Data Protection

Why we need information about you

We need to collect, hold and use information about our clients so that we can provide a comprehensive service in all areas of our expertise. The purpose of this Statement is to explain to you how we use this information. We are registered under the Data Protection Act 1998 and will comply with its terms in relation to any information you provide to us. In particular, we are required to confirm to you the purposes for which we will use that information.

What information?

We collect, hold and use information which relates to you. This is likely to include details about your name, date of birth, address and financial information. The information may also be about your family, your employment and, where appropriate, details of your business. We may need to use sensitive personal data relating to you to the extent reasonably required in connection with your matter. This could include information relating to your race or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious beliefs, trade union membership, physical or mental health, sexual life or the commission or alleged commission of any offence by you or any related proceedings.

How do we get the information?

You may provide the information to us at different times. This could be when you initially instruct us on a matter or as the matter progresses. You may also provide us with information when you contact us with any queries or when you talk to any member of our staff. We may also receive information from third parties involved with your matter, for example, from another party or their solicitor.

How do we use your information?

We use the information about you:

  • To provide our services to you including communicating with you and preparing appropriate advice, assistance and documentation as required for your matter;
  • When communicating with you we will use non-encrypted e-mail for communicating with you, unless you request us not to do so. (You should be aware that e-mail and other modes of electronic &/or internet communication are not necessarily instantaneous or secure forms of communication, and information sent in this way can be intercepted, lost, destroyed or be incomplete.
  • Also communications by a mobile phone are not secure. If you do not want us to communicate with you by e-mail, fax or mobile phone, please let us know);
  • To enable others working with us in relation to your matter to provide services, such as a barrister, a consultant or external transcription service;
  • To communicate with others as required by you, by law or as otherwise necessary in connection with your affairs. In certain circumstances such communication may be to parties outside the European Economic Area, which we will discuss with you first;
  • For communicating with you, from time to time, in connection with our firm and our services generally, such as e-briefs or other marketing material (unless you, at any time, request otherwise);
  • For our internal administrative procedures, including the monitoring of e-mails as detailed below;
  • To use the information where reasonably required to enable our third party suppliers to carry out their services for us or to improve our business processes, e.g. the transfer of data from one generation of computer equipment to another, or to monitor or improve the efficient operation of our IT networks and software;
  • In connection with the monitoring or assessment of the firm and the provision of services by it.

Who do we share your information with?

We may need to share the information about you (including sensitive information) with other people, such as:- During the conduct of your case it may be necessary for us to have contact with a third party where, in order to progress the matter to your advantage, it is necessary for us to disclose information which might otherwise be considered to be confidential. This might include, for example, a barrister or consultant. You agree to us using our professional judgement in such an instance and authorise us to disclose any such information as we consider to be in your best interests at the time;

The Data we hold (including the information about you) may be disclosed to our third party suppliers to carry out their services for us (e.g. the transfer of data from one generation of computer equipment to another); We monitor e-mails to investigate or detect unauthorised use of our e-mail system, or for any purpose permitted by law. As a result, we may collect personal data about the people sending &/or receiving the e-mail, or which is contained in the e-mail. By instructing this firm, you also authorise us to carry out the above activities for the above purposes and to hold and process any data consequently collected; To ensure that our service is continually of a good quality and complies with proper professional standards we may need to share information with those bodies assessing our performance.

Unless you notify us otherwise in writing, we will assume we have your authority to produce your file and other documents and to give information for that purpose to those authorities, assessors and auditors as part of our compliance with accounting and professional rules. This will enable us to ensure that standards are maintained, but does constitute an exception to our general undertaking as to the confidentiality of your affairs; We may transfer data we hold to successors to our business, or to any part of the business, (whether as a result of any structural change or reorganisation on our part, transfer, or otherwise).

How long do we keep your information?

We will try to regularly check your information to make sure it is still up to date. If you think we need to update any of the information we hold please let us know. We will keep your information for as long as it is relevant to the purposes of the work on which you have instructed us and the purposes set out above. We may also be required to retain the information to comply with legal or regulatory requirements and the requirements of our insurers. We will take steps to keep the information safe while we hold it and when we do not need it any more we will destroy it safely.

Accessing your information

If you would like to access any of the information we hold about you please write to: Sue Bowler, Coffin Mew LLP, 1000 Lakeside North Harbour, Western Road, Portsmouth, PO6 3EN. You may be charged a fee and there may be some information we are unable to provide to you.

Questions

If you have any questions or concerns about the information we hold and use about you then please do not hesitate to contact: Sue Bowler, Coffin Mew LLP, 1000 Lakeside North Harbour, Western Road, Portsmouth, PO6 3EN.