Situations in which an individual or institution who is in a position to be impartial has multiple interests that clash. Conflicts of interest endanger impartiality, and thus render those involved less reliable.
Judges, witnesses, attorneys, law firms, or public officials may face conflicts of interest when performing their duties. Judges, witnesses, and public officials may have personal ties to one (or both) of the parties about whom they are expected to make impartial statements or decisions. Similarly, the impartiality of an attorney or law firm may be endangered if they agree to simultaneously represent two clients whose interests clash.