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Barratry is a term that is subject to different definitions. In law practice, it refers to the generation of profit for legal services by an attorney who stirs up a dispute and encourages lawsuits in order to file what is typically a groundless claim. It is an illegal practice in all states.
Barratry is also the act of a ship's captain or crew knowingly endangering the vessel's cargo and/or the vessel itself. Acts that are considered barratry include intentionally sinking the ship, transporting illegal immigrants, and stealing cargo.
The acts of selling positions of authority, especially in the church, is also referred to as barratry.