From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishsomebody’s hands are tiedsomebody’s hands are tiedif someone’s hands are tied, they cannot help in a particularsituation because of rules, laws etcThe bank claims its hands are tied by federal regulators. →hand
Examples from the Corpus
somebody’s hands are tied• I'd like to help you, but you missed the deadline. I'm afraid my hands are tied.• The company's hands are tied because of governmentregulations.• We'd really like to help you, but I'm afraid our hands are tied.• Bankersargue that their hands are tied by the Fed.