In law, desuetude (from the Latin word desuetudo, outdated, no longer custom) is a doctrine that causes statutes, similar legislation or legal principles to lapse and become unenforceable by a long habit of non-enforcement or lapse of time. Law is a system of rules enforced through a set of Institutions used as an instrument to underpin civil obedience politics economics and society A statute is a formal written enactment of a Legislative authority that governs a Country, State, City, or County. It is what happens to laws that are not repealed when they become obsolete. A repeal is the Removal or Reversal of a Law. This is generally done when a law is no longer effective or it is shown that a law is having far more negative It is the Legal doctrine that long and continued non-use of a law renders it invalid, at least in the sense that courts will no longer tolerate punishing its transgressors. Legal doctrine is a framework set of rules procedural steps or test often established through Precedent in the Common law, through which judgments can be determined
The doctrine of desuetude is not favoured in the common law tradition. Common law refers to law and the corresponding legal system developed through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive In 1818, the English court of King's Bench held in the case of Ashford v. Thornton that trial by combat remained available at a defendant's option in a case where it was available under the common law. Year 1818 ( MDCCCXVIII) was a Common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian Calendar (or a Common England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland The Queen's Bench (or during the reign of a male monarch the King's Bench) is the superior court in a number of jurisdictions within some of the Commonwealth realms Ashford v Thornton was an 1818 English Legal case standing for the principle that all law remains until it is repealed Trial by combat (also wager of battle, trial by battle or judicial duel) was a method of Germanic law to settle accusations in the absence of A defendant or defender ( Δ in Legal shorthand) is any party who is required to answer the Complaint of a Plaintiff The concept of desuetude has more currency in the civil law tradition, which is more regulated by legislative codes, and less bound by precedent. Civil law or Romano-Germanic law or Continental law is the predominant system of law in the world.
The doctrine has been applied in regard to acts of the pre-1707 Scottish Parliament. The Scottish Parliament ( Scottish Gaelic: Pàrlamaid na h-Alba; Scots: Scottish Pairlament) is the devlolved national unicameral
Desuetude does not apply to violations of the United States constitution. In Walz v. Tax Commission of the City of New York, 397 U. S. 664, 678 (1970), the United States Supreme Court asserted that: "It is obviously correct that no one acquires a vested or protected right in violation of the Constitution by long use, even when that span of time covers our entire national existence and indeed predates it. The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest judicial body in the United States and leads the federal judiciary. "
It may, however, have validity as a doctrine in defense of penal prosecution. In 1825, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declined to enforce the traditional punishment of ducking for women convicted as common scolds, stating that "total disuse of any civil institution for ages past, may afford just and rational objections against disrespected and superannuated ordinances. Ducking-stools and cucking-stools are chairs formerly used for Punishment. In the Common law of crime in England and Wales, a common scold was a species of public nuisance—a troublesome and angry woman who broke the public " Wright v. Crane, 13 Serg. & Rawle 220, 228 (Pa. 1825).
The seminal modern case under U. S. state law is a West Virginia opinion regarding desuetude, Committee on Legal Ethics v. West Virginia ( is a state in the Appalachian Upland South, and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States, bordered by Printz, 187 W. Va. 182, 416 S. E. 2d 720 (1992). In that case, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals held that penal statutes may become void under the doctrine of desuetude if:
This holding was reaffirmed in 2003 in West Virginia v. Blake, ___ S. E. 2d ____ (W. Va. 2003).
While it may not be a violation of due process to enforce a desuetudinal law, the fact that a law has long gone unenforced may present a bar to standing in a suit to prevent its future enforcement. For other senses of this word see Standing (disambiguation. In the Common law, and under many Statutes standing or In Poe v. Ullman, the Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to Connecticut's ban on birth control, writing:
The undeviating policy of nullification by Connecticut of its anti-contraceptive laws throughout all the long years that they have been on the statute books bespeaks more than prosecutorial paralysis . Poe v Ullman, 367 US 497 ( 1961) was a United States Supreme Court case that held that Plaintiffs lacked standing to Birth control, sometimes synonymous with contraception, is a regimen of one or more actions devices or Medications followed in order to deliberately prevent . . . 'Deeply embedded traditional ways of carrying out state policy * * * '—or not carrying it out—'are often tougher and truer law than the dead words of the written text. '
Shortly thereafter, Connecticut's birth control law was enforced, and struck down, in Griswold v. Connecticut. Griswold v Connecticut, 381 US 479 ( 1965) was a Landmark case in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the