This notice explains when and why we collect personal information about you; how we use it, when we may pass it on to others and how we keep it safe.
When processing your information, we will comply with the six enforceable principles of good practice. These provide that your personal information must be:
- processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner,
- processed for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes,
- adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary,
- accurate and kept up-to-date,
- kept for no longer than is necessary, and
- processed in a manner than ensures appropriate security.
Information you give to us
We may collect, use, store and transfer different kinds of personal information about you, including:
- Identity Data, such as your name, marital status, title, date of birth, gender, job title and your employer,
- Contact Data, such as your home and work addresses, personal and work email addresses and personal and work telephone numbers,
- Document Data, such as copies of your passport, driving licence, utility bills, etc,
- Medical Data, including your physical and mental medical history, details of any medical conditions, your dietary preferences and details of any food allergies,
- Third Party Data, namely Identity Data, Contact Data, Document Data and Medical Data relating to your family members, business colleagues and other contacts,
- Financial Data, such as bank account, salary and payment card details, and details of any payments you make to us or we make to you,
- Transaction Data, including details about the legal and other services we may provide to you,
- Technical Data, including IP addresses, your log-in data, browser type and version, time-zone setting and location, browser plug-in types and versions, operating system and platform and other technology on the devices you use to access our website,
- Profile Data, such as your username, password, purchases or orders made by you, your interests, preferences, feedback and survey responses, and
- Marketing Data, such as your preferences in receiving marketing from us and our third parties, and your communication preferences.
‘Special category’ data
Information relating to your racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, health, criminal convictions, sex life or sexual orientation, or certain types of genetic or biometric data is known as ‘special category’ data.
During the course of providing you with legal services, we may collect ‘special category’ data about you, particularly if we prepare your will, bring an employment or discrimination claim on your behalf, buy or sell a company with large number of employees, or bring certain types of court claims on your behalf.
How we collect your personal information
We may obtain personal information by directly interacting with you, such as:
- meeting with you in our offices, at events or elsewhere,
- receiving your instructions to provide legal services, and in the performance of those legal services,
- logging onto the wi-fi network in our offices,
- giving us your business card,
- entering a competition, promotion or survey organised by us, or otherwise providing us with feedback,
- subscribing to our services or publications, or otherwise requesting marketing material to be sent to you, or
- corresponding with us by phone, video call, email, letters or otherwise.
We may obtain personal information via automated technology when you interact with our website by using cookies, server logs and other similar technologies.
We may also collect personal information about you from third parties or publicly-available sources, such as:
- your family members, your business colleagues and other contacts,
- the ‘other side’ in any dispute or negotiation,
- official bodies such as Companies House, HM Land Registry, the Office of the Public Guardian, the Court of Protection, the Probate Court and the General Register Office,
- your professional advisers and business networks with which both you and we are connected,
- analytics providers (such as Google),
- advertising networks,
- providers of technical, payment and delivery services, and
- by conducting searches of publicly-available databases or social media sites, such as Companies House, various trade mark registers, Thirdfort, Legl, Facebook, X (formerly known as Twitter), LinkedIn and the electoral register.
How we use your personal information
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:
- you have given us consent,
- we need to perform a contract we are about to enter into, or have entered into, with you (including carrying out agreed legal services that we agree to provide to you),
- where it is necessary for our or a third party’s legitimate interests, and your interests and rights do not override those interests, or
- where we need to comply with a legal or regulatory obligation.
We will only use ‘special category’ information:
- provided we have your explicit consent to use it,
- where we believe that we need to use that data to protect your vital interests where you are not able to provide us with your explicit consent,
- where it is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest,
- where you have previously made that data public knowledge,
- if we need to use that data to establish, exercise or defend legal claims, or
- where there is some other legal basis that allows us to use that information.
Purposes for which we will use your personal information
We may use your personal information for a number of different purposes. For each purpose, we are required to confirm the ‘legal basis’ that allows us to use your information, as follows:
Purposes for which we will use the information you give to us
To register you as a new client and verify your identity
It will be necessary for the performance of the contract between you and us, and necessary for us to comply with a legal obligation to which we are subject under the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering legislation
To process your instructions and, if accepted, to provide the legal services to you (including managing payments, fees and charges)
It will be necessary for the performance of the contract between you and us
Where you are acting as a representative of a company or organisation, then to register that company or organisation as a new client
It will be necessary for us to comply with a legal obligation to which we are subject under the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering legislation, and it will be necessary for our legitimate business interests, namely with a view to performing legal services
Where you are acting as a representative of a company or organisation, to process your instructions and, if accepted, to provide the legal services to that company or organisation (including managing payments, fees and charges)
It will be necessary for our legitimate business interests, namely with a view to performing legal services
To obtain further information about you, any company or organisation you represent, and the matter that is the subject of the legal services we have agreed to provide
It will be necessary for our legitimate business interests to ensure we are fully aware of all issues relating to the matter that is the subject of the legal services we have agreed to provide
Where we are acting for our client in a matter against or otherwise relating to you
It will be necessary for us to comply with a legal obligation to which we are subject under our regulatory code of conduct, and it will be necessary for our legitimate business interests, namely with a view to performing legal services for the benefit of our client
To collect and recover money owed to us
It will be necessary for our legitimate business interests, namely to ensure we receive payment for legal services that we have provided
It will be necessary for our legitimate business interests, namely to ensure you are aware of our current terms and conditions
To administer our website , to apply online security processes and for internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, remote email access, cyber-security, testing, research, statistical and survey purposes, to allow you to participate in interactive features of our service, when you choose to do so, to measure or understand the effectiveness of advertising we serve to you and others, and to deliver relevant advertising to you and to make suggestions and recommendations to you and other users of our website about goods or services that may interest you or them
To enable you to participate in a prize draw, competition or complete a survey
It will be necessary for our legitimate business interests, namely to study how clients, prospective clients, referrers and other third parties use our services, to develop them and help grow our business
To enable us to generate and provide you with access codes and/or passwords to log onto the wi-fi network in our offices
It will be necessary for our legitimate business interests, namely to keep a record of who logs onto our wi-fi network because we may, in certain circumstances, be liable for the transmission of unlawful material via that network
To provide you with information about special offers and other services we provide.
Where you have previously received marketing communications from us, then it will be necessary for our legitimate business interests, namely to ensure you continue to receive communications that you have previously agreed to receive unless you decide to ‘opt out’ of receiving those communications
Where you specifically ask us to provide you with certain marketing communications, then it will be necessary for our legitimate business interests, namely to ensure we provide you with the communications that you have requested
In all other cases, we will only do this if you give us your consent
To invite you to corporate events, such as seminars, workshops, charity golf days and corporate hospitality and thereafter to manage your attendance at the event in questions to include managing information on your dietary preferences if the event is catered
It will be necessary for our legitimate business interests to ensure you are aware of the latest legal developments in relation to the legal services we have provided to you, or are providing to you, or otherwise to develop our relationship with you outside of the working environment
Where you would not normally have a reasonable expectation of receiving such invites from us, we will only send you invites if you agree
Where the information collected relates to any dietary preference which may be considered to be 'special category data', for example by indicating a particular religious or philosophical view, or a medical issue or allergy, we will only process this information with your explicit consent.
We will only use your personal information for the purpose(s) 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.
What if you cannot or will not provide us with your personal information
It is a statutory requirement for you to provide us with certain information, namely sufficient information to verify your identity. If you do not provide us with that information, we will be unable to accept your instructions and provide you with legal services.
It is also a contractual requirement for you to provide us with certain information. If you do not provide us with that information, we may be unable to accept your instructions and/or provide you with the full range of our legal services and advice.
Disclosure of your information
We may share your personal information with the parties set out below:
- any other parties in relation to your legal matter to the extent we reasonably consider that it is appropriate or in your best interests for us to do so (including your professional advisers, the ‘other side’ and their professional advisers, witnesses, professional experts and foreign attorneys who assist us with providing specialist non-UK legal advice),
- institutions within the British legal system, such as courts and tribunals and the personnel working with them,
- official bodies such as Companies House, HM Land Registry, the Office of the Public Guardian and the General Register Office,
- HM Revenue & Customs, the Information Commissioner’s Office, the Solicitors Regulatory Authority, the Law Society, the Legal Ombudsman, the Legal Services Board, the National Crime Agency, the Serious Fraud Office and any other regulators and other authorities who require reporting of processing activities in certain circumstances,
- credit-reference and fraud prevention agencies,
- identification verification services, such as Legl and Thirdfort,
- payment services providers,
- where you are referred to us by a third party, we may provide them with certain information about you and your transaction,
- Certainty - The National Will Register, in circumstances where we provide you with will-writing services or otherwise store a copy of your will,
- professional advisers and business networks with which we are connected,
- our outsourced IT services provider, RockIT, together with providers of wi-fi, IT, mailing list, electronic signature services and system administration services to our business, including online cloud and data-room providers,
- our professional advisers (including solicitors, bankers, auditors and insurers),
- our quality assurance assessors, including LawNet and LegalEye,
- business partners, suppliers and sub-contractors to the extent we consider it reasonably necessary for us to perform our services,
- analytics and search engine providers that assist us in the improvement and optimisation of our website,
- caterers and hospitality staff, event organisers, training providers and other parties we collaborate with for the purposes of organising and staging our corporate events, and
- third parties to whom we may choose to sell, transfer, or merge parts of our business or our assets. Alternatively, we may seek to acquire other businesses or merge with them. If a change happens to our business, then the new owners may use your personal information in the same way as set out in this policy.
We require all third parties to respect the security of your personal information and to treat it in accordance with the law. We do not allow our third-party service providers to use your personal information for their own purposes and only permit them to process your personal information for specified purposes and in accordance with our instructions.
Where we store your personal information
All information you provide to us is stored on our secure servers in the United Kingdom, or on secure cloud-based services in a country within the European Economic Area.
We will take all steps reasonably necessary to ensure that your data is treated securely, including taking the following safeguards:
- Entry controls. Access to our offices is secured by means of electronic entry controls. The main building reception is staffed during normal working hours.
- Secure lockable desks and cupboards. Desks and cupboards are kept locked when not in use if they hold confidential information of any kind.
- Methods of disposal. Paper documents are disposed of by shredding in a manner that ensures confidentiality.
- Off-site storage. We use a third-party off-site storage facility for archived files. Access to the facility is secured.
- Equipment. Our internal policies require that users lock or log-off from their computer when it is unattended.
- Firewalls and encryption. We apply industry-standard firewall protection and encryption technology.
- Training. We ensure our employees are trained in the importance of data security.
- Compliant agreements. Where we grant third parties access to your data, we will enter into a contract with them that complies with applicable data protection rules to ensure they process your data securely.
- Electronic access. All data stored electronically is password-protected. Where we have provided an authorised user with a password, that user is responsible for keeping this password confidential and is not permitted to share the password with anyone.
- Overseas transfers. Whenever we transfer your personal information outside the United Kingdom, we ensure a similar degree of protection is afforded to it by ensuring that we apply appropriate safeguards (either by transferring data only to recipients in the European Economic Area, to recipients in countries determined by the United Kingdom to have adequate or equivalent levels of data protection, or by using specific contracts approved by the UK Information Commissioner).
Some of the data that we collect from you may be transferred to third parties (for example, to Dropbox and other cloud providers, and any foreign lawyers or attorneys that we use to provide advice on non-UK legal matters) who will store the data at a destination outside the United Kingdom. We will let you know when we engage any foreign lawyers or associates. If you are concerned about the levels of data security in those countries, please let us know and we will endeavour to advise what steps will be taken to protect your data when stored overseas.
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 data transmitted to our website; any transmission is at your own risk. Once we have received your information, we will use strict procedures and security features to try to prevent unauthorised access.
How long we will store your personal information
The length of time that we will store your data will depend on the ‘legal basis’ for why we are using that data, as follows:
Length of time
Where we use/store your data because it is necessary for the performance of the contract between you and us
We will use/store your data for as long as it is necessary for the performance of the contract between you and us
Where we use/store your data because it is necessary for us to comply with a legal obligation to which we are subject
We will use/store your data for as long as it is necessary for us to comply with our legal obligations
Where we use/store your data because it is necessary for our legitimate business interests
We will use/store your data for as long as it is necessary for our legitimate business interests, or such earlier time as you ask us to stop. However, if we can demonstrate the reason why we are using/storing your data is more important than your interests, rights and freedoms, then we will be allowed to continue to use/store your data for as long as it is necessary for our legitimate business interests
Where we use/store your data because you have given us your specific, informed and unambiguous consent
We will use/store your data until you ask us to stop
To determine the appropriate retention period for personal information, we consider the amount, nature and sensitive of the personal information, the potential risk of harm from unauthorised use or disclosure of your personal information, the purposes for which we process your personal information and whether we can achieve those purposes through other means, and the applicable legal requirements.
Further details relating to periods of retention, methods of destruction and receiving a copy of your file from us prior to destruction are set out in our standard terms of business.
You have various legal rights in relation to the information you give us, or which we collect about you, as follows:
- You have a right to access the information we hold about you free-of-charge, together with various information about why and how we are using your information, to whom we may have disclosed that information, from where we originally obtained the information and for how long we will use your information.
- You have the right to ask us to rectify any information we hold about you that is inaccurate or incomplete.
- You have the right to ask us to erase the information we hold about you (the ‘right to be forgotten’). Please note that this right can only be exercised in certain circumstances and, if you ask us to erase your information and we are unable to do so, we will explain why not.
- You have the right to ask us to stop using your information where: (i) the information we hold about you is inaccurate; (ii) we are unlawfully using your information; (iii) we no longer need to use the information; or (iv) we do not have a legitimate reason to use the information. Please note that we may continue to store your information, or use your information for the purpose of legal proceedings or for protecting the rights of any other person.
- You have the right to ask us to transmit the information we hold about you to another person or company in a structured, commonly-used and machine-readable format. Please note that this right can only be exercised in certain circumstances and, if you ask us to transmit your information and we are unable to do so, we will explain why not.
- Where we use/store your information because it is necessary for our legitimate business interests, you have the right to object to us using/storing your information. We will stop using/storing your information unless we can demonstrate why we believe we have a legitimate business interest which is more important than your interests, rights and freedoms.
- Where we use/store your data because you have given us your specific, informed and unambiguous consent, you have the right to withdraw your consent at any time.
- You have the right to object to us using/storing your information for direct marketing purposes.
If you wish to exercise any of your legal rights, please contact our Data Protection Officer, Iain Garfield, by writing to the address at the top of this policy, or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You also have the right, at any time, to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office if you believe we are not complying with the laws and regulations relating to the use/storage of the information you give us, or that we collect about you.
Opting out of receiving marketing communications
You can ask us to stop sending you marketing communications at any time by contacting our Data Protection Officer, Iain Garfield, by writing to the address on this website, or by emailing us at email@example.com.
We do not use automated decision-making processes.
Third party links
Our website may include links to third-party websites, plug-ins and applications. Clicking on those links or enabling those connections may allow third parties to collect or share data about you. We do not control these third-party websites and are not responsible for their privacy statements. When you leave our website, we encourage you to read the privacy notice of every website you visit.
Identifying you as a client of the firm
If you are a business client, we may identify you as a client of the firm in our marketing material or in legal directories, although we will never publicly disclose any confidential information about your legal matters without having obtained your prior consent. If you do not agree to us identifying you as a customer of the firm, please notify our Data Protection Officer, Iain Garfield, by writing to the address on this website, or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are an individual client, we will also ask for your consent before identifying you as a client of the firm.
Changes to our policy
Any changes we make to our policy in the future will be posted on our website and, where appropriate, notified to you by email or via social media. Please check our website frequently to see any updates or changes to our policy.
Questions, comments and requests regarding this policy are welcomed and should be addressed to our Data Protection Officer, Iain Garfield, by writing to the address on this website, or by emailing us at email@example.com.