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Client Data Protection Information Document for Clients

How we may use your information

We keep information passed to us confidential and will not disclose it to third parties except where:

  • it is authorised by you
  • it is necessary as part of the legal services that we undertake
  • it is detailed in this document or
  • it is required by law or our professional rules.

We have procedures designed to ensure that personal data is used only by appropriately authorised and trained personnel and to safeguard such information against accidental loss or unauthorised disclosure.

We will keep your details on our database so that we can

  • provide you with legal services;
  • undertake administration and accounting purposes;
  • make credit searches and identity validation services; and
  • send you relevant information on our services and on events that may interest you.

All information that we hold concerning you as an individual will be held and processed by us strictly in accordance with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation 2018. We may, from time to time, use your details to send you information or marketing material which we think might be of interest to you. You may ask us to stop sending you this information at any time.

 

Communication Security

Where you provide us with fax or computer network addresses for sending material to, we will assume, unless you tell us otherwise, that your arrangements are sufficiently secure and confidential to protect your interests.

The Internet is not secure and there are risks if you send sensitive information in this manner or you ask us to do so. Data we send by email is not routinely encrypted.

We will take reasonable steps to protect the integrity of our computer systems by screening for viruses on email sent or received. We expect you to do the same for your computer systems.

We will aim to communicate with you by such method as you request. This will normally be in writing (including email), but may be by telephone if it is appropriate. We cannot be responsible for the security of correspondence and documents sent by email or fax.

We may correspond with you by email unless you advise us in writing that you do not wish us to do so. Please note that email may not be secure. Email will be treated as written correspondence and we will assume that the purported sender of an email is the actual sender and that any express or implied approval or authority referred to in an email has been validly given. We may monitor and read any email correspondence travelling between you and any mail recipient at Coles Solicitors.

 

How we store your information

During your case

During the progress of your matter, we may hold your information both electronically and in paper format. We will use all reasonable measures to ensure that your information remains confidential and will advise you immediately if we believe that any of your information has been released. We have procedures in place with our staff members to ensure that your information is only seen by members of staff who have a legitimate reason for accessing your file, such as fee earners and support staff working on your file and senior members of the firm for the purposes of supervision, checking your file for quality purposes or to deal with any complaints.

After your case

Once your matter has concluded, we will deal with your information in the following ways:

Paper Files

We will hold any paper files in our archive storage for at least 6 years from the date that the matter is closed. Where our client is a child, we will hold the paper file for a minimum of 6 years after the child has reached 18 years old. Where the matter is a will, we will hold the file for a minimum of 150 years.

Before files are placed into storage, they may be “filleted” to remove any documents which are already held on our electronic system.

After the period referred to above has elapsed, we will destroy your file securely. Once that has happened, your paper file will no longer be available.

Electronic Files

We will hold electronically stored data in our file management systems for fifteen years (or as long as detailed above for particular types of files, if this is longer than 15 years). This is necessary to ensure a speedy recovery of documents if required and also to ensure that our procedures identify any conflicts between clients in the future.

Wills, Deeds and Powers of Attorney

We will not destroy any documents such as wills, deeds, powers of attorney and other securities that you ask us to hold in safe custody. Please refer to our terms of business for further details about this type of storage.

What your rights are

If you are an individual, you have a right to obtain information from us, including a description of the data that we hold on you. Should you have any queries concerning this right, please contact our Data Protection Compliance Officer.

Who we may give your information to

 If on your authority we are working with other professional advisers or lawyers, we will assume that we may disclose any relevant aspect of your affairs to them.

We may in some cases consult credit reference agencies to assess your creditworthiness. Your continuing instructions to us will constitute your consent to us carrying out such a search. Details of the credit agency we use are available on request.

Where we act for you and your lender we have a duty to fully reveal to your lender or HM Revenue and Customs all relevant facts about your purchase, your mortgage and what makes up the purchase price. Your continuing instructions amount to your consent to us to disclose all relevant information to your lender and to HM Revenue and Customs. This includes any difference between your mortgage application and information you or we receive during the transaction including any cash back payments or discount schemes or other incentives that the seller is providing or allowing or giving to you.

During the course of the firm’s work it may be necessary to discuss your case with cost specialists, experts or counsel. We will disclose information to them which we consider necessary to progress your case.

In addition, we may, from time to time, utilise external service providers who, through providing those services, may have access to information relating to your file (Locum Solicitors, Work Experience Individuals etc.). These service providers are all required to provide a Confidentiality Agreement.

The firm may become subject to periodic checks by Law Society approved Consultants and/or Assessors. This could mean that your file is selected for checking, in which case we would need your consent for the checking to occur. All such checks are conducted by individuals who have provided the firm with a Confidentiality Agreement. If you do not want us to make your file available for checking you must notify us immediately and we will mark your file accordingly. If you refuse to give us consent to checks, your refusal will not affect the way your case is handled in any way.

If you have any objections to us sharing your information you should inform us in writing. Any objections will not prejudice your matter in any way; all that will happen is that we will mark your file to ensure that it is not disclosed without checking with you again first.