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double jeopardy

A legal doctrine which holds that legal action cannot be taken twice against someone for the same offense. Yes, I know there's new evidence linking the chief financial officer to the embezzlement scheme, but he's already been tried for that. If we bring this new evidence against him now, the judge will toss it out as an instance of double jeopardy.
See also: double, jeopardy

escape clause

A clause or provision specifying the means by which or the conditions under which a party can be freed from the obligations of a contract. The fiscal arrangement includes an escape clause for countries to suspend their repayments in case of any kind of economic emergency. The football superstar managed to get an escape clause into his $35 million contract, meaning he'll be able to force the owners to sell him next year if he wants to move to a more successful team.
See also: clause, escape

grandfather clause

A clause that exempts certain people or businesses from new limitations or restrictions, thus allowing them to continue doing or benefiting from something as they did before. Originally referred to a clause added to the constitutions of some Southern US states that exempted people with relatives that had voted before 1867 from strict new voting requirements, in effect disproportionately limiting the ability of African Americans to vote. No, I still get to pay the reduced rate, thanks to a grandfather clause in my contract.
See also: clause, grandfather

sunset clause

A clause or provision specifying that a given law will expire after a certain date or period of time unless it is extended by further legislation. The only way they would back our funding bill was if we included a five-year sunset clause to allow for renegotiation down the line. The sunset clause of the tax exemption for low-income earners is set to expire at the end of the year.
See also: clause, sunset
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

(a) grandfather clause

a clause in an agreement that protects certain rights granted in the past even when conditions change in the future. The contract contained a grandfather clause that protected my pension payments against claims such as might arise from a future lawsuit.
See also: clause, grandfather
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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