Conflict of Interests Policy

A conflict of interests can arise between:

  • VELMA Law and current clients (own interest conflict); and / or
  • two or more current clients (client conflict).

VELMA Law has effective systems and controls in place to enable VELMA Law to identify and assess potential conflict of interests.

Own interest conflict:

If VELMA Law’s duty to act in the best interests of any client on a matter conflicts, or there is a significant risk that it may conflict, with VELMA Law’s own interests in relation to that or a related matter, then VELMA Law shall not act.

Client conflict:

If VELMA Law owes separate duties to act in the best interests of two or more clients in relation to the same or related matters, and those duties conflict, or there is a significant risk that those duties may conflict, then VELMA Law will not act for both or all of them unless the matter falls within the scope of 2 limited circumstances.

In deciding whether to act in these 2 limited circumstances, the overriding consideration will be the best interests of each of the clients concerned and, in particular, whether the benefits to the clients of VELMA Law acting for all or both of the clients outweigh the risks.

The 2 limited circumstances are:

(1) where there is a client conflict and the clients have a substantially common interest in relation to a matter or a particular aspect of it, VELMA Law will only act if:

  • VELMA Law has explained the relevant issues and risks to the clients and VELMA Law has a reasonable belief that they understand those issues and risks;
  • all the clients have given informed consent in writing to VELMA Law acting;
  • VELMA Law is satisfied that it is reasonable for VELMA Law to act for all the clients;
  • that it is in the best interests of all the clients; and
  • VELMA Law is satisfied that the benefits to the clients of you doing so outweigh the risks.

(2) where there is a client conflict and the clients are competing for the same objective, VELMA Law will only act if:

  • VELMA Law has explained the relevant issues and risks to the clients and VELMA Law has a reasonable belief that they understand those issues and risks;
  • the clients have confirmed in writing that they want VELMA Law to act, in the knowledge that VELMA Law acts, or may act, for one or more other clients who are competing for the same objective;
  • there is no other client conflict in relation to that matter;
  • unless the clients specifically agree, no individual acts for, or is responsible for the supervision of work done for, more than one of the clients in that matter; and
  • VELMA Law is satisfied that it is reasonable for VELMA Law to act for all the clients and that the benefits to the clients of VELMA Law doing so outweigh the risks.

VELMA Law has systems and controls for identifying an own interest conflict which are appropriate to the size and complexity of the firm and the nature of the work undertaken, and enable VELMA Law to assess all the relevant circumstances, including whether a VELMA Law lawyer’s ability as an individual, or that of anyone within VELMA Law, to act in the best interests of the client(s), is impaired by:

  • any financial interest;
  • a personal relationship;
  • the appointment of the VELMA Law lawyer, or a member of VELMA Law, or family of the VELMA Law lawyer, to public office;
  • commercial relationships; or
  • the employment of the VELMA Law lawyer; and

VELMA Law has systems and controls for identifying a client conflict which are appropriate to the size and complexity of the firm and the nature of the work undertaken, and enable VELMA Law to assess all the relevant circumstances, including whether:

  • the clients’ interests are different;
  • VELMA Law’s ability to give independent advice to the clients may be fettered;
  • there is a need to negotiate between the clients;
  • there is an imbalance in bargaining power between the clients; or
  • any client is vulnerable.