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A.Word.A.Day--champerty

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champerty (CHAM-puhr-tee) noun

Aiding in a lawsuit in return for a share in the proceeds.

[From Middle English champartie, from Middle French champart (part of the field: a feudal lord's share of his tenant's crop), from champ (field), from Latin campus (field) + part.]

A related term is barratry, the stirring up of baseless lawsuits.

"Champerty, which is illegal in many, but not all, states, occurs when someone helps pay the costs of someone else's lawsuit in exchange for a share of any proceeds." Wade Lambert and Arthur S Hayes; Investing in Patents to File Suits is Curbed; The Wall Street Journal (New York); May 30, 1990.

"Maconochie had been using a British Virgin Islands company called North-South to raise money to take on the bank without breaching the rule of champerty and maintenance. This bans individuals from seeking outside financial help to finance their cases." Mark Westfield; Mac Attack to Tap Backers; The Australian (Sydney); Sep 22, 2000.

This week's theme: words from law.

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