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n. an agreement between the party suing in a lawsuit (plaintiff) and another person, usually an attorney, who agrees to finance and carry the lawsuit in return for a percentage of the recovery (money won and paid.) In Common Law this was illegal on the theory that it encouraged lawsuits. Today it is legal and often part of a "contingent fee" agreement between lawyer and client. It is not the same as barratry which is active encouragement of lawsuits. (See: barratry)
champertysee MAINTENANCE AND CHAMPERTY.
CHAMPERTY, crimes. A bargain with a plaintiff or defendant, campum partire,
to divide the land or other matter sued for between them, if they prevail at
law, the champertor undertaking to carry on the suit at his own expense. 1
Pick. 416; 1 Ham. 132; 5 Monr. 416; 4 Litt. 117; 5 John. Ch. R. 44; 7 Port.
2. This offence differs from maintenance, in this, that in the latter the person assisting the suitor receives no benefit, while in the former he receives one half, or other portion, of the thing sued for. See Punishment; Fine; Imprisonment; 4 Bl. Com. 135.
3. This was an offence in the civil law. Poth. Pand. lib. 3, t. 1; App. n. 1, tom. 3, p. 104; 15 Ves. 139; 7 Bligh's R. 369; S. C. 20 E. C. L. R. 165; 5 Moore & P. 193; 6 Carr. & P. 749; S. C. 25 E. C. L. R. 631; 1 Russ. Cr. 179 Hawk. P. C. b. 1 c. 84, s. 5.
4. To maintain a defendant may be champerty. Hawk. P. C. b. 1, c. 84, s. 8 3 Ham. 541; 6 Monr. 392; 8 Yerg. 484; 8 John. 479; 1 John. Ch. R. 444;, 7 Wend. 152; 3 Cowen, 624; 6 Cowen, 90.