Lindsay Solicitors Data Protection Policy
(22 May 2018)
The data (information) we obtain, store and use (“process”) relates to:-
• Our clients and their cases,
• Our staff
• Our business
All of this is confidential, quite apart from Data Protection Regulations. Information about clients and their cases in particular is protected by solicitor-client confidentiality, which has been recognised recognised and protected by law for hundreds of years.
Under the Data Protection Regulations, we are obliged to state a Data Protection Policy covering certain matters. This policy therefore explains how Lindsay Solicitors collects, manages, uses and protects data. It outlines the types of data we hold and how we use that data to:-
• provide services to our clients
• look after our staff and
• manage our business
If we hold your data, we will give you a written notice (a “Privacy Notice”) setting out what information we hold about you in more detail than this general policy.
Lindsay Solicitors is the “data controller” for any data that we hold.
Our Legal Basis for Processing Your Data
Lindsay Solicitors processes and stores personal information relating to staff, clients and, where relevant to clients’ cases, witnesses, families and other parties to cases.
We hold this data in order to carry out the work we do in representing and advising clients effectively and efficiently.
We also hold data in order to protect our legitimate business interests in recording what work has been done for clients
We hold data on our staff in order to manage our staff and promote their welfare and career development.
Like all solicitors, we are regulated by various organisations and have to follow a number of professional rules, regulations, codes of conduct etc. Many of these rules mean that we need to be able to demonstrate what work we do on cases or in managing our business and staff, so we need to hold data in order to do that.
We do not send out marketing mail or e-mails. We may contact people whose data we hold by post, e-mail, phone, text and/or social media if necessary or appropriate depending on why we hold your data. If we do hold your data, we will let you know about this in more detail as appropriate to your circumstances.
Where Your Data Comes From
Most of the data held by us is obtained directly from the people whose data we hold. We also receive data from the courts, the Scottish Legal Aid Board, the Procurator Fiscal, the police, the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration, witnesses, doctors, social workers, other parties to court cases and their representatives, HMRC.
The Data We Hold
The data we hold is confidential. Our over-riding duty is to safeguard our clients’ best interests and this is recognised in the Data Protection Regulations. In some cases, even the fact that a client has consulted us is confidential. We cannot therefore give details of what sort of information we hold, as this may be confidential in a number of cases and we cannot therefore give out public information about this. Disclosing what information we hold will therefore depend on the circumstances of the situation or case in which we come into possession of data. If we hold data about a person, then (subject to client and case confidentiality) we will write out to the person with details of the data we hold.
Generally, the data we hold is exactly the sort of data anyone would expect a solicitor to hold regarding the cases they are handling (for example, client details, the circumstances of the case, witness details etc.) and the business they are running and will not surprise anyone.
How We Use Data
We will use the data we hold to understand clients’ cases, advise and represent our clients, to manage our business and to comply with the various rules and regulations we have to follow as a professional firm.
During the work we carry out, we will contact people involved in the case or with this firm by post, e-mail, phone, text and/or social media, complying with any preferences they have expressed.
If at any time a person’s personal details as held by us change, they can inform us straight away and we will update these. In virtually all situations, we will need people to contact us to update their details as, otherwise, it may become impossible for us properly to prepare and conduct their case, advise them or obtain necessary information from them as required.
We have a legal obligation to supply information about people with whom we work for certain statutory, regulatory or professional reasons. For example, we may be obliged to supply information to the Scottish Legal Aid Board, the court, court officials, the Procurator Fiscal, any other parties involved in a case or their representatives, the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration, witnesses, the Law Society of Scotland or other lawyers assisting with a case, all depending on the circumstances of the individual case and always where consistent with a client’s instructions and right to confidentiality.
The data we supply to bodies such as these is strictly limited to what is necessary, advisable or authorised by clients.
Discussions between solicitors and their clients are confidential. Even the fact that a client has consulted a solicitor may be confidential if a client requires it to be treated in this way. This is a very old and longstanding rule of law and one which is recognised and respected in all civilised countries. This is guarded very carefully by us. Accordingly the personal information that we obtain stays within and is secured within this office.
The information is confidential. We do not sell anyone’s details. We do not send marketing material or spam e-mails. We do not pass any information onto marketing companies. Information is only passed to other parties as listed above when it is necessary, required in a client’s interests, when disclosure of that information is authorised, when it advances a client’s case, when it is necessary for staff welfare, when it is required by law or when we are compelled to disclose information by order of a court. These orders are very rare and are strictly supervised by a court subject to very stringent safeguards.
Any information supplied in this way will be strictly limited to what is required.
In addition, the personal information we obtain and hold is processed in accordance with all relevant data protection legislation. When this legislation is amended or replaced, we review and update our date processing practices accordingly.
The data we hold is always securely processed and transmitted, protecting against unauthorised or unlawful processing, accidental loss, destruction or damage. Any data we hold will not be open to access to any external organisation except those as described above in the circumstances described above except for those acting as our agents (such as IT support contractors) under defined agreements.
Data is never “sold” to third parties. Limited data may be shared with expert witnesses for example as required by the circumstances of a case. This information is shared only as necessary for the case and for collection of evidence in the case and is not retained for longer than necessary.
Your Rights and Preferences
We consider our relationship with clients to be life-long. It is not unusual for us to be “family lawyers” having represented people, their children and then their grandchildren. Because of the nature of the advice and representation we provide, we retain this information in accordance with guidelines laid down from time to time by the Law Society of Scotland in full, and in a basic computerised form so that we are able to refer to this (even if it is of considerable age) when we are (as we have been) required to do so in connection with family background affecting a client or their case now, for example, if a client needs verification of what took place in a family action when their children have grown up, or if someone has to explain the circumstances of a previous charge or conviction if it shows up on a future Disclosure or PVG Report.
We will always try to ensure that the data we hold is up to date, reasonable and not excessive. Any person about whom we hold date always have the right (subject to client and case confidentiality) to:-
• Be informed as to how we use this data (via a privacy notice)
• Access to request a copy of the data we hold about you (see below)
• Update their information at any time
• Ask us to remove their data from our records, subject to client confidentiality, the requirements of a case and the duties we have under the regulations affecting legal practice (see below)
• Withdraw consent where it is used as a legal basis for processing subject to statutory requirements
At any time, you can update your details, specify your communication preferences or contact us at email@example.com.
If you exercise your right to be removed from our database, we will maintain some core data in order to comply with statutory, regulatory or other professional duties and in order to safeguard our legitimate interests in demonstrating what work was done and vouching what work was done in the event of any issues arising.
Contact us if you have any questions about this privacy notice, please contact us at 75 Buccleuch Street, Dumfries DG1 2AB, telephone number 01387 259 236 and fax number 01387 267747.
Full details of our data protection and other policies are available on our website at www.lindsaysolicitors.co.uk.
If at any time we use data for new purposes not currently described in this privacy notice, then we will always post policy changes at www.lindsaysolicitors.co.uk