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Qui tam

Qui tam is a legal term that arises from the Latin phrase “qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur,” which means “he who sues in this matter for the king as well as for himself.” Qui tam actions refer to lawsuits where a whistleblower or relator, who is a private individual, files a lawsuit on behalf of the government against a person or company that is suspected of violating the law. These actions are typically associated with fraud that affects the government.

In a qui tam lawsuit, the whistleblower usually has direct knowledge of fraudulent activities, such as false claims for government payments or contracts. The whistleblower files a lawsuit under seal, which means it is kept confidential initially, and provides evidence to the government. The government then investigates the allegations and, if it decides to pursue the case, it may decide to intervene and take over the prosecution. If the government is successful in the lawsuit, the whistleblower may be entitled to a percentage of the damages recovered. This serves as an incentive for people to report fraud.

Qui tam provisions are often included in laws such as the False Claims Act in the United States. These provisions allow private citizens to file lawsuits on behalf of the government to recover funds lost to fraud. These types of actions play a crucial role in uncovering and prosecuting fraud against government programs and contracts.

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