A conspiracy is an agreement between two or more persons to commit an offence.

One of the problems of the old common law definition of conspiracy was that it was very wide and could include situations dealing with civil matters such as tort. In Kamara v DPP (1974) the defendants agreed to commit the tort of trespass to the land of another. In this case there was a conviction for conspiracy to trespass where the trespass in question was not a criminal trespass.  Notwithstanding that the tort of trespass is a civil matter the defendants were convicted of the criminal offence of conspiracy.


Inchoate offences are specific offences, but they can only be charged in the context of another substantive or main offence. The result being that a person is not charged with 'attempt', 'conspiracy' or 'encouragement' but the person is charged for example with attempted murder or conspiracy to rob.


A conspiracy is an agreement between two or more persons to commit an offence. At one time conspiracy was a common law offence but the Criminal Law Act 1977 changed that and abolished most of the common law offences of conspiracy and replaced them with a new statutory offence of conspiracy. Three types of common law conspiracy still exist, namely:


  • conspiracy to defraud;

  • conspiracy to corrupt public morals;

  • conspiracy to outrage public decency.


Statutory conspiracy is now defined in Section 1 Criminal Law Act 1977 (as amended by Section 5 of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981) as:


'…..if a person agrees with any other person or persons that a course of conduct shall be pursued which, if the agreement is carried out in accordance with their intentions, either:


(a) will necessarily amount to or involve the commission of any offence or offences by one or more of the parties to the agreement, or


(b) would do so but for the existence of facts which render the commission of the offence or any of the offences impossible,


he is guilty of conspiracy to commit the offence or offences in question.'

Inchoate offences: Legal Guidance: The Crown Prosecution Service

Use of the common law offence of conspiracy to defraud ... -

BBC News - Call to change 'criminal conspiracy' law

Related Items

The items below list this as being related in some way.

Amazon's recommended Books

RSS Feeds