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DATA PROTECTION PRIVACY NOTICE

 

This notice explains what personal data (‘information’) we hold about you, how we collect it, and how we use and may share information about you during the course of us providing you with legal services and after your matter completes. We are required to notify you of this information under data protection legislation.

 

Who collects the information

Bowers & Jessup Solicitors is a ‘data controller’ and gathers and uses certain information about you. In this notice references to ‘we’ or ‘us’ is Bowers & Jessup Solicitors.

 

About the information we collect and hold

We carry out work in a number of practice areas such as Conveyancing, Family Law, Wills and Probate and Lasting Powers of Attorney. When carrying out our legal services we collect various personal information and sensitive information as listed below.

 

What information

We may collect the following information:

  • Your name, contact details (i.e. address, home and mobile phone numbers, email address), national insurance number, date of birth and place of birth;
  • Identity information such as taking a photocopy of your passport, driving licence and utility bills;
  • Financial information such as your income and information about your bank accounts;
  • Information about your health, racial or ethnic origin, biometric and genetic data, information about your family, lifestyle, and social circumstances.

 

How we collect your personal data

We collect personal data about you in the following circumstances:

  • When you contact us by telephone, email or letter to make an enquiry regarding the legal services we offer;
  • When you instruct us to provide you with legal services e.g. at the end of fixed fee consultation, or a telephone call, email or letter instructing us to act for you, and throughout the provision of those services;
  • Information may be passed to us by third parties in order for us to undertake your legal work on your behalf e.g. banks or building societies or medical or financial institutions.

We have a website for information purposes. We do not collect any personal data through our website.

How we use (‘process’) your personal data

We use your personal data to provide legal services to you (i.e. to meet our contractual obligations to you), where we have a legitimate interest, and to comply with legal obligations, particularly in relation to the prevention of money laundering and financial crime. The following are examples of situations where we process your personal data:

  • Communicating with you by letter, telephone calls or emails;
  • To verify your identity;
  • To confirm, update and improve our client records;
  • To provide you with a bill or quotation;
  • To verify your source of funds e.g. in a conveyancing transaction;
  • To respond to any complaints and enquiries you make to us and to comply with legal requirements or to comply with regulatory bodies such as the SRA;
  • When seeking advice from third parties such as experts;
  • For training purposes and to improve our services;
  • When carrying out our obligations arising from any agreements entered into between you and us which will most usually be for the provision of our services, such as attending you and advising, representing you and preparing documentation.

 

How we share your personal data

We pride ourselves in protecting your personal data and have in mind at all times the importance of keeping your personal data confidential. There are circumstances where it is necessary to share your Information when carrying out your legal work, where we are required to do so by law and where we have a legitimate interest, for example with:

  • Insurance companies, estate agents, brokers, bank and building societies and other solicitors involved in your transaction who represent other parties;
  • HMRC, The Probate Registry, Companies House, HM Land Registry, The Court of Protection, a Court or Tribunal, process servers and tracing agents;
  • When we instruct experts or other professionals such as a Barrister to provide advice on your behalf or represent you;
  • Contracted suppliers;
  • External auditors and assessment bodies and our regulators to meet out legal obligations and to provide quality legal services to you.

Activities such as IT and cloud services are carried out by third party services.

 

Data Security

Your Information is valuable and we invest in appropriate resources to protect your personal data from loss, misuse, disclosure or unauthorised access.

How long we keep your Information for

We will retain your personal Information, usually in computer or hardcopy files, only for as long as necessary to fulfil the purposes for which the information was collected, or as required by law. The length of time we retain your personal Information depends upon many factors, including the subject matter (i.e. area of law) of the purpose for which the Information was collected, as demonstrated below:

  • Records of quotations provided by telephone and email are usually kept for 12 weeks;
  • For a minimum of 6 years from the conclusion or closure of your legal work (this includes fixed fee interview notes & ID1 Forms) in case you, or we, need to re-open your case for the purpose of defending complaints or claims against us;
  • Conveyancing Purchase files are specifically kept for 12 years;
  • For the duration of a Trust;
  • Wills and related documents such as memorandums of wishes and notes or Statements under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 will be kept indefinitely unless you instruct us otherwise;
  • We provide you with your Deeds at the end of a conveyancing transaction, unless we have specifically agreed with you that we will retain your Deeds. If we retain your Deeds we will do so indefinitely, unless you instruct us otherwise (e.g. you move away and wish to take them into your possession).

 

Your rights

Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) you have the following rights:

Right to Access – You have the right to request a document from us containing a list of the personal information we hold about you e.g. your name, address, date of birth, health information etc, but this does not mean you are entitled to the documents that contain this data.

If any of your personal data we hold is inaccurate you are entitled to have this rectified.

Right to be forgotten (also known as Data Erasure) – You have the right to request that we erase your personal data and/or to object to our processing your personal data and potentially have third parties cease processing the data. However this does not apply where we have legal justifications to continue processing your data or an overriding legitimate interest.

If you wish to exercise any of the above rights please write to us at Bowers & Jessup Solicitors, Westholme Chambers, 134A Sandgate Road, Folkestone, Kent CT20 2BW.

 

Complaints process

If you wish to complain about how we have handled your personal data please contact our Data Protection Officer who is Miss Aimee Cox on 01303 850678 who will investigate your complaint.

You also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the UK supervisory authority for data protection issues, at any time. Their contact details are as follows:

Wycliffe House Water Lane Wilmslow Cheshire SK9 5AF

Tel: 01625 545 745

Website: https://ico.org.uk/concerns

 

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