Conflict of Interest

3 min read
Conflict of Interest - What does it mean and does it affect you? from Parachute Law

Generally speaking a conflict of interest occurs when a person's own interests could compromise their judgements at work. Within this article we will also talk about the additional considerations that your solicitor must take regarding any conflict of interest between separate clients.

For example: A couple are breaking up. They share property together. We would not be able to act for both parties, separately (even if we had acted for them together, previously) as there may be a conflict of interest regarding the division of their assets. We could not act in the best interests of each client, where those interests are opposed to one another.

What is an example of a conflict of interest?

An example of a conflict of interest would be if you instructed us to act for you in an employment dispute against your employer, but your employer was already a client of ours. We could not act for both you and your employer as we must act in the best interests of our client(s). Your best interests would be in direct contradiction with the best interests of our existing client. Therefore, we could not take you on as a client.

How do you identify conflict of interest?

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) identifies conflict of own interest as:
  • any situation where your duty to act in the best interests of any client in relation to a matter conflicts..
  • or, where there is a significant risk that it may conflict..
..with your own interests in relation to that or a related matter.

For example: a client asks us to carry out due diligence on a company. The spouse/partner of on of the solicitor has shares in that company.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) identifies conflict of interest between clients as:
A situation where a solicitor's separate duties to act in the best interests of two or more clients in the same or a related matter conflict.

For example: When one client is selling an asset, or share of an asset, to another client.

Frequently Asked Questions

An ethical conflict of interest refers to all of the types of conflict that we have covered in this article. They are sometimes referred to as ethical conflicts of interest as it would be unethical to act where there is a conflict of interest.
This is where a situation that effects an employee personally also effects the business. For example, you may have a client at work who offers you personal gifts or benefits in exchange for getting preferential treatment over your company's other clients.
If you are breaking up with your partner, we cannot act for both of you, even where we have previously been instructed by you both in constructing your deed of trust.

When there is a conflict of interest between you and your ex-partner, due to division of assets following a break up, we cannot act for you. The exceptions do not apply in a cohabitee claim, as even if you have a mutually agreed division of assets it would be our professional obligation to advise either of you of any strategy for an outcome which would be more beneficial to you. This would create a conflict of interest with the other party.

Do you need a new solicitor due to a conflict of interest?

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