World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Barratry (common law)

 

Barratry (common law)

For other uses, including other legal terms, see Barratry

Barratry ( ) is a legal term with several meanings. In common law, barratry is the offense committed by people who are “overly officious in instigating or encouraging prosecution of groundless litigation” or who bring “repeated or persistent acts of litigation” for the purposes of profit or harassment.[1] It is a crime in some jurisdictions. If litigation is for the purpose of silencing critics, it is known as a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP). Jurisdictions that otherwise have no barratry laws may have SLAPP laws.

Contents

  • International variations 1
    • Australia 1.1
    • England and Wales 1.2
      • History 1.2.1
    • United States 1.3
  • Other 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

International variations

Australia

In Australia, the term barratry is predominantly used in the first sense of a frivolous or harassing litigant. The concept has fallen into disuse in Australia.[2]

England and Wales

In England and Wales the common law offence of being a common barrator was abolished by section 13(1)(a) of the Criminal Law Act 1967.

History

Being a common barrator was an offence under the [3]

In 1966 the Law Commission recommended that this offence be abolished.[4] They said that there had been no indictments for this offence for "many years" and that, as an indictable misdemeanor, it was "wholly obsolete".[3] Their recommendation was implemented by the Criminal Law Act 1967.

United States

Several jurisdictions in the United States have declared barratry (in the sense of a frivolous or harassing litigant) to be a crime as part of their tort reform efforts. For example, in the U.S. states of California, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, barratry is a misdemeanor.[5] In Texas, however, barratry is a misdemeanor on the first conviction, but a felony on subsequent convictions.[6]

  • California Penal Code Section 158: "Common barratry is the practice of exciting groundless judicial proceedings, and is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months and by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000)."
  • California Penal Code Section 159: "No person can be convicted of common barratry except upon proof that he has excited suits or proceedings at law in at least three instances, and with a corrupt or malicious intent to vex and annoy."
  • Revised Code of Washington 9.12.010: "Every person who brings on his or her own behalf, or instigates, incites, or encourages another to bring, any false suit at law or in equity in any court of this state, with intent thereby to distress or harass a defendant in the suit, or who serves or sends any paper or document purporting to be or resembling a judicial process, that is not in fact a judicial process, is guilty of a misdemeanor; and in case the person offending is an attorney, he or she may, in addition thereto be disbarred from practicing law within this state."[7]

Other

In his Inferno, Canto XXI, Dante places barrators in the Eighth Circle, fifth bolgia of Hell.

See also

References

  1. ^ Barratry at freedictionary.com
  2. ^ Discussion Paper 36 (1994) - Barratry, Maintenance and Champerty. Law Reform Commission, New South Wales. Accessed August 12, 2009.
  3. ^ a b The Law Commission, Proposals to Abolish Certain Ancient Criminal Offences (Law Com 3), paragraph 2
  4. ^ The Law Commission, Proposals to Abolish Certain Ancient Criminal Offences (Law Com 3), paragraphs 7 and 8
  5. ^ People v. Sanford, 202 Cal. App. 3d Supp. 1 (1988); 18 Pa.C.S. 5109. [1]
  6. ^ Texas Penal Code section 38.12
  7. ^ RCW 9.12.010 Barratry, Revised Code of Washington. Accessed 2012-3-3.

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.