A stay was sought against a bank which had financed a contract and was supporting litigation arising out of it.
Held: Although the liability in crime and tort had been abolished, Section 14(2) of the 1967 Act preserved the law as to the cases in which a contract is to be treated as contrary to public policy or otherwise illegal. It is perfectly legitimate today for one person to support another in bringing or resisting an action – as by paying the costs of it – provided that he has a legitimate and genuine interest in the result of it and the circumstances are such as reasonably to warrant his giving support.
Oliver LJ discussed the history of the law of champerty in some detail, saying: ‘Maintenance and champerty . . have, since 1967, ceased to [attract criminal pemalties] . . Only in the field of contractual rights and duties do they still cast their shadow . . and even in this field the trend of all the recent authorities has been to foreshorten the shadow. . There is, I think a clear requirement of public policy that officers of the court should be inhibited from putting themselves in a position where their own interests may conflict with their duties to the court by agreement, for instance, of so called ‘contingency fees’.’
Denning, Oliver LJJ
 QB 629,  3 All ER 721,  3 WLR 367
Criminal Law Act 1967 14(2)
England and Wales
Cited – Hill v Archbold CA 1968
Denning LJ said: ‘Much maintenance is considered justifiable today which would in 1914 have been considered obnoxious. Most of the actions in our courts are supported by some association or other, or by the State itself. Comparatively a few . .
Cited – Abraham and Another v Thompson and Another CA 24-Jul-1997
The plaintiffs appealed an order that they should disclose who if any had funded their case. The case concerned failed business ventures in Portugal. . .
Considered – Picton Jones and Co v Arcadia Developments 1989
The plaintiff chartered surveyors agreed to act in the purchase of amusement arcades, on the basis that their fees would be payable ‘in the event of ultimate success.’ The work involved applications for gaming licences and planning permissions. The . .
Appeal from – Trendtex Trading Corporation v Credit Suisse HL 1981
A party had purported to sue having taken an assignment of a dishonoured letter of credit, in the context of the abolition of maintenance and champerty as crimes and torts in the 1967 Act.
Held: The assignment was struck down as champertous, . .
Cited – Giles v Thompson, Devlin v Baslington (Conjoined Appeals) HL 1-Jun-1993
Car hire companies who pursued actions in motorists’ names to recover the costs of hiring a replacement vehicle after an accident, from negligent drivers, were not acting in a champertous and unlawful manner. Lord Mustill said: ‘there exists in . .
Cited – Sibthorpe and Morris v London Borough of Southwark CA 25-Jan-2011
The court was asked as to the extent to which the ancient rule against champerty prevents a solicitor agreeing to indemnify his claimant client against any liability for costs which she may incur against the defendant in the litigation in which the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Litigation Practice, Torts – Other
Updated: 10 December 2021; Ref: scu.183809