The Aberrant Tort of Lawful Means Conspiracy

31(1) King's Law Journal, 2020

24 Pages Posted: 14 May 2020

See all articles by Stephen Daly

Stephen Daly

King's College London – The Dickson Poon School of Law

Date Written: March 17, 2020


The lawful means conspiracy tort provides an actionable claim where two (or more) parties combine to engage in a lawful activity, but do so with the predominant purpose of harming the claimant, and in fact do so harm. It is a strange tort, in that it renders unlawful because of a combination that which would otherwise be lawful. For this reason, many prominent judges regard the existence of the tort as aberrant. Rather than simply trying to box off the tort in such a manner, others argue that the tort could be built upon to protect interests not currently protected in the law of torts, such as protecting against the intentional infliction of harm.3 This article disagrees with both propositions. The central thesis of the article is that the tort can be rationalized on the grounds of economic power. Given that competition law now governs such issues, it follows that lawful means conspiracy is no longer required as an independent, actionable tort as it is superseded by statute.

Keywords: Tort, Conspiracy, Competition Law

JEL Classification: K13

Suggested Citation

Daly, Stephen, The Aberrant Tort of Lawful Means Conspiracy (March 17, 2020). 31(1) King's Law Journal, 2020. Available at SSRN:

Stephen Daly (Contact Author)

King's College London – The Dickson Poon School of Law ( email )

Somerset House East Wing
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

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