In accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), this notice explains in detail the types of personal data we may collect about you when you interact with us. It also explains how we’ll store and handle that data and keep it safe.
We know that there’s a lot of information here, but we want you to be fully informed about your rights, and how our firm uses your data. We hope the following sections will answer any questions you have but if not, please do get in touch with us.
Conditions for processing data
We are only entitled to hold and process your data where the law allows us to. The current law on data protection sets out a number of different reasons for which a law firm may collect and process your personal data. These include:
- Contractual obligations
Our main purpose for holding your data is to provide you with legal services under the agreement we have with you. This agreement is a contract between us and the law allows us to process your data for the purposes of performing a contract (or for the steps necessary to enter in to a contract). We may also need to process your data to meet our contractual obligations to the Legal Aid Agency where you receive legal aid to fund your case or advice.
In specific situations, we require your data to pursue our legitimate interests in a way which might reasonably be expected as part of running our business and which does not materially impact your rights, freedom or interests. This may include to satisfy our external quality auditors or regulators.
- Legal compliance
If the law requires us to, we may need to collect and process your data. For example, we may need to report suspected money-laundering.
In some situations, we could collect and process your data with consent. For example, we may ask your permission to send you marketing emails. If this circumstance does ever arise, we would always ask for your consent and make it clear to you which data are necessary in connection with that particular service.
When do we collect your data?
We normally collect your data when you provide it to us or when it is provided to us by others (your opponent’s solicitors for example) during your case. You may give us your data by email; through an online web form; over the telephone; face to face; or by post.
What sort of data do we collect?
We collect your name and contact details. This may include asking for and keeping a copy of your passport/driving licence and proof of address. We may gather details such as your age; ethnicity; gender. We may obtain copies of your medical records. We may also gather financial information from you.
We also collect and hold information about your case.
How do we use your data?
We only use your data for the purpose of providing you with legal advice, assistance and where appropriate, representation and for reasons directly associated with those services (i.e. providing information to auditors, regulators, the Legal Aid Agency etc.).
In some situations, we may use your data to notify you of our other services but only where we have your consent to do so.
How do we protect your data?
We take protecting your data very seriously. The data you give us may be subject to legal professional privilege and is often extremely sensitive and confidential. With this in mind we will treat your data with the utmost care and take all appropriate steps to protect it. We have clear data protection and information security policies and procedures in place (along with regulatory and other legal obligations to keep your data safe) and these are regularly assessed as part of our quality standards and compliance processes.
We protect our IT system from cyber attack. Access to your personal data is password-protected, and sensitive data are secured by encryption. We regularly monitor our system for possible vulnerabilities, attacks and to identify ways to further strengthen security.
How long will we keep your data?
We only keep your data for as long as is necessary for the purpose(s) for which it was provided. Normally this is for six years after your case or matter ends. For some cases we may decide that it is proper and appropriate to keep data for longer than six years. You will be advised in the file closing letter of the exact period the data will be retained by us. Data in respect of enquiries where we do not take on a case is kept for a maximum period of 18 months.
With whom do we share your personal data?
We sometimes share your personal data with trusted third parties. We only do this where it is necessary for providing you with legal services or for the effective operation of our legal practice. For example, we may share your data with barristers; experts; translators; costs draftsmen; process servers; secure file storage and destruction companies; auditors; and external IT support companies. We ensure the following measures are applied to keep your data safe and protect your privacy:
- We provide only the information they need to perform their specific services.
- They may only use your data for the exact purposes we specify in our contract with them.
- We work closely with them to ensure that your privacy is respected and protected at all times.
If your case is litigated, we may be required to share your data with the other side as part of the normal litigation processes of disclosure and exchanges of evidence. The use of data shared via those processes is strictly controlled by the procedure rules. Generally speaking, it cannot be used for a purpose other than the litigation except with the court’s permission.
Where are your data processed?
Your data are stored and processed within the UK. If we ever have to share your personal data with third parties and suppliers outside the UK we will seek your specific consent to do so.
What are your rights?
You have rights under the UK General Data Protection Regulation and these include the right to be informed what information we hold about you. Under certain circumstances, you have the right to:
- request access to the personal data we hold about you;
- request the correction of your personal data when incorrect, out of date or incomplete;
- request that we stop any consent-based processing of personal data after consent has been withdrawn object to processing of your personal data where we are relying on a legitimate overriding interest; and
- request erasure of your personal data once the purpose for which we hold the data has come to an end.
You also have the right to request a copy of any information about you that we hold at any time. You will not have to pay a fee to access your personal data or to exercise any of the other rights. However, we may charge a reasonable fee if your request for access is clearly unfounded or excessive. Alternatively, we may refuse to comply with the request in such circumstances.
If you need to exercise any of your rights, the person in this firm responsible for data protection is Tracy Morgan, and enquires and requests can be sent to her in writing to our office at The Willows, 2 Rupert Road, Liverpool L36 9TF.
Your right to withdraw consent
Where you have given us consent to use your personal data, you have the right to change your mind and withdraw this consent at any time.
Where we rely on our legitimate interest
In cases where we are processing your personal data on the basis of our legitimate interest, you can ask us to stop for reasons connected to your individual situation. We must then do so unless we believe we have a legitimate overriding reason to continue processing your personal data.
If you feel that your data has not been handled correctly, or you are unhappy with our response to any requests you have made to us regarding the use of your personal data, you have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office.