Conflicts of Interest
Lyonswood has operated continuously for 36 years. In that time we have provided services to thousands of lawyers, businesses and individuals. We have also served local government councils, government entities and many clients from overseas. We note that we always work hard to endeavour to achieve our client’s lawful objectives in any matter in which we are engaged, regardless of the identity of the client or subject, which is one of the reasons for our firm’s longevity.
There is no regulation placed on us as an investigation firm by our licensing body regarding conflicts of interest. We therefore have devised our own policy on conflicts taking into account the unique position occupied by an investigation firm in the legal services marketplace.
Our policy is as follows. If we are engaged by A to conduct an investigation with respect to B, we would not subsequently accept instructions on behalf of B to conduct an investigation with respect to A. We note however that, following on from the first proposition above, we would accept instructions from B to conduct an investigation with respect to C and/or we would accept instructions from D to conduct an investigation with respect to A.
Note that this policy differs from the policy typically adopted by law firms. Because Lyonswood has been approached (and engaged) by so many law firms, businesses, insurers and other entities over the years, it is not commercially feasible for us to adopt the conflict model adopted by law firms. Furthermore, unless otherwise authorised by our clients, we are not authorised to divulge to anyone whether we have worked for a particular person or entity as we guarantee to protect the confidentiality of all clients. So, if we are asked whether we have a conflict of interest we cannot answer in the affirmative as this would reveal the identity of our client. As you can imagine from the above scenario, it is very rare for a direct A – B conflict of interest to arise.
If we are approached by B in the above proposition, who asks us to conduct an investigation with respect to A, we would decline to take on the matter. We would not give a reason.
Generally, the circumstances in which we would not take on a matter and not give a reason include:
- a possible conflict of interest,
- a concern about a real risk of harm to a party involved in an investigation (whether that be the client, the subject of the investigation of an investigator) –note we may make inquiries prior to accepting instructions regarding a client or subject’s background,
- a prior bad experience with that subject (or client),
- circumstances in which we have received intelligence from colleagues in the industry that a client or a subject is problematic, and/or
- a lack of investigative resources at that point in time.