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Confidentiality and protecting individuals’ data rights
- We will collect information about individual clients and keep this on our computers, in our email, in cloud storage and on paper for a certain period of time. The main reasons for this are to:
- deliver the legal services we have agreed in contract to provide to you. For example, we may use your information to write letters on your behalf or prepare legal documents to help you with your claim;
- comply with the law. For example, as solicitors we have to perform ‘conflicts of interest’ checks for new cases against a list of current and former clients. We also have a legal duty to report suspicious activity to the National Crime Agency (‘NCA’) if we suspect money laundering.
- Due to the nature of the legal service we have agreed to provide you we will hold more ‘sensitive’ information (Special category) about an individual such as about health. This may be necessary to pursue your legal matter. We are permitted to use such information to provide legal advice to you or in connection with equality legislation.
- You can withdraw consent to your information being used in a particular way but this may limit what more we can do for you (if anything).
- As a client we may in the future send you a newsletter or similar and find that most clients find this helpful. We rely upon the ‘legitimate interest’ we have in maintaining contact with former clients to do this in data protection law and your agreement for the purposes of the Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulations (which can be implied under these Regulations). However, we will never share your information with third parties to market to you and will not contact you about non-legal services. We will make it quick and easy for you to ‘opt out’ of future communications in every communication we send. If you already know that you don’t want to receive these messages then you can opt out now by emailing us via our website.
- Your information may be kept on computer servers within the European Union. If at any point information is stored on computer servers outside of the EU we will have selected countries which are either approved for this purpose (under Article 45 of the General Data Protection Regulation or ‘GDPR’) or are located where we are happy that the safeguards in place in that country to protect your information are appropriate (under Article 45 of the GDPR).
- We do not use your personal information to make ‘automated decisions’ which affect you.
- Generally speaking, we will not share your information with third parties unless this is part of the work on your legal matter. For example, we will may need to send certain information about clients to barristers, experts (including agencies), doctors, clinicians (including agencies), rehabilitation organisations, agents and the opponent and their legal representatives (lawyers, insurers and their expert team). We may also need to send your information to your employers or other organisation to obtain document that they hold that relate to you. We also may need to send information to the Authority, to Court or to government bodies. In rare circumstances we sometimes need to make reports of suspicious activity to the NCA. We do also work with some trusted contractors or consultants who may have access to your information such as service providers or copiers. All contractors have a contract with us which requires that your information be accessed appropriately and kept confidential (among other GDPR requirements). Similarly, we may need to share client matter information with our professional indemnity insurers and their advisers, our Accountants and our legal cashier and bookkeeper. If you instruct us jointly with another client then it will be necessary to share certain information relevant to you with the corresponding joint client in order to fulfil your instructions to us.
- External firms or organisations such as the SRA, the Law Society our professional indemnity insurers, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and our Accountant may conduct audit or quality checks on our practice from time to time. They may wish to audit/quality check your file and related papers for this purpose. It is a specific requirement imposed by us that these external firms or organisations fully maintain confidentiality in relation to any files and papers which are audited/quality checked by them. Your files may also be reviewed in a due diligence exercise relating to the sale or transfer of all or part of our business, the acquisition of another business by us or the acquisition of new business. If you do not wish your file to be used in this way, please let us know as soon as possible.