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Conspiracy to pervert the course of justice is an offence that can come with a stiff punishment. This article provides detailed guidance on the typical sentencing for this offence.

What is the sentence for Conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in 2024?

The act of agreeing with two or more persons to prevent justice being served on somebody is the offence of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

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It’s the role of the prosecution to prove that an offence happened. The prosecution must show that the conspiracy to pervert the course of justice crime involved those accused who were acting together, in an expressed, implied or assumed ‘agreement’. It must also be shown through direct or circumstantial evidence the intention to pervert the course of justice.

Conspirers typically plan the perversion to occur in one of three ways, including:

Being found guilty and convicted of the offence of the conspiracy to pervert the course of justice can lead to imprisonment. Depending on what’s happened,  a penalty might be a short period or a longer term, as detailed below.

To aid understanding of the sentencing for being convicted of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, we’ve laid out some of the questions that our clients typically ask. You’ll find the answers, but if you don’t find information that you would like to see, get in touch with us. You can complete this form or call us on 0208 888 5225. We’re here to help and happy to do so.

Please make note that an experienced and competent solicitor may be able to get any prison sentence reduced or even avoid it entirely.

Have you been charged or arrested for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice? 

Being charged or arrested for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice can be very alarming. You’ll wonder what effect being found guilty and convicted may have on your life. Will your reputation be in tatters, will it affect future employment, and if you are sent to prison, how will you maintain your primary relationship and familial bonds?

As soon as you discover that you’re under investigation or charged with this crime, you must get a legal advisor to support you. Depending on your circumstances, they may even be able to get your case quashed before it goes any further.

A lawyer will be able to demand to see all evidence held on you. He or she can then begin to craft a robust defence strategy to provide you with protection against the prosecution. Every piece of evidence is examined for flaws, failings and discrepancies.

You’ll feel anxious, nervous and fearful about what the outcome of any court case might be. It’s crucial to your future to get your name off any case if you have no connection to it.

What type of actions are involved in a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice?

A conspiracy to pervert the course of justice is when two or more people agree to a course of action that will result in justice not being served on somebody. It may be one of the parties involved in the offence or another third party.

This offence is more about making the plan rather than acting out the prevention of justice being served. Even if the planned event does not take place, the mere act of planning to get involved in justice prevention is enough to be put through a court trial and sentenced to a term in prison if found guilty and therefore convicted.

As in any court case, the role of the prosecution is to prove that the accused are guilty. The prosecution needs to prove to the jury and Judge that without doubt, the people involved were acting together. This agreement might be implied or assumed, but the intention was to cause a perversion to the course of justice.

What is the average sentence for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice?  

Conspiracy to pervert the course of justice is a grave offence in law.  If found guilty and convicted, your punishment may be a prison sentence of up to 7 years.

What are some of the mitigating factors that might reduce the conspiracy to pervert the course of justice sentence?

Certain aspects of a case are known as the mitigating aspects which can influence the sentence that a judge gives. One of the factors judges consider in every case of this nature is the defendant’s level of genuine remorse.

The following are some of the other factors considered when the Court decides which sentence to give. They will look at:

  • Any previous conviction
  • Your level of remorse
  • Your level of cooperation with the investigation
  • Whether the activity you took part in was originally legitimate
  • Your reputation / good character
  • Whether you have any serious medical conditions that require long term, urgent or intensive treatment
  • Whether you have a learning disability or a mental disorder
  • Whether you are the sole or primary carer for related dependents

Is it possible to reduce a sentence for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice with a guilty plea?

In recent years, several changes have been made to the sentencing system in the UK to save the court time and cost and to protect witnesses from the stress of needlessly going through a trial. For offenders aged 18 and over, pleading guilty early on in a case can reduce a sentence by as much as one third (maximum). The later the plea is entered, the smaller the reduction.

‘Early on’ refers to ‘the first stage of the proceedings’ and means anytime up to and including the first hearing at the Magistrates Court or Crown Court for indictable offences.

If a plea is entered 14 days after the first hearing, for example, the maximum level of reduction is just 20% or one-fifth of the sentence. For indictable offences, the limit for a guilty plea to be made is within 28 days after the prosecutor has stated compliance with section 3 of CPIA 1996 and serving disclosure. However, the decision is ultimately in the hands of the Judge, who has the discretion to apply whatever credit is deemed appropriate.

After these times, there is a sliding scale of credit applied. This goes down to one-tenth on the first day of the trial and to zero if entered during the course of the trial. In theory, the ten per cent could be given if the plea is issued after the opening speeches on the first day, but prior to any witness evidence being heard.

If the accused does not want to plead guilty, then it’s essential for the solicitor to regularly inform the Court throughout the trial of the reasons why the client’s plea is not guilty.

What are some of the other consequences of the conspiracy to pervert the course of justice offence?

Ancillary Orders

A court can also make ancillary orders on a defendant if they are found guilty and convicted of a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice offence. These are extra elements of punishment that can be added to a sentence and include additional restrictions or requirements that can affect a dependent’s finances, your property or business or financial activity.

Ancillary orders that are typically added to the penalty for those who are found to be guilty of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice include:

  • Compensation for loss
  • Restraint orders
  • Reparation orders
  • Being on licence
  • Confiscation orders

As part of your investigation, you may also have your assets frozen with the possibility of having cash or other assets seized.

In addition, the Court may demand payment of the following if the accused is convicted:

Payment of costs applied for by the prosecutors

Although the police meet some of the costs involved in the prosecution, the costs of investigation are typically sought from the convicted. These may include the costs of:

  • The work done in obtaining enough evidence for prosecution either at the initial stage or later at the request of Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
  • Seeking medical or expert evidence as part of the investigation, (where a witness is required to attend Court, the cost of the attendance falls on the CPS).
  • Re-interviewing witnesses
  • The entire costs of the prosecutor, including fees for the use of external Barristers used by the CPS, can be recovered from the defendant, subject to means. At the end of the case, the prosecutor under The Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 will request the Judge to order a sum to be paid for the costs incurred by the prosecutor in bringing the prosecution.

Victims surcharges

The term victims’ surcharges can be explained as paying compensation to a fund for victims and can range between £20 to £170 depending on what sentence you were given at conviction.

How sentences can be added to national information databases

Several national databases hold information about individuals and any allegations made about them, their criminal and court records. These include the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) which was previously known as the CRB (Criminal Record Bureau) and the Police National Computer (PNC).  Depending on what happened, whether the accused is convicted and what sentence was issued, the accused may be added to one or all these databases. Their purpose is to provide information to potential employers and to regulate the ability to take part in certain activities.

If your case progresses to Court and you are convicted of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, your conviction will be noted on your CRB / police record. The period of the endorsement will depend on the nature and length of your sentence.

Below are details on how long you will be listed as holding a criminal record if convicted. This is something very serious to consider when it comes to future employment. The term ‘spent’ refers to when your name can be removed from the databases.

Rehabilitation Period
(the time it takes for the sentence to become ‘spent’)
Sentence Adult (aged 18+) at time of conviction Young person (aged under 18) at time of conviction
Prison sentences of more than 4 years Sentence is never spent Sentence is never spent
Prison sentences of more than 2.5 years (30 months) but less than 4 years Sentence length 7 years Sentence length 3.5 years
Prison sentences of more than 6 months but less than 2.5 years (30 months) Sentence length +4 years Sentence length +2 years
Prison sentences of less than 6 months Sentence length + 2 years Sentence length +18 months
Conditional Discharge Length of order Length of order
Absolute Discharge None None
Conditional Caution 3 months 3 months
Simple Caution / Youth Caution None – immediately ‘spent’ None – immediately ‘spent’
Other Including Compensation Order, Supervision Order, Bind Over, Hospital Order Length of the order / once compensation is paid Length of the order / once compensation is paid

How Can Stuart Miller Solicitors Help?

Using over 30 years of experience and collective expertise, our criminal solicitors know the offence of conspiring to pervert the course of justice inside out.

At Stuart Miller Solicitors, our team have some of the sharpest and most experienced legal minds in the country. We understand that this is a crucial and challenging time for our clients. Every case that we take on is assigned a dedicated team to support and guide the client through the challenging terrain of law.

Arrest & Interview

As soon as you hear that you’re being investigated, arrested or interviewed about your suspected involvement in a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice case, you must seek legal guidance.

The police force train for gaining convictions, and your case will be no exception. They will want to meet with you and record your answers to a set of probing and intrusive questions. The objective will be to try to get you to incriminate yourself by providing further evidence that will be recorded and used against you in Court.

You will be shown some of the evidence that the police have on you. Still, it’s unlikely that the police will disclose all without it being demanded by a lawyer who specialises in defending cases of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Would you like to discuss your case before instructing us?

If a free 30-minute consultation with a lawyer would give you some support, we are here for you. You can ask questions, share your concerns, and find out more about how we can help you to get the most favourable outcome.

The session will be a no-obligation chat. To arrange it, please complete our contact form or call us on 0208 888 5225.

In addition to giving you a free consultation, we can also represent you at the police station if you are under arrest. We can look at securing your legal aid. Legal aid is becoming more challenging to obtain, however, if you don’t qualify do know that we offer highly competitive fees and don’t tack on unexplained charges, as some solicitors do.

Get in touch with us now for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice legal help.


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