Maintenance means giving financial aid to some party to continue litigation. Financial aid is given by a person who has no interest in the litigation. It is an unlawful upholding of a party by word, writing countenance or deed. It is defined as officious intermeddling by pecuniary or other assistance with another’s litigation in which the intermeddler has no concern.
Champerty is that form of maintenance in which the intermeddler renders assistance for bargaining for a share of the profits of litigation. If a person agrees to maintain a suit in which he has no interest, proceeding is known as maintenance; if he bargains for a share of the result to be ultimately decreed in a suit in consideration of assisting in its maintenance, it is styled champerty. Every champerty (Champiar titio)
is maintenance, but every maintenance is not champerty, for champerty is but a species of maintenance, which is the genus. Maintenance is not actionable per se.
In an action for maintenance it is essential to prove special damage. The success of a maintenance litigation, whether an action or a defence is not bar to the right of action for maintenance.
Justification for maintenance: In the following cases maintenance of legal proceedings is not unlawful:
1. Common interest: Where the person maintaining has an interest in the subject-matter, e.g., master for a servant, or a servant for a master, an heir, a brother, a son-in-law, a brother-in-law, a landlord defending his tenant in a suit for title. But in all these cases the interest should be a real and valuable interest in the result of the suit itself, either present or contingent or future, or the interest which consanguinity or affinity to the suitor gives to the man who aids him of, the interest arising from the connection of the parties.
2. Charitable motive: Maintenance of suit to help a third person out of charitable motive believing that he was a poor man oppressed by a rich man or from religious sympathy.
3. Law of maintenance does not apply to criminal proceedings. Every member of the, public may set the criminal law in motion, and he is not liable unless the prosecution is malicious.