Updated: 29 February 2024

What Does Barratry Mean?

In the context of common law, barratry refers to the persistent filing of lawsuits against a specific party without due cause.

While filing multiple lawsuits against a single party can be justified, it is classified as barratry if it is done mainly to harass, punish, inconvenience, or impoverish a targeted individual. Barratry also takes the form of frivolous lawsuits filed in order to make a profit.

Barratry is an illegal practice.

Insuranceopedia Explains Barratry

There is a strong incentive for lawyers to sue insurance companies and other wealthy parties for groundless reasons. In doing so, they may not only charge attorney fees but also collect a percentage of any settlement.

Lawyers who seek out accident victims (so-called ambulance chasers) to encourage them to sue are engaging in an act barratry.

Class action lawsuits do not fall under the category of barratry, even when some of the parties in the lawsuit are slated to recover damages without having suffered any personal losses.

While frivolous lawsuits are well known, the term "barratry" has largely fallen into disuse and is not common parlance, even in the legal profession.

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