts, intentions, and activities of someone from a respective individual or a group of individuals.

Example: Nobody knew where Johnson went after high school. He covered his tracks well.

Have a brush with something

Meaning: Come across or have a conflict with someone or something.

Example: The thief had a brush with the police, and yet he managed to escape.

Burden of proof

Meaning: When one is obligated to prove themselves or someone else correct by providing evidence and proof.

Example: Gina claimed to see ghosts in her house, but her friends disbelieved her. Hence, she had the burden of proof actually to prove herself correct.

Face the music

Meaning: Receive the consequences of something one has done.

Example: After escaping for years, the convict finally faced the music and was caught by the police.

Against one’s better judgment

Meaning: When one has second thoughts about a particular thing or knows that doing a sure thing is not correct.

Example: Troy allowed Peter to join the basketball team against his better judgment.

In black and white

Meaning: This idiom describes a situation where right and wrong can be understood clearly.

Example: After collecting the murder weapon, the entire murder case was in black and white.

Beyond a reasonable doubt

Meaning: Without any second thoughts and doubt.

Example: She was extremely passionate about dancing and pursued it as a career beyond a reasonable doubt.

Turn a blind eye

Meaning: When one ignores the happenings of a particular activity, knowing that it is wrong.

Example: The new student was getting bullied, but Georgia turned a blind eye to it.

Moot point

Meaning: A topic or situation that is open for debate and discussion.

Example: His sincerity regarding the relationship was a moot point from the beginning.

Unintended consequences

Meaning: This idiom means that there are specific actions that have unwanted and unintended consequences.

Example: The law proposed by the government had unintended consequences since instead of reducing suicidal cases, it ended up increasing.

Take the Fifth

Meaning: When one refuses to testify against an individual in court.

Example: When Clara was asked to testify against Jordan, she took the fifth.

Unwritten law

Meaning: A rule or law that is known and followed publicly but has no written evidence.

Example: Not bringing cake to celebrate birthday in school was an unwritten law, but Phyllis had no idea about it and ended up getting one.

Beat the rap

Meaning: When one escapes punishment.

Example: The murderer again beat the rap and escaped from the hands of the police officer.

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Caught red-handed

Meaning: Discover and catch someone while doing something wrong or illegal.

Example: Cathy was caught red-handed while cheating in the exam.

Bend the law

Meaning: To change or alter the rules in such a way that will not cause any harm to anyone.

Example: The politician decided to bend the law a little bit for his gain.

Feather one’s nest

Meaning: This phrase is used when one makes money for themselves in some selfish way.

Example: Damon decided to feather his nest by blackmailing the mayor of the town.

Hold someone accountable for something

Meaning: To blame someone or consider someone responsible for something that has happened to an individual.

Example: Joshua held his friend accountable for stealing his car since he was the one who borrowed it.

Lay down the law

Meaning: To instruct people on what is to be done without getting concerned about their views.

Example: When Robert argued that his way of completing the project was correct, I had no option but to lay down the laws and show them to him.

Signed, sealed, and delivered

Meaning: When an agreement is satisfactorily completed.

Example: The deal regarding the selling of the house was signed, sealed, and delivered.

A slap on the wrist

Meaning: When one is given a minor punishment instead of providing a more severe punishment.

Example: The traffic police slapped Richard on the wrist for breaking the rules and let him go since his mother was hospitalized and he was genuinely in a hurry.

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