Civil Conspiracy Definition:

 

Republished – article follows


Duhaime’s Law Dictionary

Civil Conspiracy Definition:

A business tort; an agreement by two persons or more to do an unlawful act or a conspiracy to injure another.

Sometimes referred to as conspiracy, the tort of conspiracy, or distinguished by the crime of the same name as a civil conspiracy.

In Mulcahy v The Queen, the English House of Lords described the tort as follows:

“A conspiracy consists not merely in the intention of two or more, but in the agreement of two or more to do an unlawful act, or to do a lawful act by unlawful means.”

The tort of civil conspiracy can be committed in two ways: (a) unlawful conduct directed at the plaintiff which will foreseeably result in damages to the plaintiff; or where the purpose of the conduct is to injure the plaintiff, regardless of whether the means are lawful or unlawful.1

In a 2012 judgment of Justice K. Campbell of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Dale v. Toronto Real Estate Board, offers this description of the two variants of the tort of civil conspiracy, referred to as predominant purpose conspiracy (also known as conspiracy to injure) and unlawful means conspiracy (also known as conspiracy by unlawful means):

“(T)he elements of predominant purpose conspiracy require the plaintiff to establish that: (1) the defendants acted in combination, that is, in concert, by agreement or common design; (2) the predominant purpose of the defendants was to intentionally harm the plaintiff; and (3) the defendants’ conduct caused harm to the plaintiff. The elements of unlawful means conspiracy require the plaintiff to establish that: (1) the defendants acted in combination, again that is, in concert, by agreement or common design; (2) the defendants committed some unlawful act such as a crime, a tort, or breached some statute; (3) the defendants conduct was directed towards the plaintiffs; (4) the defendants knew or ought to have known that injury to the plaintiffs was likely to occur from their unlawful act; and (5) the defendants’ unlawful conduct in furtherance of their conspiracy caused harm to the plaintiff.”

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