Section 1A

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Criminal liability Group or joint liability

This Section sets out the circumstances in which the Criminal Law Act, and its provisions on conspiracy, will have extraterritorial application.

Notes

This provision was inserted by the Criminal Justice (Terrorism and Conspiracy Act 1998). It sets out the circumstances in which the Act will have extraterritorial application. Some connection to England and Wales is required (condition 4), but the threshold does not seem to be particularly high given that a message sent or received in England and Wales is sufficient to invoke the Act in respect of conspiracy offences committed abroad. A conspiracy formulated abroad to commit an offence in England or Wales also falls within jurisdiction, even if no act is carried out within England or Wales. However, a barrier to extraterritorial application is the requirement to obtain the Attorney General’s consent to prosecute.

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Text

Section. 1A. Conspiracy to commit offences outside [England and Wales]

(1) Where each of the following conditions is satisfied in the case of an agreement, this Part of this Act has effect in relation to the agreement as it has effect in relation to an agreement falling within section 1(1) above.

(2) The first condition is that the pursuit of the agreed course of conduct would at some stage involve— (a) an act by one or more of the parties, or (b) the happening of some other event, intended to take place in a country or territory outside [England and Wales]

(3) The second condition is that that act or other event constitutes an offence under the law in force in that country or territory.

(4) The third condition is that the agreement would fall within section 1(1) above as an agreement relating to the commission of an offence but for the fact that the offence would not be an offence triable in England and Wales if committed in accordance with the parties’ intentions.

(5) The fourth condition is that— (a) a party to the agreement, or a party’s agent, did anything in England and Wales in relation to the agreement before its formation, or (b) a party to the agreement became a party in England and Wales (by joining it either in person or through an agent), or (c) a party to the agreement, or a party’s agent, did or omitted anything in England and Wales in pursuance of the agreement.

(6) In the application of this Part of this Act to an agreement in the case of which each of the above conditions is satisfied, a reference to an offence is to be read as a reference to what would be the offence in question but for the fact that it is not an offence triable in England and Wales.

(7) Conduct punishable under the law in force in any country or territory is an offence under that law for the purposes of this section, however it is described in that law.

(8) Subject to subsection (9) below, the second condition is to be taken to be satisfied unless, not later than rules of court may provide, the defence serve on the prosecution a notice— (a) stating that, on the facts as alleged with respect to the agreed course of conduct, the condition is not in their opinion satisfied, (b) showing their grounds for that opinion, and (c) requiring the prosecution to show that it is satisfied.

(9) The court may permit the defence to require the prosecution to show that the second condition is satisfied without the prior service of a notice under subsection (8) above.

(10) In the Crown Court the question whether the second condition is satisfied shall be decided by the judge alone, and shall be treated as a question of law for the purposes of— (a) section 9(3) of the Criminal Justice Act 1987 (preparatory hearing in fraud cases), and (b) section 31(3) of the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 (preparatory hearing in other cases).

(11) Any act done by means of a message (however communicated) is to be treated for the purposes of the fourth condition as done in England and Wales if the message is sent or received in England and Wales.

(12) In any proceedings in respect of an offence triable by virtue of this section, it is immaterial to guilt whether or not the accused was a British citizen at the time of any act or other event proof of which is required for conviction of the offence.

(13) Reference in any enactment, instrument or document (except those in this Part of this Act) to an offence of conspiracy to commit an offence include an offence triable in England and Wales as such a conspiracy by virtue of this section (without prejudice to subsection (6) above).

[…]

(16) Nothing in this section imposes criminal liability on any person acting on behalf of, or holding office under, the Crown.

Law / United Kingdom / Criminal Law Act 1977

The Act establishes the general offence of conspiracy and is therefore relevant in all situations where a conspiracy is alleged, including conspiracy to commit human trafficking, forced labour or slavery, money laundering or otherwise disposing of the proceeds of crime.

There is no provision that specifically applies the Act to corporate bodies, but equally there is no provision excluding corporate bodies from its scope. In R v ICR Haulage & Co. [1944] KB 551 the Court of Appeal held that a company could be liable for the common law offence of conspiracy to defraud, so it is likely that a company could be similarly liable for the statutory conspiracy offence.