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Report No. 29

17. Restrictive trade practices.-Other types of activities on which attention has been focussed in England in recent times are restrictive trade practices1, though the legislation on this subject2 is not so widely framed as "anti-trust legislation" in the United States of America.

1. For a summary, see Sir David Cairns Monopolies and Restrictive Practices in Ginsberg (Editor). Law and Opinion in England in the 20th Century, (1959) p. 113 et seq. See also "Monopolies, Mergers and Restrictive Practices", (1964), Cmd. 2299, and Report of the Royal Commission on the Press (1962), Cmd. 1811.

2. The Monopolies and Restrictive Practices (Inquiry and Control) Act, 1948; the Monopolies, etc., Commission Act, 1953 (now repealed); the Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1956; the Re-sale Prices Act, 1964, (c. 58); and the Monopolies and Mergers Act, 1965, (c. 50).

18. Conspiracy.-Apart from these statutory provisions1 there is the common law offence of "conspiracy", in England, the scope and application of which may be wide enough to cover many fraudulent transactions not covered by specific criminal statutes2.

We may quote the observations of Fitzgerald J. in one of the leading cases on conspiracy3:-

"A conspiracy consists in the agreement of two or more to do an unlawful act, or to do a lawful act by unlawful means. By the terms "illegal" and "unlawful", it is not intended to confine the definition to an act that would be in itself be a crime or an offence. They extend to and may embrace many cases in which the purpose of a conspiracy, if effected by one person only, would not be a criminal act; as for instance, if several persons combined to violate a private right, the violation of which, if done by one, would be wrongful but not in itself criminal. If, for instance a tenant withholds his rent, that is a violation of the right of his landlord to receive it, but would not be a criminal act in the tenant, though it would be the violation of a right. But if two or more incite him to do that act, their agreement so to incite him is by the law of the land an offence."

He further observed, "Conspiracy has been aptly described as divisible under three heads4:-

"where the end to be attained is in itself a crime; where the object is to do injury to a third party or to a class, though if that injury were effected by a single individual it would be a civil wrong but not a criminal; and where the object is lawful, but the means to be resorted to are unlawful ..............The law of conspiracy is not an invention of modern times. It is part of our common law; it has existed from time immemorial. It is necessary to redress certain classes of injuries which at times would be intolerable, and which but for it would go unpunished".

1. Paras. 14 to 17, supra.

2. See Appendix 30, for a detailed discussion.

3. R. v. Parnell, (1881) 14 Cox CC 508, (Fitzgerald J.) (Irish Queen's Bench Division). See Turner and Armitage Cases on Criminal Law, (1964) p. 173.

4. This analysis was referred in Crofter Harris Tweed Co. v. Veitch, (1942) 1 All ER 162 (171) (HL).

19. In the United States of America, the expression "white-collar crime" was made current by Sutherland.1Certain other authorities had also pointed out the damage to society from the upper socio-economic groups which exploited the accepted economic system to the detriment of the masses2-3.

1. Sutherland White-collar Criminality, American Sociological Review (February, 1940), pp. 1-12.

2. See Barnes & Teeters New Horizons in Criminology, (1959) p. 41.

3. See also para. 10, supra.



Proposal to include certain Social and Economic Offences in the Indian Penal Code Back




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