“The fox guarding the hen-house” or “Dracula in charge of the blood bank”. But sometimes conflicts of interests are not that obvious.
A conflict of interests occurs when a person who has a duty to act in the interests of a client also has a duty to act against the interests of that same client.
Typical examples of a conflict of interests are:
- Where a commission estate agent is paid by the vendor of a property, but offers “advice” to a purchaser about the wording of a building inspection condition;
- Where a commission estate agent “values” a property for a client, and also advises as to what price the client should accept;
- Where a lawyer or conveyancer acts for both parties in the one matter;
- Where a lawyer or conveyancer offers gifts to commission estate agents in return for client referrals, but then advises the client when a dispute arises as between the client and the commission estate agent.