dead hand

noun Law.
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World English Dictionary
dead hand
 
n
1.  an oppressive or discouraging influence or factor: the dead hand of centralized control
2.  law a less common word for mortmain

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
It is the dead hand that holds imprisoned within the obscenity laws all direct
  information concerning birth control.
But such events are not enough to dislodge the dead hand of history.
As a solution, he proposes more democracy, which is then described as more
  influence of the dead hand of the national level.
In a genuinely free market, without the dead hand of government interference,
  it's a self-correcting problem.
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