Coalition of Celebrant Associations

Australia’s Peak Celebrant Body

CoCA Principles to consider with COI and Benefit to business

The 2012 CoCA submission to the AGD regarding "increasing professionalism and the proposed annual fee" included a section related to Conflict of Interest and Benefits to Business.

This was an attempt to clarify the underlying principles that increase the professionalism of celebrants in their marriage work.

For full details see Appendix 5 

"Conflict of Interest is a principle of concern in a profession, where the office-holder/professional has a duty of care:

  • to put the client’s needs or some other authority’s needs before their own,

  • to be able to offer impartial advice, and

  • to not use the relationship developed in their other work, where power relationships have developed (ie where free and informed consent is hampered) for financial or other benefit. See the Wikipedia references below.

  • to use business skills for the efficient and effective management of their professional independent celebrancy practice, but not to exploit their professional role to offer unnecessary or unrelated products or services. 

    (Yes marriage celebrants, like other professionals need business skills, but that does not make them “just a business”. Conflict of Interest is not an issue for businesses, where it’s “buyer beware”.)
Therefore there is a concept of potential or actual harm that could affect clients from the professional's conduct in relation to the delivery of their services.

There appears to be 6 main principles to apply in making a decision about Conflict of Interest:
  1. The benefit from another activity may outweigh the benefit to the public of the celebrant role (esp. financially). 

  2. A professional is expected to be impartial in advice/ service giving. Thus the celebrant needs to be at arm’s length to related activities. 

  3. Free and informed consent to choose any celebrant could be hampered by the actions of the celebrant’s other activities. 

  4. A professional is expected to have some altruistic motive involved in their work.

  5. The celebrant’s other activities or roles may impact on their ability to fully and competently prepare and deliver the marriage ceremony.

  6. The other activities of the professionals can harm the public perception of the impartiality of the profession.


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