Panel Releases Draft Guidance on Conflicts of Interest [07/06/2002] The Takeovers Panel

Friday, 7 June 2002

PANEL RELEASES DRAFT GUIDANCE ON CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

The Panel advises that it has today released for public comment a draft Guidance Note on Conflicts of Interest as they relate to Panel members sitting on individual matters.

The draft Guidance Note sets out the principles which the Panel and its members will apply when assessing whether their interests may give rise to a conflict or a reasonable apprehension of bias in relation to an application to the Panel. It also sets out the procedures that the Panel has in place to assist members in identifying potential conflicts of interest, notifying these to the President of the Panel, and to parties, in order to facilitate a speedy appointment of a sitting Panel to deal with an application.

The draft Guidance Note sets out the types of interest (both professional and personal in nature) which potential members of the sitting Panel are asked to consider and to disclose. It addresses the relevance of particular interests or relationships, including the relationship of a member's firm with a party or a person who is connected with a party, and the fact that a member is a consultant to a firm which is acting for a party.

The Panel noted that its policy is that if the President decides that a particular interest of a member is not sufficiently significant to cause any apprehension of bias, the Panel will nonetheless disclose that interest to the parties. This is to further the aim of transparency of process, and to ensure that parties are provided with as much information as practicable when they are considering the interests of members.

Sometimes a conflict may arise or be discovered after proceedings have commenced. The draft Guidance Note sets out the factors which will be relevant to the President's decision as to whether or not the sitting Panel should be reconstituted, and the process to be followed if a new sitting Panel member is appointed.

The draft Guidance Note is available on the Panel's website at http://www.takeovers.gov.au/Content/guidance/guidance.asp .

The Panel invites comments on the draft Guidance Note by Friday, 19 July 2002. Comments may be provided to Kristen Jung, a legal secondee to the Panel, by post at the address shown below, by fax on 03 9655 3511 or by email to kristen.jung@takeovers.gov.au . Consistent with the Panel's policy on its consultation procedures, parties providing comments should indicate whether or not their comments are provided in confidence.

Nigel Morris
Director, Takeovers Panel
Level 47 Nauru House, 80 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Ph: +61 3 9655 3501
nigel.morris@takeovers.gov.au