Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Barratry


What is the dictionary definition of Barratry?

Dictionary Definition

  1. The act of persistently instigating lawsuits, often groundless ones
  2. The sale and/or purchase of political positions of power
  3. admiralty legal unlawful or fraudulent acts by the crew of a vessel, harming the vessel’s owner.

n. creating legal business by stirring up disputes and quarrels, generally for the benefit of the lawyer who sees fees in the matter. Barratry is illegal in all states and subject to criminal punishment and/or discipline by the state bar, but there must be a showing that the resulting lawsuit was totally groundless. There is a lot of border-line barratry in which attorneys, in the name of being tough or protecting the client, fail to seek avenues for settlement of disputes or will not tell the client he/she has no legitimate claim.

Full Definition of Barratry

In criminal and civil law, the act or practice of bringing repeated legal actions solely to harass. Usually, the actions brought lack merit. This practice has been declared a crime in some jurisdictions (e.g. the United States). In England and Wales, however, the offence was abolished in 1967. The term has also fallen into disuse in Australia.

Barratry also refers to the act of soliciting legal business from potential clients based on a particular event. For example, a solicitor who stops at the scene of a car accident or follows an ambulance to the hospital in hopes of finding and soliciting business from an injured and aggrieved person might be accused of barratry. A lawyer who engages in this practice is pejoratively termed an ‘ambulance chaser’.

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Barratry. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd.
February 02, 2023
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Barratry. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: February 02, 2023).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Barratry. Retrieved February 02, 2023
, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Barratry are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 26th April, 2020 | 0 Views.