letter of the law


Also found in: Idioms.

Letter of the Law

The strict and exact force of the language used in a statute, as distinguished from the spirit, general purpose, and policy of the statute.

letter of the law

noun according to the letter, an orthodox interpretation, by chapter and verse, conservaaive interpretation, exact words of the law, exactly as written, literal interpretation, literally interpreted, perfectly as written, precise interpretation, precisely as written, strict construction, strict interpretation
Associated concepts: respecting the spirit and letter of the law
References in classic literature ?
Of course, it was a legal crime, of course, the letter of the law was broken and blood was shed.
"The treasurer was of the same opinion: he showed to what straits his majesty's revenue was reduced, by the charge of maintaining you, which would soon grow insupportable; that the secretary's expedient of putting out your eyes, was so far from being a remedy against this evil, that it would probably increase it, as is manifest from the common practice of blinding some kind of fowls, after which they fed the faster, and grew sooner fat; that his sacred majesty and the council, who are your judges, were, in their own consciences, fully convinced of your guilt, which was a sufficient argument to condemn you to death, without the formal proofs required by the strict letter of the law.
I am seeking the last resting place of those "ruffians." When I find it I shall shed some tears on it, and stack up some bouquets and immortelles, and cart away from it some gravel whereby to remember that howsoever blotted by crime their lives may have been, these ruffians did one just deed, at any rate, albeit it was not warranted by the strict letter of the law.
the letter of the law. It is not enough that one be pious and
Under the letter of the law, it was RIGHT to disallow Leander Dendoncker's goal at Leicester, and deny Gabriel Jesus a winner for Manchester City against Tottenham, because of handball in the build-up.
Then the Department of Justice, the Office of the Solicitor General, the Bureau of Immigration, etc., even Congress, all went into action, and used or misused the letter of the law, in order to accommodate him.
It not only offers a history of atheism in this nation, but examines legal, political, and social injustices, how Christianity is embedded in American governmental processes, and how the pursuit of religious freedom in this nation has lead to circumstances countering the letter of the law. No American concerned about civil liberties, religious freedom, or legal foundations of American politics should be without this thought-provoking survey.
Education Department spokeswoman Rebecca Blessing responded by saying the state is working on the statewide academic standards for the Bible literacy classes and that "it is up to each public school district to ensure the curriculum used in any classes allowed under HB 128 abides with the letter of the law and the tenets established by constitutional law."
"But it was a double touch and the letter of the law clearly states that it doesn't stand.
"We would have to go back, if we were to implement, with strictness, the letter of the law and this would have to be done for everyone; there were, and there are civil servants, government doctors, there were journalists at the state broadcaster and everywhere there are public employees that participated in political parties," he said and concluded: "I say it again, if the legislation is implemented to the letter we would be opening a very big chapter."
Comedically absurd but also introspective, The Ugly challenges dogmatic clinging to the letter of the law.