Economic tort of conspiracy

The following Dispute Resolution practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Economic tort of conspiracy
  • What is the economic tort of conspiracy?
  • Unlawful v lawful means conspiracy—the distinction
  • Unlawful v lawful means conspiracy—distinction in pleading
  • Issuing conspiracy claims
  • Lawful means conspiracy—elements of the tort
  • Lawful means conspiracy—combination or concerted action
  • Lawful means conspiracy—predominant purpose damage to the claimant
  • Lawful means conspiracy—overt act in pursuance of the agreement
  • Lawful means conspiracy—damage
  • More...

Economic tort of conspiracy

As set out in The economic torts—overview, the law makes provision to protect a person’s trade or business from acts which are considered to be unacceptable.

For guidance on claims for:

  1. unlawful interference, see Practice Note: Economic tort of unlawful interference

  2. procuring a breach of contract, see Practice Note: The tort of procuring a breach of contract

  3. intentional violation of rights in a judgment debt, see Practice Note: The Marex tort (interference with a judgment debt)

  4. based on the exertion of pressure to act on the claimant, see Practice Note:Economic duress—undue influence—tort of intimidation

Civil claims involving fraud and dishonesty often rely on pleading one or more of the economic torts, on which see Practice Note: Civil fraud—causes of action (heads of claim).

What is the economic tort of conspiracy?

The (so called ‘economic’) tort of conspiracy falls into two categories:

  1. lawful means conspiracy (sometimes also known as conspiracy to injure)

  2. unlawful means conspiracy

Unlawful v lawful means conspiracy—the distinction

Lawful means conspiracy exists where:

  1. a person acts together with others, and

  2. there is a real and predominant purpose to injure another in their trade or person, or their other legitimate interests (Crofter Hand Woven Harris Tweed Co Ltd v Veitch)

There is no requirement for a use of unlawful means. The agreement to act in concert itself creates the unlawfulness.

Unlawful means conspiracy is similar to lawful means

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