Bennett Smith Solicitors are committed to protecting the privacy and security of your personal information. This Privacy Notice describes how we collect and use personal information about you during and after your professional relationship with us, in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”). Bennett Smith Solicitors is a “data controller”. This means that we are responsible for deciding how we hold and use personal information about you. We are required under data protection legislation to notify you of the information contained in this Privacy Notice. It is important that you read this notice, together with any other Privacy Notice we may provide on specific occasions when we are collecting or processing personal information about you, so that you are aware of how and why we are using such information.
We may collect the following information:
Personal data, or personal information, means any information about an individual from which that person can be identified. It does not include data where the identity has been removed (anonymous data).
There are “special categories” of more sensitive personal data which require a higher level of protection.
We may collect, store, and use the following categories of personal information about you:
We may also collect, store and use the following “special categories” of more sensitive personal information:
We collect personal information about clients and prospective clients through their enquiries and instructions to us, either directly from them or via third parties.
We will only use your personal information when the law allows us to. Most commonly, we will use your personal information in the following circumstances:
We may also use your personal information in the following situations, which are likely to be rare:
We need all the categories of information in the list above primarily to allow us to perform our contract with you to provide you with our services and to enable us to comply with legal obligations. In some cases, we may use your personal information to pursue legitimate interests of our own or those of third parties, provided your interests and fundamental rights do not override those interests. The situations in which we will process your personal information are listed below. We have indicated below the purpose or purposes for which we are processing or will process your personal information, as well as indicating which categories of data are involved.
Some of the above grounds for processing will overlap and there may be several grounds which justify our use of your personal information.
If you fail to provide certain information when requested, we may not be able to perform the contract we have entered into with you to provide our services (such as carrying out your instructions), or we may be prevented from complying with our legal obligations (such as to ensure the health and safety of our workers.
We will only use your personal information for the purposes for which we collected it, unless we reasonably consider that we need to use it for another reason and that reason is compatible with the original purpose. If we need to use your personal information for an unrelated purpose, we will notify you and we will explain the legal basis which allows us to do so.
Please note that we may process your personal information without your knowledge or consent, in compliance with the above rules, where this is required or permitted by law.
”Special categories” of particularly sensitive personal information require higher levels of protection. We need to have further justification for collecting, storing and using this type of personal information. We may process special categories of personal information in the following circumstances:
Less commonly, we may process this type of information where it is needed in relation to legal claims or where it is needed to protect your interests (or someone else’s interests) and you are not capable of giving your consent, or where you have already made the information public. We may also process such information about members or former members in the course of legitimate business activities with the appropriate safeguards.
We will use your particularly sensitive personal information in the following ways:
We do not need your consent if we use special categories of your personal information in accordance with our written policy to carry out our legal obligations. In limited circumstances, we may approach you for your written consent to allow us to process certain particularly sensitive data. If we do so, we will provide you with full details of the information that we would like and the reason we need it, so that you can carefully consider whether you wish to consent. You should be aware that it is not a condition of your contract with us that you agree to any request for consent from us.
We may have to share your data with third parties, including third-party service providers.
We require third parties to respect the security of your data and to treat it in accordance with the law.
We may transfer your personal information outside the EU. If we do, you can expect a similar degree of protection in respect of your personal information.
We will share your personal information with third parties where required by law, where it is necessary to administer the working relationship with you or where we have another legitimate interest in doing so.
”Third parties” includes third-party service providers (including contractors and designated agents) and other entities within our group. The following activities are carried out by third-party service providers: IT services, legal advice, archiving and banking transactions.
All our third-party service providers and other entities in the group are required to take appropriate security measures to protect your personal information in line with our policies. We do not allow our third-party service providers to use your personal data for their own purposes. We only permit them to process your personal data for specified purposes and in accordance with our instructions.
Solicitors are under a professional and legal obligation to keep the affairs of clients confidential. This obligation however is subject to Money Laundering Regulations that have placed solicitors under a legal duty in certain circumstances to disclose information to the National Crime Agency. Where a solicitor knows or suspects that a transaction on behalf of a client involves money laundering, the solicitors may be required to make a money laundering disclosure. If this happens, we may not be able to inform you that a disclosure has been made.
We may also disclose your information for the following reasons:
The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 also requires us to take action and notify the relevant authorities if we have knowledge or reasonable suspicion of any form of criminal conduct. We must report any client suspected of criminal activity and may not be able to tell any such client that we are reporting them. In such circumstances, we are also likely to have to stop acting for the client in question. A failure on our part to comply with these obligations could result in a criminal conviction for the solicitor with conduct of the client matter in question.
In complying with our obligations under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, we may be required to spend time addressing issues arising for you and dealing with the relevant regulatory authorities in this area. Any such time spent will be charged to you in the same manner as any other work undertaken in relation to your case.
We reserve the right to ask for the production of any documents and other evidence as are necessary to comply with our obligations in respect of Money Laundering Regulations
We may transfer the personal information we collect about you to countries outside the EU in order to perform our contract with you, provided there is an adequacy decision by the European Commission in respect of those countries. This means that the countries to which we transfer your data are deemed to provide an adequate level of protection for your personal information.
We have put in place measures to protect the security of your information.
Third parties will only process your personal information on our instructions and where they have agreed to treat the information confidentially and to keep it secure.
We have put in place appropriate security measures to prevent your personal information from being accidentally lost, used or accessed in an unauthorised way, altered or disclosed. In addition, we limit access to your personal information to those employees, agents, contractors and other third parties who have a business need to know. They will only process your personal information on our instructions and they are subject to a duty of confidentiality.
We have put in place procedures to deal with any suspected data security breach and will notify you and any applicable regulator of a suspected breach where we are legally required to do so.
How long will you use my information for?
We will only retain your personal information for as long as necessary to fulfil the purposes we collected it for, including for the purposes of satisfying any legal, accounting, or reporting requirements. To determine the appropriate retention period for personal data, we consider the amount, nature, and sensitivity of the personal data, the potential risk of harm from unauthorised use or disclosure of your personal data, the purposes for which we process your personal data and whether we can achieve those purposes through other means, and the applicable legal requirements.
In some circumstances we may anonymise your personal information so that it can no longer be associated with you, in which case we may use such information without further notice to you. Once you are no longer client of Bennett Smith Solicitors we will retain and securely destroy your personal information in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.
Your duty to inform us of changes:
It is important that the personal information we hold about you is accurate and current. Please keep us informed if your personal information changes during your professional relationship with us.
Your rights in connection with personal information:
Under certain circumstances, by law you have the right to:
If you want to review, verify, correct or request erasure of your personal information, object to the processing of your personal data, or request that we transfer a copy of your personal information to another party, please contact the Company in writing.
You will not have to pay a fee to access your personal information (or to exercise any of the other rights).
We may need to request specific information from you to help us confirm your identity and ensure your right to access the information (or to exercise any of your other rights). This is another appropriate security measure to ensure that personal information is not disclosed to any person who has no right to receive it.
In the limited circumstances where you may have provided your consent to the collection, processing and transfer of your personal information for a specific purpose, you have the right to withdraw your consent for that specific processing at any time. To withdraw your consent, please contact the Company. Once we have received notification that you have withdrawn your consent, we will no longer process your information for the purpose or purposes you originally agreed to, unless we have another legitimate basis for doing so in law.
We have appointed a Data Protection Officer to oversee compliance with this privacy notice. If you have any questions about this privacy notice or how we handle your personal information, please contact the Data Protection Officer. You have the right to make a complaint at any time to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the UK supervisory authority for data protection issues.
We reserve the right to update this privacy notice at any time, and we will provide you with a new privacy notice when we make any substantial updates. We may also notify you in other ways from time to time about the processing of your personal information. This privacy notice is effective from 23 May 2018.