What is a Conflict of Interest? | Hudson McKenzie

What is a Conflict of Interest?

A case may be put to a standstill if there is a ‘Conflict of Interest’ (COI), so what exactly is this?

COI is generally outlined as a situation in which an individual or company is involved in “multiple interests” which may be conflicting with each other and therefore have an impact upon that person and companies state of play within the corporate world.

This is because by having multiple interests, a person or company may have their own interests influenced by other interests which may not necessary serve another interest that the person or company also shares.

For instance, if a client has a COI, this may because they have “competing interests or loyalties” in which they are involved in a relationship which may impact they status overall.

Sometimes, situations such as Nepotism may be described as a COI, in which a COI is created by the hiring of relatives, which may lead to favouritism over other employees such as a higher salary.

Within the Private Sector, such as law firms, policies are put into place so as to defer from COI’s. This is because it can ultimately impact upon their clients.

For example, a contract case may not be taken on if claimant’s case with the Law Firm is against another client of that same firm, which would lead to the firm having a COI.

This is because a “duty of loyalty” is owed to a client from the solicitor, in which means that the law firm cannot represent any other party whose interests may conflict with their own clients.

On the other hand, if a COI does occur within the Private Sector processes, this is usually handled through a civil lawsuit, if necessary.

Therefore, there should be a COI check for both individuals and companies so to ensure that there is a high standard of transparency maintained within both the public and private sectors.

If you would like to discuss this article further or have any general legal enquiries, please contact one of our highly qualified solicitors on 020 3318 5794 or via email at londoninfo@hudsonmckenzie.com