The Civil Law Act 1977 contains a statutory offence of conspiracy to commit an offence. This offence is established if a person agrees with another to pursue a course of conduct that, if carried out in accordance with their intentions, will either:
- amount to or involve the commission of any offence by one or more of the parties to that agreement; or
- would do so but for the existence of facts which render the commission of the offence or any offences impossible.
This is particularly relevant where two or more persons agree, for example, to pay a bribe, as it would catch all persons who reached that agreement, regardless of which person actually paid the bribe and even regardless of whether the bribe was in fact paid at all. The penalties for the statutory offence replicate those of the offence which was the object of the conspiracy.
There is also a separate wider, common law offence of conspiracy to defraud, which makes it an offence to agree with another to act dishonestly either:
- to deprive a person of something which is his or of something to which he is, or would, or might, but for the perpetration of the fraud, be entitled; or
- to do an act which tends to corrupt public morals or outrage public decency, whether or not the act amounts to a crime.