What is this Policy?
Clarkson Hirst takes privacy seriously and we are committed to protecting it. This policy explains when and why we collect personal information about you, how this information is used, the conditions under which it may be disclosed to others and how it is kept secure.
This is our main policy but we may issue guidance in respect of individual cases where specific requirements will apply.
We may up-date our policy and this will be published on our internet site. The policy was last updated on 22 May 2018.
Clarkson Hirst Solicitors is a data controller in relation to the processing activities described below.
This means that we decide why and how your personal information is processed. Our registered address is 73 Church Street, Lancaster, Lancashire, LA1 1ET. Clarkson Hirst Solicitors Ltd is a Limited Company and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Our SRA number is 543248. Our Matthew Winder is responsible for our data protection function and he can be contacted at email@example.com or at the address stated above.
How we collect your personal information
When you use our website you may complete an on-line application form or provide your e-mail address. This could include your name and telephone number and e-mail address. This information is provided entirely voluntarily in connection with your use of our website. For example, if you obtain a conveyancing quote the information will be sent to us. We seek to minimize the information we obtain from you on our website.
Personal information we collect about you In the course of acting from you we will collect personal information about you which will include your name, address, national insurance number, date of birth and in some cases your bank details. We will also collect from you identification documents such as a copy of your passport.
We may receive personal information in connection with an electronic identification check. We also may receive information about you from another party, for example a Medical Practitioner or the other party in a Litigation dispute.
Information from others At times we receive information on individuals from other sources, for example Experts. If you are submitting this information as such as a representative or a contact of an individual you confirm that it is true and that you will not provide us with any information which constitutes personal data unless you have ensured that you have obtained all necessary consents or other legal justification and/or provided any required notices to the data subject, or that you are otherwise, permitted to provide such information to us so that we can use it for the purpose and on the basis set out in this notice.
How we use your personal information
The purpose for which we use your information and the legal basis under the Data Protection Laws on which we may rely to do this are explained below. We may use and process your personal information where it is necessary for us to act for you in connection with your case. This would include by way of example the following:-
- Applying for Legal Aid
- Preparing Court documents
- Preparing a Stamp Duty Land Tax Return
- Preparing Probate paperwork and Probate Returns and tax Returns in connection with Probate
- Making an application to register you as a Proprietor of Land to the Land Registry
- Reporting on Title to a Mortgage Lender to request a Mortgage
- Providing case information on-line using various on-line portals in connection with Legal work for example the Rapid Claims Portal and the Crown Court Portal
- We may collect and use your personal information where this is necessary for us to deliver our statutory functions.
- We may provide your personal information to an expert if your case requires us to instruct an expert witness.
- We may use your personal data to carry out an electronic identification check to establish your identity.
- We may use your personal data if your case involves making an application for insurance.
We will use your personal information to comply with our legal obligations to assist either a public authority or criminal investigation body as required to identify you when you instruct us to verify the accuracy of data we hold about you and to comply with the request from you in connection with the exercise of your rights.
We will use this information we collect from you in connection with the performance of our obligation as your Solicitor in supplying services to you.
We may use and process your personal information where you have consented for us to do so in connection with your legal case. You may withdraw your consent for us to use your information in any of these ways at any time but you should do so in writing. Please see below the section on withdrawing your consent.
Others who may receive or have access to your personal information
We may disclose your information to a third party in connection with your case. For example this would include applying for Legal Aid, preparing Court papers, submitting a Land Tax Stamp Duty Return, preparing a Probate application, preparing a Legal Aid application. In general terms we will seek your approval of any such application before it is submitted. We will also complete on-line claims as part of a Personal Injury Claim and you will be required to sign the claim form as confirmation that you approve the information.
Other Third Parties As Solicitors we are regulated and subject to audits. An auditor may review your personal information on a file but they will be subject to confidentiality agreements. The auditors we use in connection with our cases are our firms accountants. They are Messrs Scott and Wilkinson Accountants of Dalton Square, Lancaster. We are also audited in connection with our Lexcel CQS Accreditation. We are also audited annually by the Legal Aid Agency in respect of Legal Aid work and therefore if your case is a case where Legal Aid is provided your file may be audited by a Legal Aid Auditor. We may transfer your personal information to a third party if we are under a duty to disclose or share it in order to comply with any legal obligation to protect or report crime, to enforce or apply the terms of our contract or our legal rights to protect the rights to cover property or safety of our visitors and customers and staff. We will always take steps with the aim of ensuring that your privacy rights continue to be protected.
Where we store your personal information
Your personal information in paper form is stored at our three offices. Your personal information in electronic form is stored on our Practice Management System which is a computer system that is backed up externally.
How long we keep your personal information
We keep your personal information for as long as necessary to comply with our professional and legal obligation. In the course of your matter we will advise you and your paper file will be stored for a period of time after which time it will be destroyed.
Security and Links to Others Websites Unfortunately the transmission of information via the internet is not completely secure. Although we will do our best to protect your personal information we cannot guarantee the security of your information transmitted to our website and any transmission is at your own risk. Once we have received your personal information we will put in place reasonable and appropriate controls to ensure that it remains secure against accidental or unlawful distruction, loss, alteration or unauthorised access.
We will not use your personal information in connection with marketing of the firm unless we have your express consent. We will ask you to complete a client feedback form at the end of your case. We will analyse that feedback and prepare a paper analysis. That feedback is kept confidential within the business.
You have a number of rights in relation to your personal information under Data Protection Law. In relation to certain rights we may ask you for information to confirm your identity and where applicable to help us search for your personal information.
Access to Information
Under Data Protection Laws you have a legal right to ask to see a copy of the personal information that we hold about you. Such requests are called subject to access requests. If you wish to make a subject to access request then you would need to provide a form of identification and proof of your address, for example a passport, driving licence of utility bill with your name and address on it. You should write to request the information from ourselves and the letter should be addressed to Matthew Winder at 73 Church Street, Lancaster, Lancashire, LA1 1ET. You can e-mail the request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Further information about subject to access requests can be found on the Information Commissioners Website https://ico.org.uk
We may not provide you with a copy of your personal information if this concerns other individuals or if we have an lawful reason to withhold that information.
Correcting and updating your personal information
The accuracy of your information is important and if you change or your name or address or e-mail address or discover information you have provided us with is inaccurate then would you please contact us in writing to update us with the changes.
Withdrawing your consent
Where we rely on your consent as a legal basis for processing your personal information as set out above on how we use your personal information you may withdraw your consent at any time by contacting us using the details at the end of this policy.
If you would like to withdraw your consent then this should be sent to us in writing to 73 Church Street, Lancaster, LA1 1ET addressed to Matthew Winder or Kerry Davies. If you have provided consent for your details to be shared with a third party and wish to withdraw this consent please also contact the third party to amend your preferences.
Please note that by withdrawing your consent to share information this may cause us to terminate our retainer with you on the basis that without sharing your personal information we will not be able to conduct your case. For example if you withdraw consent to your information being held by the County Court that may involve discontinuing your claim. This would involve filing a Notice of Discontinuance. You would be liable to pay your opponents costs for the discontinuance together with your costs. You may also avoid your legal expenses insurance cover by taking action. In addition to which if you withdraw your consent to allow us to use your personal information to process your conveyancing transaction we may not be able to complete your transaction or complete the post completion requirements. This would include the completion of a Stamp Duty Land Tax Return. If you do take the step then we would not be able to protect your position and you may find yourself in breach of contract or subject to other financial sanctions which would be your responsibility to pay.
Objecting to our use of your personal information or to make decisions made about you
Where we rely on our legitimate business interests as a legal basis of processing your personal information for any purpose you may object to us using your personal information for these purposes by writing to us at the address stated above. Except for the purpose for which we are sure we can continue to process your personal information we will temporarily stop processing your personal information in line with your objection until we have investigated the matter further. If we agree that your objection is justified in accordance with your rights under the Data Protection Laws we will permanently stop using your data for these purposes otherwise we will provide you with our justification as to why we need to continue using your data.
Erasing your personal information or restricting its processing
In certain circumstances you may ask for your personal information to be removed from our system by e-mailing or writing to us at the address at the end of this policy unless there is a reason that the law allows us to use your personal information for longer we will make reasonable efforts to comply with your request. Generally we will wish to keep your personal information on record as evidence that we have performed your instructions to a standard acceptable within the profession. Therefore in general terms we would keep your information for at least 6 years and we reserve the right to keep the information for longer. Complaining to the UK Data Protection Regulator we would always aim to resolve any concern you raise with you direct. Where we cannot resolve any complaint or concern then you can complain to the Information Commissioners Office if you are concerned about the way we have processed your personal information. Please visit the ICO’s website for further details at https://ico.org.uk.
- Contacting Us
Any questions or requests under this policy are welcome and should be made to Matthew Winder at 73 Church Street, Lancaster, Lancashire, LA1 1ET. Our telephone number is 01524 39760 and our e-mail address is email@example.com.