Privacy Notice

GDPR Privacy notice for SME Solicitors’ Clients

 

  1. What is the purpose of this document?

 Stallard March & Edwards LLP is committed to protecting the privacy and security of your personal information.

This privacy notice describes how we collect and use personal information about you during and after your retainer with us in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

It applies to all clients.

Stallard March & Edwards LLP is a "data controller". This means that we are responsible for deciding how we hold and use personal information about you. We are required under data protection legislation to notify you of the information contained in this privacy notice.

This notice applies to current and former clients.  We may update this notice at any time but if we do so, we will provide you with an updated copy of this notice as soon as reasonably practical.

It is important that you read and retain this notice, together with any other privacy notice we may provide on specific occasions when we are collecting or processing personal information about you, so that you are aware of how and why we are using such information and what your rights are under the data protection legislation.

  1. Data protection principles

We will comply with data protection law. This says that the personal information we hold about you must be:

1. Used lawfully, fairly and in a transparent way.

2. Collected only for valid purposes that we have clearly explained to you and not used in any way that is incompatible with those purposes.

3. Relevant to the purposes we have told you about and limited only to those purposes.

4. Accurate and kept up to date.

5. Kept only as long as necessary for the purposes we have told you about.

6. Kept securely.

  1. The kind of information we hold about you

Personal data, or personal information, means any information about an individual from which that person can be identified. It does not include data where the identity has been removed (anonymous data).

There are "special categories" of more sensitive personal data which require a higher level of protection, such as information about a person's health or sexual orientation.

We may collect, store, and use the following categories of personal information about you:

  • Personal contact details such as name, title, addresses, telephone numbers, and personal email addresses.
  • Date of birth.
  • Marital status and dependants.
  • Details of income and benefits.
  • Employment information, such as salary, annual leave, pension and benefits information.
  • Your national insurance number
  • Financial information such as a mortgage offer in residential conveyancing, information pertaining to a loan or personal guarantee in a commercial matter, or full financial disclosure information in family law matters
  • Transaction data including details of payments to and from you during the course of your matter including in respect of payment of our fees and any third party disbursements we have paid on your behalf
  • Information specifically relating to the matter in which you instruct us or given by you to us in respect of the background of that matter
  • Copy of driving licence and/passport.

In family law matters, we may collect, store and use information about your children. This mayinclude information such as:

  • Your child’s name, date of birth, home address, and school address
  • Special category information about your child (as listed below), where relevant to the matter.
  • Information about your child’s history which may be relevant to any contact or residence applications within family law proceedings.

We may also collect, store and use the following "special categories" of more sensitive personal information:

  • Information about your race or ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation and political opinions.
  • Information about your health, including any medical condition, health and sickness records, including:
  • relevant to your last employment including where the reason for leaving is determined to be ill-health, injury or disability, the records relating to that decision;
  • details of any absences (other than holidays) from work including time on statutory parental leave and sick leave;
  • where you leave employment and the reason for leaving is related to your health, information about that condition needed for pensions and permanent health insurance purposes;
  • Information about criminal convictions and offences; and
  • Information about your personal relationship with your partner.
  1. How is your personal information collected?

We collect personal information about clients through correspondence (including letters, faxes and emails) telephone calls and the appointment process, either directly from you or sometimes from another individual if specifically agreed to by you. In residential conveyancing, we may collect information from you via our portal.   We may sometimes collect additional information from third parties including other solicitors, former employers and experts.

We will collect additional personal information in the course of your retainer related to the work for which our services are retained throughout the period of your retainer.

  1. How we will use information about you

We will only use your personal information when the law allows us to. Most commonly, we will use your personal information in the following circumstances:

1. Where we need to perform the contract we have entered into with you.

2. Where we need to comply with a legal obligation.

3. Where it is necessary for our legitimate interests (or those of a third party) and your interests and fundamental rights do not override those interests.

We may also use your personal information in the following situations, which are likely to be rare:

1. Where we need to protect your interests (or someone else's interests).

2. Where it is needed in the public interest or for official purposes.

Situations in which we will use your personal information

  • We need all the categories of information in the list above (see paragraph 3) primarily to allow us to perform our contract with you and to enable us to comply with legal obligations. In some cases we may use your personal information to pursue legitimate interests of our own or those of third parties, provided your interests and fundamental rights do not override those interests. The situations in which we will process your personal information are listed below.
  • Making a decision about the terms of your retainer with us.
  • Determining the terms on which we receive instructions from you.
  • Corresponding with third parties including solicitors, experts, barristers, courts, tribunals and registries.
  • Charging you and applying VAT.
  • Preparing documents necessary for the pursuance of your case or matter.
  • Administering the contract we have entered into with you.
  • Making arrangements for the termination of your retainer.

Some of the above grounds for processing will overlap and there may be several grounds which justify our use of your personal information.

If you fail to provide personal information

If you fail to provide certain information when requested, we may not be able to perform the contract we have entered into with you (such as pursuing your matter or case), we may be prevented from complying with our legal obligations such as to provide appropriate information to a court, tribunal, registry or other government agency.

Change of purpose

We will only use your personal information for the purposes for which we collected it, unless we reasonably consider that we need to use it for another reason and that reason is compatible with the original purpose. If we need to use your personal information for an unrelated purpose, we will notify you and we will explain the legal basis which allows us to do so.

Please note that we may process your personal information without your knowledge or consent, in compliance with the above rules, where this is required or permitted by law.

  1. How we use particularly sensitive personal information

"Special categories" of particularly sensitive personal information require higher levels of protection. We need to have further justification for collecting, storing and using this type of personal information. We have in place an appropriate policy document and safeguards which we are required by law to maintain when processing such data. We may process special categories of personal information in the following circumstances:

1. In limited circumstances, with your explicit written consent.

2. Where we need to carry out our legal obligations or exercise rights in connection with your case or matter.

 

Do we need your consent?

We do not need your consent if we use special categories of your personal information in accordance with our written policy to carry out our legal or contractual obligations or exercise specific rights in respect of dealing with your case or matter in your best interests.  In limited circumstances, we may approach you for your written consent to allow us to process certain particularly sensitive data. If we do so, we will provide you with full details of the information that we would like and the reason we need it, so that you can carefully consider whether you wish to consent. You should be aware that it is not a condition of your contract with us that you agree to any request for consent from us but it may harm your case or matter if you do not supply it.

  1. Data sharing

We may have to share your data with third parties, including other solicitors, colleagues, barristers, experts, courts, financial institutions (such as lenders in conveyancing), insurance brokers, search providers, collection agents, tribunals and registries.

 

We require third parties to respect the security of your data and to treat it in accordance with the law.

Why might you share my personal information with third parties?

We will share your personal information with third parties where required by law, where it is necessary to deal with your case or matter in your best interests or where we have another legitimate interest in doing so.

Which third-party service providers process my personal information?

"Third parties" includes third-party service providers (including barristers, lenders, HM Land Registry, insurance brokers, search providers, process agents, experts, courts, tribunals and registries).  The following activities are carried out by third-party service providers: providing advice and opinions, processing claims and applications, providing services or products which are recommended for your matter.

How secure is my information with third-party service providers?

All our third-party service providers are required to take appropriate security measures to protect your personal information in line with our policies.  We do not allow our third-party service providers to use your personal data for their own purposes. We only permit them to process your personal data for specified purposes and in accordance with our instructions.

 

 

  1. Data security

We have put in place measures to protect the security of your information. Details of these measures are available on our website.

Third parties will only process your personal information on our instructions and where they have agreed to treat the information confidentially and to keep it secure.

We have put in place appropriate security measures to prevent your personal information from being accidentally lost, used or accessed in an unauthorised way, altered or disclosed. In addition, we limit access to your personal information to those solicitors, lenders, insurance brokers, search providers, barristers, experts, courts, tribunals and registries and other third parties who have a business need to know. They will only process your personal information on our instructions and they are subject to a duty of confidentiality.

We have put in place procedures to deal with any suspected data security breach and will notify you and any applicable regulator of a suspected breach where we are legally required to do so.

  1. Data retention

How long will you use my information for?

We will only retain your personal information for as long as necessary to fulfil the purposes we collected it for, including for the purposes of satisfying any legal, accounting, insurance or reporting requirements.  We normally retain your matter information in secure storage for at least seven years, and in some cases, we retain client files for longer periods of time, in line with our Data Retention Policy.  Details of retention periods for different aspects of your personal information are available in a table specifying data retention time periods, which is available on our website, along with information on whether we can achieve those purposes through other means, and the applicable legal, contractual and insurance requirements.

In some circumstances we may anonymise your personal information so that it can no longer be associated with you, in which case we may use such information without further notice to you. Once your case or matter is finished we will retain and securely destroy your personal information in accordance with our Data Retention Policy.

  1. Rights of access, correction, erasure, and restriction

Your duty to inform us of changes

It is important that the personal information we hold about you is accurate and current. Please keep us informed if your personal information changes during your retainer with us.

Your rights in connection with personal information

Under certain circumstances, by law you have the right to:

  • Request access to your personal information (commonly known as a "data subject access request"). This enables you to receive a copy of the personal information we hold about you and to check that we are lawfully processing it.
  • Request correction of the personal information that we hold about you. This enables you to have any incomplete or inaccurate information we hold about you corrected.
  • Request erasure of your personal information. This enables you to ask us to delete or remove personal information where there is no good reason for us continuing to process it. You also have the right to ask us to delete or remove your personal information where you have exercised your right to object to processing (see below). Please note however that we do normally need to retain client files for the reasons set out in clause 9 above, and our need to do this may allow us to reject your request for erasure.
  • Object to processing of your personal information where we are relying on a legitimate interest (or those of a third party) and there is something about your particular situation which makes you want to object to processing on this ground. You also have the right to object where we are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes.
  • Request the restriction of processing of your personal information. This enables you to ask us to suspend the processing of personal information about you, for example if you want us to establish its accuracy or the reason for processing it.
  • Request the transfer of your personal information to another party.

If you want to review, verify, correct or request erasure of your personal information, object to the processing of your personal data, or request that we transfer a copy of your personal information to another party, please contact Guy Salter or Ian Stirzaker in writing.

No fee usually required

You will not have to pay a fee to access your personal information (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.

What we may need from you

We may need to request specific information from you to help us confirm your identity and ensure your right to access the information (or to exercise any of your other rights). This is another appropriate security measure to ensure that personal information is not disclosed to any person who has no right to receive it.

  1. Right to withdraw consent

In the limited circumstances where you may have provided your consent to the collection, processing and transfer of your personal information for a specific purpose, you have the right to withdraw your consent for that specific processing at any time. Please note that in the majority of cases, we will rely on a contractual right to process your personal information however, rather than your specific consent. Therefore the effect of you withdrawing consent to processing may not mean we are no longer entitled to process your data, as we may still be entitled to do so under contract. To withdraw your consent, please contact Guy Salter or Ian Stirzaker in the first instance. Once we have received notification that you have withdrawn your consent, we will no longer process your information for the purpose or purposes you originally agreed to, unless we have another legitimate basis for doing so in law.

  1. Data protection managers

We have appointed Data Protection Managers (currently Guy Salter and Ian Stirzaker) to oversee compliance with this privacy notice. If you have any questions about this privacy notice or how we handle your personal information, please contact one of the Data Protection Managers. You have the right to make a complaint concerning your personal data at any time to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), the UK supervisory authority for data protection issues.

  1. Changes to this privacy notice

We reserve the right to update this privacy notice at any time, and we will provide you with a new privacy notice when we make any substantial updates. We may also notify you in other ways from time to time about the processing of your personal information.

If you have any questions about this privacy notice, please contact Guy Salter or Ian Stirzaker in the first instance.

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