dead letter

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dead letter

a law or ordinance that is no longer enforced but has not been formally repealed
References in classic literature ?
In the question how the trusts under that will are to be administered, the fortune left by the will is squandered away; the legatees under the will are reduced to such a miserable condition that they would be sufficiently punished if they had committed an enormous crime in having money left them, and the will itself is made a dead letter.
Dead letters feature in the constitutions of many countries.
But that's Dead Letters (Paul Grushkin, Voyager, pounds 20) and - certainly for those of us of a certain age and musical persuasion - it's a total delight.