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 is not enough to focus on the enormous increase in the amount of money that changes hands within and outside of the practice of medicine or just the scope of financial conflicts of interest, but as well on the societal and medical environment in which these changes took place.
com/y7e7t2pr, contains recommendations for addressing conflicts of interest and drafting a conflict waiver.
As with many aspects of business, conflicts of interest need to be managed.
The intent is that allegations of failure to declare conflicts of interest must be taken seriously by journals.
Psychiatry: from interest in conflicts to conflicts of interest.
In this socio-demographic landscape, avoidance of conflicts of interest in municipal governments is critical for two reasons.
While medical schools and hospitals have traditionally looked at these issues with relation to their research activities, individual conflicts of interest tended to be the focus.
Issues such as financial conflicts of interest, impartiality concerns, misuse of information, misuse of apparent or actual authority, and misuse of property are all areas of potential personal conflicts of interest for contractor employees that could result in harm to the public fisc and loss of public confidence in Government.
Trustee boards are advised to agree, document and regularly review a policy managing conflicts of interest which should be reviewed by the scheme's legal advisers.
In light of increasing sensitivity to the conduct of directors, officers, and management, here is a closer look at conflicts of interest.
Industry consolidation and soaring levels of contractor participation in the blended workforce have increased the occurrence of organizational conflicts of interest.
1) We ask whether media coverage of conflicts of interest in clinical trials of herbal remedies is of sufficient quality to provide the public with information to make decisions that are rational, well-informed, and low-risk.