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 between two or more persons
  • Lawful means conspiracy—predominant purpose to cause 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)

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 conspiracy, except that the defendants agree to use unlawful means to bring about the conspiracy. Where unlawful means

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