Our Privacy Notice
Merseyside Law Centre takes data protection and data security extremely seriously. This Privacy Notice explains the types of personal data we may collect about you. It also explains how we’ll store and handle that data and keep it safe.
We know that there’s a lot of information here, but we want you to be fully informed about your rights, and how the Merseyside Law Centre uses your data. We hope the following sections will answer any questions you have but if not, please do get in touch with us.
Conditions for Processing Data
We are only entitled to hold and process your data where the law allows us to. The current law on data protection sets out a number of different reasons for which a Law Centre may collect and process your personal data. These include:
The main purpose for our holding your data is to provide you with legal services under the agreement we have with you. This agreement is a contract between us and the law allows us to process your data for the purposes of performing a contract (or for the steps necessary to enter in to a contract). We may also need to process your data to meet our contractual obligations to the Legal Aid Agency where you receive legal aid to fund your case or advice.
In specific situations, we require your data to pursue our legitimate interests in a way which might reasonably be expected as part of running the Law Centre and which does not materially impact your rights, freedom or interests. This may include to satisfy our external quality auditors or our Regulators.
If the law requires us to, we may need to collect and process your data. For example, we can pass on details of people involved in fraud or other criminal activity.
In some situations, we can collect and process your data with your consent.
When collecting your personal data, we’ll always make clear to you which data is necessary in connection with a particular service.
When do we collect your data?
We normally collect your data when you provide it to us or when it is provided to us by others. You may give us your data by email; through an online web form; over the telephone; face to face; or by post.
What sort of data do we collect?
We collect your name and contact details. This may include asking for and keeping a copy of your passport / driving licence and proof of address.
We may gather details of your age; ethnicity; gender etc. in particular if required to do so by the Legal Aid Agency where you are in receipt of Legal Aid. Where you have Legal Aid, we may also gather financial information from you.
We also collect and hold information about your case or legal problem.
How do we use our data?
We only use your data for the purposes of providing you with legal advice, assistance and where appropriate, representation and for reasons directly associated with those services (i.e. providing information to quality auditors; the Legal Aid Agency etc.).
How do we protect your data?
We take protecting your data very seriously. The data you give us may be subject to Legal Professional Privilege and is often extremely sensitive and confidential.
With this in mind we will treat your data with the utmost care and take all appropriate steps to protect it. We have clear data protection and information security policies and procedures in place (along with Regulatory and other legal obligations to keep your data safe) and these are regularly assessed as part of our Quality Standards and compliance processes.
We protect our IT system from Cyber Attack. Access to your personal data is password-protected.
We regularly monitor our system for possible vulnerabilities and attacks to identify ways to further strengthen security.
How long will we keep your data?
We only keep your data for as long as is necessary for the purpose(s) for which it was provided. Normally this is for 6 years after your case or matter ends.
This is because we are required to keep client files for that period by our Regulator and / or by the LAA. This also protects you should you be unhappy with our services and want to complain or even sue us after your case ends.
For some cases we may decide that it is proper and appropriate to keep data for longer than 6 years, but we will notify you if we believe that your case falls into this category.
Who do we share your personal data with?
We sometimes share your personal data with trusted third parties. We only do this where it is necessary for providing you legal services or for the effective operation of our legal practice.
For example, we may share your data with barristers; experts; translators; costs draftsmen; secure file storage and destruction companies; auditors; the company that securely hosts our off-site cloud storage servers.
Here’s the policy we apply to those organisations to keep your data safe and protect your privacy:
We provide only the information they need to perform their specific services.
They may only use your data for the exact purposes we specify in our contract with them.
We work closely with them to ensure that your privacy is respected and protected at all times.
If we stop using their services, any of your data held by them will either be deleted or rendered anonymous.
Where is your data processed?
Your data is stored and processed within the EEA. If we ever have to share your personal data with third parties and suppliers outside the European Economic Area (EEA) we will seek your specific consent to do so.
The EEA includes all EU Member countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
What are your rights?
You have the right to request:
Access to the personal data we hold about you, free of charge in most cases.
The correction of your personal data when incorrect, out of date or incomplete.
Deletion of your personal data. The deletion of your personal data, for example, when you withdraw consent, or object and we have no legitimate overriding interest, or once the purpose for which we hold the data has come to an end.
That we stop any consent-based processing of your personal data after you withdraw that consent.
You have the right to request a copy of any information about you that we hold at any time, and also to have that information corrected if it is inaccurate.
To ask for your information, please contact us.
If we choose not to action your request, we will explain to you the reasons for our refusal.
Your right to withdraw consent
Whenever you have given us your consent to use your personal data, you have the right to change your mind at any time and withdraw that consent.
Where we rely on our legitimate interest
In cases where we are processing your personal data on the basis of our legitimate interest, you can ask us to stop for reasons connected to your individual situation. We must then do so unless we believe we have a legitimate overriding reason to continue processing your personal data.
If you feel that your data has not been handled correctly, or you are unhappy with our response to any requests you have made to us regarding the use of your personal data, you have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office. You can contact them by calling 0303 123 1113.
Or go online to www.ico.org.uk/concerns (opens in a new window; please note we can't be responsible for the content of external websites)
We want to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we have provided then you should inform us immediately, so that we can do our best to resolve the problem.
In the first instance it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss your concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues at this stage. If you would like to make a formal complaint, then you can download our full complaints procedure by clicking here. Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic.
You can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
The Legal Ombudsman can help you if we are unable to resolve your complaint ourselves. They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your case.
Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:
Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint
No more than six years from the date of act/omission; or
No more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, please contact them.
Call: 0300 555 0333 between 9am to 5pm.
Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ