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fraud by a master or crew at the expense of the owners of the ship or its cargo.
the offense of frequently exciting and stirring up lawsuits and quarrels.
the purchase or sale of ecclesiastical preferments or of offices of state.
Historical Examples

But of all sins, that of “barratry” was one of the most hateful to him.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 7, Slice 9 Various

But as yet there is nothing but his own raving to convict him of barratry.
Mary Anerley R. D. Blackmore

He looked at barratry from every side, and the more he looked the less he seemed to like it.
Wild Justice: Stories of the South Seas Lloyd Osbourne

For barratry and major sea-crimes, the penalty was death and dismemberment.
Merchantmen-at-Arms David W. Bone

Still, amidst these facts, which seemed to point pretty clearly to a case of barratry, there were serious difficulties.
Toilers of the Sea Victor Hugo

If barratry is insured against, delay arising from barratrous conduct of master or crew does not avoid the policy.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 14, Slice 6 Various

In Scotland, barratry is the crime committed by a judge who is induced by bribery to pronounce judgment.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 3 Various

The instances of barratry and of common scolds, I believe, are the only exceptions.
The Trial of Charles Random de Berenger, Sir Thomas Cochrane, William Brodie Gurney

The diverting a ship from her right course, with evil intent, is barratry.
The Sailor’s Word-Book William Henry Smyth

If you so state, your insurance company will have no recourse but to ask your arrest on a charge of barratry.
Smugglers’ Reef John Blaine

(criminal law) (formerly) the vexatious stirring up of quarrels or bringing of lawsuits
(maritime law) a fraudulent practice committed by the master or crew of a ship to the prejudice of the owner or charterer
(Scots law) the crime committed by a judge in accepting a bribe
the purchase or sale of public or Church offices

early 15c., “sale of ecclesiastical or state offices,” from Old French baraterie “deceit, guile, trickery,” from barat “malpractice, fraud, deceit, trickery,” of unknown origin, perhaps from Celtic. In marine law, “wrongful conduct by a ship’s crew or officer, resulting in loss to owners,” from 1620s. Meaning “offense of habitually starting legal suits” is from 1640s. Sense somewhat confused with that of Middle English baratri “combat, fighting” (c.1400), from Old Norse baratta “fight, contest strife.” This was an active word in Middle English, with forms such as baraten “to disturb the peace” (mid-15c.); baratour “inciter to riot, bully” (late 14c., mid-13c. as a surname). Barataria Bay, Louisiana, U.S., is from Spanish baratear “to cheat, deceive,” cognate of the French word; the bay so called in reference to the difficulty of its entry passages.


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