1 Frost v. Belmont, 6 Allen, 152; Tool Company v. Norris, 2 Wall. 45.-s
*Agreements to indemnify persons against the consequences of illegal acts fall within the same rule as contracts directly to obstruct the administration of justice (n)1 So also do all promises which are made to obtain release from duress of person by illegal arrest, or under compulsion of colourable legal process, whereby it is made the instrument of oppression or extortion; but not where the arrest was legal (o); and for similar reasons money extorted by duress of the plaintiff's goods, and paid by him under protest, may be recovered back (p).2
(n) Shackell v. Rosier, 2 Bing. N. C. (29 E. C. L. R.) 634. A contract with one who becomes bail for another on a criminal charge to indemnify him against his liability as bail is illegal as being against public policy. Wilson v. Strug-nell, 7 Q. B. D. 548; 50 L. J. (M. C.) 145.
(o) See The Duke de Cadaval v. Collins, 4 A. & E. (31 E. C. L. R.) 858; Cummingsv. Hooper, 11 Q. B. (63 E. C. L. R.) 112; Johnson v. Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, L. R. 3 C. P. 38; 37 L. J. (C. P.) 33.
(p) Ashmole v. Wainwright, 2 Q. B. (42 E. C. L. R.) 837; Wakefield v. Newton, 6 Q. B. (51 E. C. L. R.) 276; Fernley v. Branson, 20 L. J. (Q. B ) 178.
1 Mitchell v. Vance, 5 Mon. 529; unless the illegal act is already done, in which case, the agreement to indemnify is no encourgement to do future harm: Hackett v. Tilly, 11 Mon. 93; Kneeland v. Rogers, 2 Hall, 587. Thus a bond given to a sheriff to indemnify him against a voluntary escape which had happened is valid, though if given in anticipation of such an escape it would fall within the general rule: Given v. Diggs, 1 Cai. 450; Doty v. Wilson, 14 Johns. 381; and these cases, it will be perceived, are analogous in principle to those which, while holding to be invalid bonds executed in consideration of a future separation between husband and wife, yet enforce such instruments where the separation is to be immediate, or has already taken place.-k.
An agreement to indemnify a sheriff for an act to be done by him in plain violation of his official duty, is invalid; but such an agreement, in the case of a disputed right, is lawful: Shotwell v. Hamblin, 23 Miss. 156.-s.
2 It is no objection to the validity of a contract fairly entered into, where no advantage was sought or taken by the other party, that at the time of entering into it he was under arrest; but where legal process has been used as a means of oppression and to extort disadvantageous terms from a party in custody, instruments in writing so obtained will be set aside: Stebbins v. Niles, 25 Miss. 267; Wells v. Barnett, 7 Tex. 584; Smith v. Atwood, 14 Ga. 402. A note given by a person lawfully imprisoned in order to procure his discharge, is not invalid as being given under duress: Bates v. Butler, 46 Me. 387.
Maintenance and champerty are so often talked of as contracts having an illegal object and consideration, that they seem to require a slight allusion here. Maintenance consists in one who has no interest in the subject of a suit, and no just right to interfere in it, aiding by money or otherwise the parties interested. This is forbidden by the law, whose policy has always been to discourage *disputes and litigation. A contract therefore with such an object is void; but a man who has an interest in the cause, or reasonably thinks he has, is not guilty of maintenance if he prosecutes it in common with others, and his agreement so to do is good (q). If a person, having no interest in a suit, interferes with the object of sharing in the fruits of the suit, this is champerty (r). If, therefore, an attorney agrees not to charge his client costs, in consideration of having for himself a proportion of what he may recover for him, this agreement is champerty, and consequently illegal and void (s).1 If
(q) Findon v. Parker, 11 M. & W. 675. See also as to an action for maintenance lying against the maintainer: Bradlaugh v. Newdegate, 11 Q. B. D. 1; 52 L. J. (Q. B.) 454.
(r) Williams v. Protheroe, 3 Y. & J. 129; Stanley v. Jones, 7 Bing. (20 E. C. L. R.) 369; Hilton v. Woods, 36 L. J. (Ch.) 941.
(s) Re Masters, 4 D. P. C. 18, per Coleridge, J.; ex parte Yeatman, lb. 384; Earle v. Hopwood, 30 L. J. (C. P.) 217.
As to duress of imprisonment see Phelps v. Zuschlag, 34 Tex. 371; Feller v. Green, 26 Mich. 70. An employment of criminal process to obtain civil redress is a misuse of process and a fraud upon the law; and securities procured under the pressure of such a proceeding, by the party promoting it, cannot be enforced: Seiber v. Price, 26 Mich. 518. An arrest under a legal warrant if the object is to extort money or to coerce the settlement of a civil claim constitutes duress: Hackett v. King, 6 Allen, 58.
As to duress per minas see Green v. Scranage, 19 Iowa, 461; Tapley v. Tapley, 10 Minn. 448; Bane v. Detrick, 52 111. 19; Thurman v. Burt, 53 lb. 129; Bosley v. Shanner, 26 Ark. 280; Knapp v. Hyde, 60 Barb. 80; Miller v. Miller, 68 Pa. St. 486; Plant v. Gunn, 2 Wood, 372; Smith v. Rowley, 66 Barb. 502.
As to duress of property see Spaids v. Barrett, 57 111. 289; Hibbard v. Mills, 46 Vt. 243.-s.
1 Upon the subject of " contingent fees" the law is not uniform throughout no suit be depending, or any stipulation for the commencement of one, a contract to supply documents and information whereby property may be recovered, in consideration of a share of the property when recovered, is legal. But if persons, having themselves no claim the various States. Perhaps it is a fair statement of the preponderating opinion of the better class of the profession to say that while it is generally recognized that cases may arise in which a lawyer is warranted in undertaking the case of a client who will be unable to compensate him unless successful in the suit, because a refusal might result in a failure to establish a just claim and a practical denial of justice to the suitor, still such engagements are to be entered into with extreme caution. The practice of taking cases as a general rule upon an agreement that compensation is to be contingent upon success would be generally condemned. See Judge Sharswood's " Professional Ethics " upon this subject, and also an interesting controversy in the Albany Law Journal (vol. 23, pp. 441, 479, 484, and vol. 24, pp. 4, 18, 24).