conflict of interest

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Conflict of Interest

A term used to describe the situation in which a public official or fiduciary who, contrary to the obligation and absolute duty to act for the benefit of the public or a designated individual, exploits the relationship for personal benefit, typically pecuniary.

In certain relationships, individuals or the general public place their trust and confidence in someone to act in their best interests. When an individual has the responsibility to represent another person—whether as administrator, attorney, executor, government official, or trustee—a clash between professional obligations and personal interests arises if the individual tries to perform that duty while at the same time trying to achieve personal gain. The appearance of a conflict of interest is present if there is a potential for the personal interests of an individual to clash with fiduciary duties, such as when a client has his or her attorney commence an action against a company in which the attorney is the majority stockholder.

Incompatibility of professional duties and personal interests has led Congress and many state legislatures to enact statutes defining conduct that constitutes a conflict of interest and specifying the sanctions for violations. A member of a profession who has been involved in a conflict of interest might be subject to disciplinary proceedings before the body that granted permission to practice that profession.


Attorney Misconduct; Ethics, Legal.

conflict of interest

n. a situation in which a person has a duty to more than one person or organization, but cannot do justice to the actual or potentially adverse interests of both parties. This includes when an individual's personal interests or concerns are inconsistent with the best for a customer, or when a public official's personal interests are contrary to his/her loyalty to public business. An attorney, an accountant, a business adviser or realtor cannot represent two parties in a dispute and must avoid even the appearance of conflict. He/she may not join with a client in business without making full disclosure of his/her potential conflicts, he/she must avoid commingling funds with the client, and never, never take a position adverse to the customer.

conflict of interest

noun conflict, divergent interrsts between clients, ethical breach, prohibiting acceptance or retention of a case, variance of interest between clients
Associated concepts: code of professional responsibility
See also: disagreement
References in periodicals archive ?
Markides retorted that rules on conflict of interest apply where a specific group may be affected, and not the entire population, where everyone needs to fill up the gas tank.
Dobrev pointed out that he would propose a differentiated rate of one salary of the fine between the first and second reading of the bill, stressing that the Conflict of Interest Act also applied to directors of village schools, whose salaries were nothing like that of MPs or ministers.
On examination of the agreement setting out details of the services to be provided by the company and the remuneration for these services, it was clear immediately that the signatories for the company were also officers of the LOC--an absolute conflict of interest.
The conflict of interest stemmed from the fact that Yaneva bought several properties from Sofiiski Imoti, representing a company owned by her father.
Second, WAME did not prescribe a universal standard for when meaningful conflict of interest exists.
These are just a few situations in which a conflict of interest may arise in the course of providing tax compliance services.
When such service might create a personal conflict of interest, the contractor, at a minimum, should disclose the conflict to the government.
Conflict of interest rules, those regulating the disclosure and avoidance of these conflicts, generally focus on financial gain because it is relatively objective and easier to regulate by impartial rules.
Gottlieb described FDA's conflict of interest determinations as qualitative and made on a case-by-case basis.
In a second case growing out of the City Hall ``pay-to-play'' corruption scandal, a former Hahn administration commissioner faced charges Wednesday of bribery, conflict of interest, perjury and embezzlement.
Approximately 43 percent of the 320 scientists on the 21 committees reviewed by CSPI had some ties to industry or potential conflict of interest in the five years prior to the committee's formation.

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