Rules regarding conflict of interest
Rules regarding conflicts of interest can be found in Sections 16-18 of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). These rules seek to guarantee that the processes of the administering authority are characterised by objectivity and correctness. They can be said to be an expression of the principle of objectivity (compare to Chapter 9 Section of the Instrument of Government). The principle not only covers an obligation to treat every case equally, but also for officials not to allow themselves to be affected by irrelevant considerations. The rules regarding conflicts of interest are intended to prevent officials from administering cases when their objectivity is questioned.
Conflicts of interest
Section 16 A person participating in the processing of a matter on behalf of a government agency in a way that allows them to influence the agency's decision shall be disqualified if
- they or someone affiliated with them is a party to the matter, or if it can be assumed that they will be impacted by the decision to a not insignificant extent,
- they or someone affiliated with them is or has been a deputy or proxy for any party involved in the matter, or for any other individual whom it can be assumed will be impacted by the decision to a not insignificant extent,
- they have participated in the final processing of a matter administered by a different authority, meaning that they have already taken a position in matters set to be processed by the authority as the superior instance, or
- there are other special circumstances that call their impartiality in the matter into question.
If it is apparent that impartiality is of no consequence, the authority shall disregard any conflicts of interest.
Section 17 A disqualified person may not process the matter and may not be present when the matter is processed. They may however carry out tasks of this nature if they cannot be carried out by someone else without significantly delaying the processing.
Section 18 Persons who know of a circumstance which can be assumed to make them subject to a conflict of interest must report this to the authority immediately.
An authority shall examine matters involving conflicts of interest as soon as possible.
The person subject to the conflict of interest may participate in the investigation of the conflict of interest only if this is required for the authority to form a quorum and a substitute cannot be called without significantly delaying the examination.