Two legal concepts go by the name barratry: one in criminal and civil law, the other in admiralty law.
In criminal law, barratry is the act or practice of bringing repeated legal actions solely to harass. Usually, the actions brought lack merit. This action has been declared a crime in some jurisdictions.
In admiralty law, barratry is a fraudulent act committed by a master or crew of a vessel which damages the vessel or its cargo, including desertion, illegal scuttling, and theft of the ship or cargo.
A third meaning also exists: the buying and selling of positions of authority, especially those within the church. This meaning is synonymous with simony.