On 25 May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR’) comes into force. It will give control to citizens and residents of the EU over their personal data by regulating how we treat your data.
We ask that you please read this notice carefully – it contains important information on who we are, how and why we collect, store, use and share personal information, your rights in relation to your personal information and on how to contact us and supervisory authorities in the event you have a complaint.
Who we are
Austen Jones Solicitors collects, uses and is responsible for certain personal information about you. We do so as a ‘controller’ of that personal information for the purposes of the GDPR.
The personal information we collect and use
Information collected by us
In the course of acting for, or advising, you, we will collect the following personal information when you provide it to us:
- Your name, address and telephone number.
- Information to allow us to check and verify your identity, such as your date of birth.
- Your email address and mobile telephone number.
- Information regarding the matter in which you are seeking our advice or representation.
In the course of acting for, or advising, you we may collect the following personal information depending on the reason you have instructed us:
- Your financial details so far as relevant to your instructions, eg the source of your funds if you are instructing on a purchase transaction.
- Your bank and/or building society details.
- Information to enable us to undertake a credit or other financial checks on you.
- Your National Insurance and tax details.
- Details of your professional online presence, eg LinkedIn profile.
- Details of your spouse/partner and dependants or other family members, eg if you instruct us on a family matter or a will.
- Your employment status and details including salary and benefits, eg if you instruct us on matter related to your employment or in which your employment status or income is relevant.
- Details of your pension arrangements, eg if you instruct us on a pension matter or in relation to financial arrangements following breakdown of a relationship.
- Your employment records including, where relevant, records relating to sickness and attendance, performance, disciplinary, conduct and grievances (including relevant special category personal data), eg if you instruct us on matter related to your employment or in which your employment records are relevant.
- Your racial or ethnic origin, gender and sexual orientation, religious or similar beliefs, eg if you instruct us on discrimination claim.
- Your trade union membership, eg if you instruct us on discrimination claim or your matter is funded by a trade union.
- Personal identifying information, such as your hair or eye colour or your parents’ names, eg if you instruct us to incorporate a company for you.
- Your medical records, eg if we are acting for you in a personal injury claim.
We need this personal information to enable us to provide our service to you. If you do not provide personal information we request, it may delay or prevent us from providing services to you.
Information collected from other sources
We collect most of this information from you directly, however, we may also collect information:
- From public sources, eg Companies House or HM Land Registry;
– directly from a third party, eg sanctions screening providers; credit reference agencies; client due diligence providers;
– from a third party with your consent, eg your bank or building society, another financial institution or advisor; consultants and other professionals we may engage in relation to your matter; your employer and/or trade union, professional body or pension administrators; your doctors, medical and occupational health professionals;
- Via our information technology (IT) systems, eg case management, document management and time recording systems;
How and why we use your personal information
Under the GDPR, we are permitted to use your personal data only if we have a lawful reason for doing so. Such a reason is when we have a business or commercial reason to use your information, so long as this is not overridden by your own rights and interests.
We will use (process) your personal data:
1. for the performance of our agreement with you or to comply with a request before entering into an agreement to provide legal services to you; to update your information; to trace your location to obtain instructions about your matter and to recover debt.
2. to comply with our legal and regulatory obligations, such as conducting checks to identify you and verify your identity; to undertake screening for financial and other sanctions or embargoes; to update your information; to ensure the confidentiality of commercially sensitive information; to comply with professional, legal and regulatory obligations that apply to our business, eg under health and safety regulations or relating to quality checks, audits, enquiries or investigations by regulatory bodies or rules issued by our professional regulator.
3. for our legitimate interests or those of a third party, such as to ensure business policies are adhered to, eg policies covering security and internet use; operational reasons, such as improving efficiency, training and quality control; to ensure the confidentiality of commercially sensitive information; for statistical analysis to help us manage our practice, eg in relation to our financial performance, client base, work type or other efficiency measures; to update your information; to prevent unauthorised access and modifications to systems; for marketing our services to existing and former clients;
The foregoing does not apply to special category personal data, which we will only process with your explicit consent. Special category personal data includes personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, religious beliefs, political opinions genetic and biometric data, data concerning health, trade union membership or sexual orientation.
Who we share your personal information with
We share personal information with:
- professional advisers who we instruct on your behalf or refer you to, eg barristers, medical experts, accountants, tax advisors or other experts;
- Other third parties where necessary to carry out your instructions, eg your mortgage provider or HM Land Registry in the case of a property transaction or Companies House;
- Our insurers and brokers;
- Courts, in the course of acting for you;
- Credit reference agencies;
- External auditors;
- Our bank and our accountant;
- External service suppliers, representatives and agents that we use to make our business more efficient, eg typing services, marketing agencies.
We only allow our service providers to handle your personal data if we are satisfied they take appropriate measures to protect your personal data. We also impose contractual obligations on service providers to ensure they can only use your personal data to provide services to us and to you.
We may disclose and exchange information with law enforcement agencies and regulatory bodies to comply with our legal and regulatory obligations.
We will share personal information with law enforcement or other authorities if required by applicable law.
We will not share your personal data with any other third party.
How long your personal information will be kept
We will keep your personal information after we have finished advising or acting for you for one of these reasons:
- To address any questions, complaints or claims made you might have;
- To illustrate that we treated you fairly;
- To keep records required by law.
We will not retain your information for longer than is necessary for the purposes set out in this notice. please note that we are required by law to keep different information for different periods of time. When we are no longer required to keep your personal information, we will delete or anonymise it.
Under the GDPR, you have a number of important rights, free of charge, including (but not limited to):
- The right to be provided with a copy of your personal information (the right of access);
- The right to require us to correct any mistakes in your personal data (the right of rectification);
- The right to require us to delete your personal data in certain situations (the right to be forgotten);
- The right to require us to restrict processing of your personal data in certain circumstances, (the right to restrict processing);
- The right to move, copy or transfer your personal data (the right of data portability);
- The right to object to processing of your personal data;
- The right to object to decisions being taken by automated means which produce legal effects concerning you (the right not to be subject to automated individual decision-making).
For further information on each of those rights, including the circumstances in which they apply, see the Guidance from the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on individuals’ rights under the GDPR.
If you would like to exercise any of those rights, please:
- Email, call or write to us;
- Let us have enough information to identify you;
- Let us have proof of your identity and address (a copy of your driving licence or passport and a recent utility or credit card bill), and
- Let us know the information to which your request relates
Keeping your personal information secure
We have implemented appropriate security measures to prevent personal information from being mislaid or used or accessed in an unauthorised way. We limit access to your personal information to those who have a genuine business need. Those processing your information will do so only in an authorised manner and are subject to a duty of confidentiality.
We will notify you and any applicable regulator of a suspected data security breach where we are legally required to do so.
How to complain
We hope that we can resolve any query or concern you raise about our use of your information. The GDPR also gives you right to make a complaint with a supervisory authority, in particular in the EU state where you work, normally live or where any alleged infringement of data protection laws occurred. The supervisory authority in the UK is the Information Commissioner who may be contacted at https://ico.org.uk/concerns/ or telephone: 0303 123 1113.