If you instruct this firm to act for you, we will then hold personal information about you on our computer system and/or in manual records. In holding this information this Firm complies with Data Protection Legislation including the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
This policy describes our procedures for ensuring that personal information about clients is processed fairly and lawfully.
What Personal Data do we hold?
In order to provide you with the highest standard of Legal Representation, we need to hold personal information about you. This personal data comprises: –
- Personal details such as your Full Name, Date of Birth/age, Address, Telephone Number, and National Insurance Number.
- Information about the instructions you have given to us and the advice we have given to you in dealing with any particular case.
- Notes of conversations/incidents that might occur for which a record needs to be kept.
- Any correspondence relating to your case with Other Solicitors, Estate Agents, Banks and Building Societies, Courts, Prosecution, Probation Service, Agents, Barristers, Medical or other Experts, generated in carrying out your instructions.
- Notes, statements, documents, and criminal records disclosed to us by the Police (or other investigative agencies) or the Crown Prosecution Service (or other Prosecution agencies) as part of the case we are dealing with for you.
We obtain the data that we hold from you, the Police or other investigative agencies, the Court, the Crown Prosecution Service or other Prosecution agency, and any of those parties mentioned below who may respond to requests that we make in acting for you in your case.
Why do we hold Information about you?
We need to keep comprehensive and accurate personal data about our clients in order to provide them with appropriate Legal Representation. This enables us to ensure that all appropriate steps in any case are taken at appropriate times, without constant reference to you for minor details. We also need to process personal data about you in order to provide Representation under Legal Aid.
In Legal Aid cases, the Legal Aid Agency is the Data Controller, and we are the Data Processor. In Private cases, we are the Data Controller. The person responsible for ensuring that the data we hold is secure, used only for lawful purposes, accessible by those with the right to access, and destroyed or deleted at the appropriate time is the firm’s owner Chris Bentley.
File retention is a requirement of the Law Society, the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Legal Aid Agency.
Your file (both paper and any electronic data on our computer case management system) will be retained for a period of at least 6 years after the conclusion of the case. Paper files may be stored away from our office. These can be retrieved, but as retrieving archived files involves a cost we reserve the right to charge for retrieving old files.
Once the 6-year period has passed, the paper file will be destroyed by secure shredding, and any electronic data will be deleted.
Security of Information
This Firm holds personal information about you on our computer system and/or in manual records. This information is not accessible to the public and only members of staff have access to it.
Any suspected breaches should initially be reported to Chris Bentley as the person responsible. You also may be able to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
Disclosure of Information
In order to provide you with the best standard of advice and representation we may need to disclose personal information about you to: –
- Your General Medical Practitioner, or any other Health Professionals caring for you from whom we need to obtain evidence or a Report for our use in representing you.
- Any other Expert Witness from whom we need to obtain evidence or a Report for our use in representing you.
- Any Agent or Barrister instructed to act on our behalf within the proceedings.
- The Legal Aid Agency.
In very limited circumstances, and usually only with your express consent, we may need to disclose information to: –
- Banks or Building Societies.
- The Land Registry.
- The Law Society.
- The Courts.
- The Crown Prosecution Service or other Prosecuting Authorities.
- The Police.
- The Probation Service.
- Relevant Schools, Colleges or other educational institutions.
- Other Government schemes or initiative set up to provide specific assistance (for example Project 91, NORCAS, TADS).
Disclosure will take place on a ‘need-to-know’ basis, so that only those individuals/organisations who need to know in order to provide the resources needed to deal with your case will be given the information. Only the information that the recipient needs to know will be disclosed.
In very limited circumstances or when required by Law or a Court Order, personal Data may have to be disclosed to a third party. In other cases disclosure will only occur when we have your consent. We will treat your agreement to a certain course of action (for example to obtain a medical report for use in Court) as your consent to the disclosure of the information needed to carry out that course of action.
Where possible you will be informed of any requests for disclosure.
You have the right of access to the data that we hold about you and to receive a copy. Access may be obtained by making a request in writing addressed to Chris Bentley at this office. We may require evidence of your identity before being able to comply with the request.