law in books

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Law in books refers to laws and legal doctrine as they exist in bound volumes such as reporters. The term historically has been contrasted with law in action as connotated by Roscoe Pound to show how laws as they appear in text differ from law in application. This body of scholarship deals with legal realism, critiquing the theories and doctrines of law that form legal scholarship as less than representative of laws as they actually are in use. 

[Last updated in August of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]