Giles v Thompson [1993] UKHL 2

This is a case which considers the issue of Champery - legal meddling in others affairs. Champerty is seen as offending public policy and in the main, defendants are protected by this policy.

The interest that the rule of champerty exists to protect (the individual interest) is that of the opposite party.

Steyn LJ described contingency fee agreements as ‘nowadays perhaps the most important species of champerty’ and were ‘still unlawful’. He added that, while champerty had not ‘wither[ed] away’, its ‘scope . . has been shrunk greatly’.

The correct question was whether ‘in accordance with contemporary public policy, the agreement has in fact caused the corruption of public justice. The court must consider the tendency of the agreement.’

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