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Data Protection Information Document for website visitors and enquiries

 This document covers how we use the information provided to us by those using our website and people who make initial enquiries with us (including via our website). 

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 any legal services that we undertake, including handling enquiries and providing initial advice in relation to that enquiry
  • 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.

Where you have made an enquiry, we may 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.

We may use “cookies” on our website, to obtain information about you in order to track and analyse your use of our website and personalise the information our website provides to you. Details of the cookies we use can be found at https://www.coles-law.co.uk/privacy-policy-2/

 

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 Enquiry

If you make an enquiry with us, 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 information, such as fee earners and support staff working on your enquiry and senior members of the firm for the purposes of supervision, checking your information for quality purposes or to deal with any complaints.

After your Enquiry

If you decide to become our client, you will be provided with a separate document detailing how we will deal with your information from that point forward.

If you do not become a client, we will hold any paper or electronic documents which you have provided to us for the purpose of assessing your enquiry for a period of 12 months from your initial enquiry. After the period referred to above has elapsed, we will destroy the documents securely. Once that has happened, the documents will no longer be available.

We will hold any other electronically stored data which we record during your enquiry in our file management systems for 24 months. Some information, including your name and address and the names and addresses of other people involved in the matter may be kept permanently. This is necessary to ensure a speedy recovery of information if required and also to ensure that our procedures identify any conflicts between clients/potential clients in the future.

What your rights are

If you are an individual, you have a right under the Data Protection Act 2018 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

 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.

We may share your information with third parties (including law enforcement agencies) where we are required to do so by law.

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 enquiry (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 matter 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 matter available for checking you must notify us immediately and we will mark your matter 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.