Last edited 25 May 2018

Conflict of interest

A conflict of interest is said to have occurred if the best interest of a client is impeded, or might be perceived to have been impeded, by an individual or organisation. Generally, a conflict of interest relates to the actual or perceived impartiality of an individual or organisation in their dealings with the client.

Care should be taken to avoid conflicts of interest arising as they can have a negative impact on an individual or organisation’s perceived integrity or reputation.

Common conflicts of interest include:

  • Acting for more than one client or stakeholder with competing interests at the same time.
  • Existing obligations that affect a relationship with a client.
  • Conflicting duties owed to different clients.

Conflicts of interest can be avoided by adopting and following rules relating to declarations, transparency and resolution. The conflict should be declared at the earliest opportunity to all relevant stakeholders and it is advisable to secure written agreement to proceed. By being transparent, misunderstandings can be avoided.

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