These are English idioms based on the Law, crime and punishment. You can also try this Law Idioms Quiz
Click on any idiom for more information, including example sentences, notes and quizzes.
If somebody is a law unto themselves, they do things their own way and follow their own ideas about how to live instead of following what others do.
If someone gives you a slap on the wrist, they give you a mild punishment for making a mistake or doing something wrong.
If you have a vested interest in something, you have a strong personal interest in it because you stand to gain from it.
If something is above board, it's been done in a legal and honest way.
If someone is above the law, they are not subject to the laws of a society.
If someone beats the rap, they avoid being found guilty of a crime.
If you do something by the book, you do it strictly according to the rules or the official procedures.
If someone is caught red-handed, they are caught in the act of doing something wrong such as cheating or stealing.
If someone cooks the books, or cooks the accounts, they keep inaccurate accounts for a business, usually in order to pay less tax.
If you cover your tracks, you make sure no-one can find evidence of what you've done.
If someone has to face the music, they have to accept the consequences of doing something wrong.
If you fall from grace, you do something that results in a loss of respect and support, especially among those who influence your life or career.
If you feather your own nest, you use your position or your job illegally for personal gain.
If you grease someone's palm, you pay them a bribe.
If you keep your nose clean, you stay out of trouble by making sure you don't do anything wrong.
If you lay down the law, you tell people what they should do in a forceful and stern way.
If you mend your ways, you improve your behaviour and stop doing things that cause trouble.
Strict adherence to rules and regulations so that a procedure seems to take longer than necessary.
We can say the jury is still out when a decision still hasn't been made about something.
If something is done under the table, it's done secretly, usually because it's illegal or unethical.