Home >> Business Encyclopedia And Legal Adviser >> Bank Rate to Clearing >> Barbed Wire

Barbed Wire

barratry, authority, fence, offence, local and occupier

BARBED WIRE means any wire with spikes or jagged projections ; and its use for fences in roads, streets, lanes, and other thoroughfares is prohibited in the United Kingdom by the Barbed Wire Act, 1893. Where there is on any land adjoining a thoroughfare, a fence made with barbed wire, or in which barbed wire has been placed so that it may probably be injurious to persons or animals lam fully using such thoroughfare, such fence will be deemed a nuisance. The local authority may give notice to the occupier of land requiring him to abate the nuisance within a time not less than one month nor more than six months after the date of the notice. If the occupier does not comply with such notice, the local authority may apply to a court of summary jurisdiction ; which court, if satisfied that the fence is probably injurious as above mentioned, will direct the occupier to abate the nuisance ; in default of his so doing, the local authority may itself do whatever it deems necessary, and charge the occupier with the expenses. Unless the local authority is itself the offender, in which case a ratepayer may take the above proceed ings, it would seem that such proceedings can be taken by the local authority only.

Apart from statute, a person who uses barbed wire does so at his own peril ; but if the injury is to a mere trespasser and the wire is person's own land, there would be no liability. Where S. was lawfully passing along a public footpath, and the wind blew his coat against an adjoining barbed fence belonging to W., the latter was held liable for the damage done to the coat, on the ground that the fence was dangerous and a nuisance.

barratry is the offence of frequently exciting and stirring up suits and quarrels between his Majesty's subjects, either at law or otherwise. The offence is a misdemeanour, punishable by fine and imprisonment, and it should be distinguished from an offence bearing to it a near relation, and called maintenance. The latter occurs where any one officiously intermeddles in a suit that in no way concerns him, by maintaining or assisting either party with money or otherwise, to prosecute or defend it ; it being an offence against public justice, keeping alive strife and contention, and perverting the remedial process of the law into an engine of oppression.

A man may, however, maintain the suit of his near relative, servant, or poor neighbour, out of charity and compassion, with impunity ; but otherwise the punishment is fine or imprisonment. Also closely allied hereto is the offence of champerty, which is a kind of maintenance and is punished in the same manner, and consists of a bargain with a praintiff or defendant by which, in case of success, the subject of the litigation is to be divided between them, the " champertor" agreeing to carry on the suit at his own expense. Such a bargain cannot be enforced in law, it coming under the head of illegal con tracts, and is therefore void.

In marine insurance the term barratry may be defined as including every wrongful act wilfully committed by the master or crew with intent to defraud the owner, or, as the case may be, the charterer. It is essential that the wrongful act should be done with criminal or fraudulent intention, and not as a result of merely gross ignorance, mistake, or misapprehension of instructions. To sail out of port without paying port dues, whereby the ship and goods become liable to forfeiture ; to wilfully break through a blockade, though for the owner's benefit, and to engage in smuggling, are all instances of barratry on the part of the master. Shipowners are liable to the owners of the cargo for damage resulting from barratry, unless there is an express exemption therefrom in the contract. The exception of " danger of the seas and lire" introduced into a bill of lading does not extend to except a liability for barratry.