Each council member is responsible for determining whether a conflict exists in a matter brought before council.
Some questions to ask include:
- “Is the council member perceived to be financially or otherwise vested in the public issue?”
- “Is the council member’s private interests perceived to be in conflict with their public duty?”
- “Would a reasonably well informed person consider that the interest might influence how the official’s public duty is exercised?”
If a council member is in doubt as to whether a conflict exists, they may wish to seek a legal opinion to ensure that relevant legislation and the common law is carefully considered. Because the consequences of violating conflict of interest rules may be severe, a council member may wish to declare an interest if they are in doubt regarding a potential conflict.