The IT Law Wiki


Civil law[]

A civil conspiracy or collusion is an agreement between two or more parties to deprive a third party of legal rights or deceive a third party to obtain an illegal objective. A conspiracy may also refer to a group of people who make an agreement to form a partnership in which each member becomes the agent or partner of every other member and engage in planning or agreeing to commit some act. It is not necessary that the conspirators be involved in all stages of planning or be aware of all details. Any voluntary agreement and some overt act by one conspirator in furtherance of the plan are the main elements necessary to prove a conspiracy. A conspiracy may exist whether legal means are used to accomplish illegal results, or illegal means used to accomplish something legal. Even when no crime is involved, a civil action for conspiracy may be brought by the persons who were damaged.

To state a claim for conspiracy, a party must plead

an agreement to participate in an unlawful overt act that is performed in furtherance of an agreement. The existence of this agreement may be either express or inferred from a defendant's conduct. However, a conspiracy to commit fraud must satisfy the particularity requirement of Rule 9(b).[1]

Criminal law[]

A criminal conspiracy is an agreement between two or more persons to engage in criminal activity at some time in the future, and, in some cases, with at least one overt act in furtherance of that agreement. There is no limit on the number participating in a conspiracy and, in most countries, no requirement that any steps have been taken to put the plan into effect (compare attempts which require proximity to the full offense). For the purposes of concurrence, the actus reus is a continuing one and parties may join the plot later and incur joint liability, and conspiracy can be charged where the co-conspirators have been acquitted or cannot be traced. Finally, repentance by one or more parties does not affect liability but may reduce their sentence.


  1. In re 3Com Securities Litigation, 761 F.Supp. 1411, 1418 (N.D. Cal. 1990).

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