The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Conspiracy
  • Statutory conspiracy
  • The agreement—the heart of a conspiracy
  • A course of conduct to be pursued
  • If carried out in accordance with their intentions
  • Necessarily amount to or involve the commission of an offence
  • Evidential considerations
  • Confessions and guilty pleas of co-conspirators
  • Acquittal of the other offender
  • Jurisdiction
  • More...


There are three main inchoate offences in English law:

  1. conspiracy—where at least two people have agreed to commit a crime

  2. attempt—where the defendant has tried to commit the offence and has got relatively close to achieving the objective (see Practice Note: Attempt), and

  3. encouraging or assisting a crime (formerly incitement)—where the defendant must have encouraged or assisted another to commit a crime (see Practice Note: Encouraging and assisting criminality)

An inchoate offence is one that is incomplete. Such offences are committed where the defendant takes certain steps towards the commission of a crime, but the actions fall short of the consummated crime. The exception to this is conspiracy to defraud, where the result to be achieved does not need to be a crime. This particular offence is dealt with in a separate Practice Note: Conspiracy to defraud.

Inchoate offences cannot be charged on their own, ie there is no charge of conspiracy or attempt. There must be a substantive offence and the indictment must be drafted with reference to the complete offence, eg conspiracy to murder. Most inchoate offences cannot be mixed and most cannot be attempted, with limited exceptions. You cannot conspire to aid and abet, neither can you attempt to conspire.

The inchoate offence of conspiracy is divided into statutory and common law conspiracies. Common law conspiracy is limited only to conspiracy

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