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Conflict of Interest Questions

Conflict of interest translates to a situation where an individual, a group or an organization might have two competing interests. In such situations one of the interests can probably corrupt the motivation or interest for the other. The conflict of interest policy or law varies from state to state. There are many questions relating to what is the conflict of interest definition and what it means in each state. Some of the most common questions relating to conflict interests have been answered by legal Experts.

It is a conflict of interest for a person to hold dual role in an organization?

In such cases the conflict of interest policy can be relative and decided by the stake holders in the organization. If the person is assigned dual responsibilities in open which is approved by the stake holders in the organization there isn’t anything illegal about it. In short it is a matter of organizational policy.

Doe it amount to conflict of interest if a real estate agent makes special consideration for a buyer against the interest of the seller where in the buyer might offer a lucrative deal for the agent’s own property?

Conflict of interest arises when the person concerned has two competing interests. Usually this will have to be established in the court. However in such a case it would be quite difficult to prove interconnection between the two deals. The seller always has the right to refuse the offer from the buyer and look for a new agent.

What happens if a person’s attorney does litigation work for the opposing attorney?

This is a clear example of legal conflict of interest as an attorney representing a case cannot be representing the person adverse to his/her client. In such a case the applicant can pursue the attorney and demand that he/she cease the other work or terminate and hire a new counsel. The attorney can be sued for malpractices and the matter be taken up with the disciplinary bar.

What can one do if it is established that there is conflict of interest with the judge assigned in a case?

A judge needs to remain fair and impartial during the entire case. Prior to the proceedings of the case a judge needs to disclose if he/she has ever been associated with any of the parties being represented in the case and seek each parties consent before being assigned in the case. If such information isn’t disclosed and a bias or conflict of interest is established you have a right to file a motion with the court requesting for the judge to rescue himself/herself. In such a case the judge should step down and the case should be reassigned.

Does hiring a lawyer who is a friend lead to conflict of interest?

No, hiring a lawyer who is personally known to the applicant doesn’t lead to conflict of interest.

As per the law in Virginia, isn’t it a conflict of interest for an county administrative officer to work for a non-profit organization which receives grafts from the government?

There isn’t any law in the state of Virginia that prohibits a county administrative officer from being associated with a non-profit organization. However if this acts as a substance to corruption in the County Administration the officer can be criminally tried. Litigation can also be filed against the person concerned for breach of fiduciary duty.

In short conflict of interest arises when a person has two competing interests. It is not what one knows but what can be proved before a court of law. So if you are planning to file a case based on conflict of interest it would be advisable to seek the help of Experts in this field.
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