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.

Cross-references

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 ?
It should be noted that even in situations in which police officers are not required to exercise any judgment, and in which a conflict of interest cannot therefore possibly arise (since the exercise of judgment is an integral part of a conflict of interest), members of the public may still perceive a conflict of interest, due to their false beliefs about the situation.
Conflict of interest policies should include provisions for enforcement.
It's tempting to wonder what medical research would look like if universities and medical associations and editors of journals stopped talking about how to manage conflict of interest and started thinking about how to expunge it.
Part 10), requires that "[e]ach affected client waives the conflict of interest and gives informed consent, confirmed in writing by each affected client, at the time the existence of the conflict of interest is known by the practitioner.
The report identifies procurement, licensing and project approval, and recruitment as the areas with most prevalent forms of conflict of interest.
Sometimes, there's just a deliberate decision to engage in behavior that constitutes a conflict of interest.
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.
Bulgaria's Supreme Judicial Council decided not to investigate Yaneva for conflict of interest or breaching judiciary ethics, although the council's inspectorate later found her guilty of breaking procedural rules at four different occasions in her handling of the case, all resulting in continued delay of court proceedings.
In recent years, the extent of conflict of interest in medical journal articles has been increasingly recognized.
Industry sponsorship and financial conflict of interest in the reporting of clinical trials in psychiatry.

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