Economic tort of unlawful interference
Economic tort of unlawful interference

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

  • Economic tort of unlawful interference
  • What is the tort of unlawful interference?
  • Key elements of the economic tort of unlawful interference
  • Interference with a trade or business required
  • Use of unlawful means against a third party required
  • Intention to injure the claimant required
  • Damage must have occurred
  • Is there a defence to a claim of unlawful interference?
  • Remedies
  • Economic tort of unlawful interference—example cases

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

  2. conspiracy (both by lawful and unlawful means), see Practice Note: Economic tort of conspiracy

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 tort of unlawful interference?

Causing loss by unlawful means exists where the defendant interferes with an economic interest of the claimant by unlawful means, the object and intention of which is to cause loss to the claimant and loss is caused to them (OBG v Allan, Future Investments v Federation Internationale).

Establishing such a claim is not dependent on the existence of contractual relations, so that it is sufficient if the defendant’s intended consequences of their wrongful acts is damage to the claimant in any form, including the claimant’s economic expectations (OBG).

There is sometimes confusion between the economic tort of unlawful interference and the economic tort of inducing or procuring a breach of contract (on which see Practice Note: The tort of procuring a breach of contract). As HHJ Russen