The purpose of this notice is to tell you what to expect when we collect your personal information. Please consider it carefully to ensure that you understand how we collect and handle your personal data and for what purposes.
Buchanans Solicitors is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. For the purposes of GDPR, if you provide any personal information to us we will be the Data Controller. We are required to process all your personal data lawfully, fairly, and in a transparent manner.
The exact information we will request from you will depend on what you have asked us to do or what we are contracted to do for you. We may collect information from you when you use our website or contact or request information from us as part of providing legal and property services to you, including the following types of information:
- Your title, full name, and contact details (including for instance, your email address, home and mobile telephone numbers).
- Your home and correspondence address (where this is different from your home address).
- Bank account and payment details to enable us to make and take payments.
- Your date of birth, and information relating to your identity where we are required by law to collect this to comply with the current Money Laundering Regulations and the Immigration Act.
- Information on your close contacts where we are required to conduct checks in relation to conflicts of interest under regulatory obligations.
- Information provided by you or collected by us as part of client intake procedures and personal information provided by you or others to us, or which is created by us, in the course of our providing our services.
- Information arising from visits you make to our website and other websites associated with our legal and property business including information which you submit to us through these websites.
- Information collected at marketing events and from feedback forms and surveys.
- Information passed to us by third parties in order that we can undertake your legal work on your behalf. Typically these organisations can be:
- Banks or building societies
- Panel providers who allocate legal work to law firms
- Organisations which have referred work to us
- Medical or financial institutions – who provide your personal records / information
The primary reason for asking you to provide us with your personal information, is to allow us to carry out your requests – which will ordinarily be to represent you and carry out your legal and property work.
The following are some examples, although not exhaustive, of what we may use your information for:
- Verifying your identity
- Verifying source of funds
- Communicating with you
- To establish funding of your matter or transaction
- Obtaining insurance policies on your behalf
- Processing your legal and property transaction including, providing you with advice; commissioning and carrying out services on your behalf; preparing documents to complete transactions
- Keeping financial records of your transactions and the transactions we make on your behalf
- Seeking advice from third parties; such as legal and non-legal experts
- Responding to any complaint or allegation of negligence against us
- To meet our legal, regulatory and risk management obligations
We have a data protection regime in place to oversee the effective and secure processing of your personal data. We will not sell or rent your information to third parties. We will not share your information with third parties for marketing purposes.
Generally, we will only use your information within Buchanans Solicitors. However, there may be circumstances, in carrying out your legal work, where we may need to disclose some information to third parties; for example:
- HM Land Registry to register a property
- HM Revenue & Customs; e.g. for Stamp Duty liability
- Court or Tribunal
- Solicitors acting on the other side
- Asking an independent Barrister or Counsel for advice; or to represent you
- Non-legal experts to obtain advice or assistance
- Translation Agencies
- Contracted Suppliers
- External auditors or our Regulator; e.g. Specialist Quality Mark auditors, SRA, ICO etc.
- Legal Aid Agency
- The Law Society, particularly the Conveyancing Quality Scheme auditors
- Bank or Building Society; or other financial institutions
- Insurance Companies
- Providers of identity verification
- Any disclosure required by law or regulation; such as the prevention of financial crime and terrorism
- If there is an emergency and we think you or others are at risk
In the event any of your information is shared with those third parties, we ensure so far as we are able that they comply, strictly and confidentially, with our instructions and they do not use your personal information for their own purposes unless you have explicitly consented to them doing so.
There may be some uses of personal data that may require your specific consent. If this is the case, we will contact you separately to ask for your consent which you are free to withdraw at any time.
We recognise that your information is important, and we take all reasonable measures to protect it whilst it is in our care. We ensure all staff and third parties keep matters confidential. We use computer safeguards such as firewalls and data encryption as appropriate; and we enforce, where possible, physical access controls to our buildings and files to keep data safe.
Your personal information will be retained, usually in computer or manual files, only for as long as necessary to fulfil the purposes for which the information was collected; or as required by law; or as long as is set out in any relevant contract you may hold with us. For example:
- As long as necessary to carry out your legal work
- For a minimum of 6 years from the conclusion or closure of your legal work; in case you, or we, need to re-open your case for the purpose of defending complaints or claims against us
- For the duration of a trust
- Some information or matters may be kept for longer – such as matrimonial matters (financial orders or maintenance agreements etc.)
- Probate matters where there is a surviving spouse or civil partner may be retained until the survivor has died in order to deal with the transferable Inheritance Tax allowance
- Wills and related documents and Power of Attorney files may be kept indefinitely
- Deeds related to unregistered property may be kept indefinitely as they evidence ownership
Under GDPR, you are entitled to access your personal data (otherwise known as a ‘right to access’). If you wish to make a request, please do so in writing addressed to our Data Protection Officer Sam Buchanan; or contact the person dealing with your matter.
A request for access to your personal data means you are entitled to a copy of the data we hold on you – such as your name, address, contact details, date of birth, information regarding your health etc.- but it does not mean you are entitled to the documents that contain this data.
Under certain circumstances, in addition to the entitlement to ‘access your data’, you have the following rights:
- The right to be informed: which is fulfilled by way of this privacy notice and our transparent explanation as to how we use your personal data
- The right to rectification: you are entitled to have personal data rectified if it is inaccurate or incomplete
- The right to erasure / ‘right to be forgotten’: you have the right to request the deletion or removal of your personal data where there is no compelling reason for its continued processing. This right only applies in the following specific circumstances:
- Where the personal data is no longer necessary in regard to the purpose for which it was originally collected
- Where consent is relied upon as the lawful basis for holding your data and you withdraw your consent
- Where you object to the processing and there is no overriding legitimate interest for continuing the processing
- The personal data was unlawfully processed
- Where you object to the processing for direct marketing purposes
- The right to object: you have the right to object to processing based on legitimate interests. This right only applies in the following circumstances:
- An objection to stop processing personal data for direct marketing purposes is absolute – there are no exemptions or grounds to refuse – we must stop processing in this context
- You must have an objection on grounds relating to your particular situation
- We must stop processing your personal data unless:
- We can demonstrate compelling legitimate grounds for the processing which override your interests, rights and freedoms; or
- The processing is for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
- The right to restrict processing: you have the right to request the restriction or suppression of your data. When processing is restricted, we can store the data but not use it. This right only applies in the following circumstances:
- Where you contest the accuracy of the personal data – we should restrict the processing until we have verified the accuracy of that data
- Where you object to the processing (where it was necessary for the performance of a public interest or purpose of legitimate interests), and we are considering whether our organisation’s legitimate grounds override your right
- Where processing is unlawful and you request restriction
- If we no longer need the personal data but you require the data to establish, exercise or defend a legal claim
If you wish to raise a complaint on how we have handled your personal data, you can contact our Data Protection Officer who will investigate further. Our Data Protection Officer is Sam Buchanan and you can contact him at SB@BuchanansOnline.com
If you are not satisfied with our response or believe we are not processing your personal data in accordance with the law, you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
Our website and services are not aimed specifically at children because in legal work children are generally represented by their parent or guardians. If you are a child and need further advice or explanation about how we would use your data, please email SB@BuchanansOnline.com.
(Last updated February 2019)