Definition of champerty in English:



mass nounLaw
  • An illegal agreement in which a person with no previous interest in a lawsuit finances it with a view to sharing the disputed property if the suit succeeds.

    • ‘Historically, English and American common law has prohibited champerty - and officially, that is still the American rule.’
    • ‘The rules have been around since the mediaeval laws about champerty and barratry.’
    • ‘It is said to be Victoria where the agreement is made, a State in which maintenance and champerty is no longer unlawful, perhaps not even tortious.’
    • ‘It is a defence to the tort of maintenance or champerty that the person interfering in the litigation has an interest recognised by law in the proceedings.’
    • ‘First, that ought to weigh with the court in considering, in connection with the law of champerty, whether the agreement into which he entered was justifiable.’


Late Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French champartie, from Old French champart ‘feudal lord's share of produce’, from Latin campus ‘field’ + pars ‘part’.