take the law into own hands


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take the law into (one's) own hands

To act outside the scope of the law to achieve one's own sense of justice, typically by killing, punishing, or passing judgment on wrongdoers. Shopkeepers in the area have begun taking the law into their own hands, catching would-be thieves and tying them up until police arrive. I know you're frustrated by how long it's taken the police to respond, but you can't just take the law into your own hands.
See also: hand, law, own, take
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

take the law into one's own hands

Fig. to attempt to administer the law; to pass judgment on someone who has done something wrong. Citizens don't have the right to take the law into their own hands. The shopkeeper took the law into his own hands when he tried to arrest the thief.
See also: hand, law, own, take
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

take the law into (one's) own hands

To mete out justice as one sees fit without due recourse to law enforcement agencies or the courts.
See also: hand, law, own, take
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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