MAINTENANCE (Fr. maintenance, from maintenir, to maintain, support, Lat. manu tenere, to hold in the hand). The action of giving support, supplying means of subsistence, keeping efficient or in working order. In English law maintenance is an officious intermeddling in an action that in no way belongs to one by maintaining or assisting either party, with money or otherwise, to prosecute or defend it. It is an indictable offence, both at common law and by statute, and punishable by fine and imprisonment. It invalidates all contracts involving it. It is also actionable. There are, however, certain cases in which maintenance is justifiable, e.g. any one who has an interest, even if it be only contingent, in the matter at variance can maintain another in an action concerning the matter; or several parties who have a common interest in the same thing may maintain one another in a suit concerning the same. Neither is it reckoned maintenance to assist another in his suit on charitable grounds, or for a master to assist his servant, or a parent his son, or a husband his wife. The law with regard to the subject is considered at length in Bradlaugh v. Newdegate, 1883, 11 Q.B.D. 1. See also Champerty. For the practice of “livery and maintenance” see English History, §§ v. and vi.
A cap of maintenance, i.e. a cap of crimson velvet turned up with ermine, is borne, as one of the insignia of the British sovereign, immediately before him at his coronation or on such state occasions as the opening of parliament. It is carried by the hereditary bearer, the marquess of Winchester, upon a white wand. A similar cap is also borne before the lord mayor of London. The origin of this symbol of dignity is obscure. It is stated in the New English Dictionary that it was granted by the pope to Henry VII. and Henry VIII. It is probably connected with the “cap of estate” or “dignity,” sometimes also styled “cap of maintenance,” similar to the royal symbol with two peaks or horns behind, which is borne as a heraldic charge by certain families. It seems originally to have been a privilege of dukes. Where it is used the crest is placed upon it, instead of on the usual wreath.