Introduction

This Data Privacy Notice explains how Southerns Solicitors Limited (referred to as “we” or “us” in this Notice) protect and process personal data on behalf of clients and others using our services and websites.

Please read this Data Privacy Notice carefully to understand why data is collected and what we do with the data once it is in our possession.

This Data Privacy Notice should be read in conjunction with the firm’s other policies which make reference to data protection:

  • Cookies Policy
  • Website Policy

Client of Southerns should also refer to our general Terms and Conditions which provides further information on confidentiality, data privacy and data disclosure

The Website covered by this Notice is https://www.southernslaw.co.uk/

The Notice does not apply to any websites that may have a link to our website.

Accountability

Data is collected, processed and stored by Southerns Solicitors Limited, 2nd Floor, Lodge House, Cow Lane, Burnley, Lancashire, BB11 1NN who is the data controller

Southerns Solicitors Limited is registered in England under number 08367875.  If you wish to view our Data Protection Act registration at the ICO – the reference is ZA302874. Our VAT number is 174837922.  Southerns Solicitors Limited are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority – 639025.

Our Data Protection Officer is Naomi Hitchin.  Naomi is based at our Lodge House office and can be contacted by email nhitchin@southernslaw.co.uk  or telephone 01282 422711.

Children

Our website and services are not aimed specifically at children because in legal work children are generally represented by their parents or guardian.  If you are a child and need further advice or explanation about how we would or do use your data, please contact our Data Protection Officer, who may be able to assist.

Personal Data

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.  This Data Privacy Notice is intended for clients and prospective clients only.

Applicants for employment and employees have their own Data Privacy Notices.

Typically, we will need your full name, address and date of birth, email and telephone numbers and if a transaction is involved, your banking details may be required too.  In other cases, we may need to ask you about medical or other information of a sensitive nature if this is required to carry out your work.

To comply with our legal obligations to verify your identity we require you to provide copies of certain documents and to respond to any queries we may have.  If a transaction is involved we will be asking about the source of funds and requesting supporting documents.  As part of this process we will carry out on-line searches to assist us in verifying your identity.  Whilst the firm appreciate that such requests may be intrusive, the firm are unable to proceed with your work until these checks have been completed.  Once your matter has been concluded, the file will be archived for at least 6 years.

Categories of personal data held

We keep requests for information to the minimum level required to carry out your instructions and work.

In the majority of cases this personal data will be restricted to basis information such as name, address, contact details and information required to complete ID checks.  However, some of the work we may do for you may require us to obtain and ask for more sensitive personal data, including:

  • Racial or ethnic origin
  • Political opinions
  • Religious beliefs or philosophical beliefs
  • Trade union membership
  • Physical or mental health or condition
  • Sexual orientation
  • Genetic data
  • Biometric data used to uniquely identify an individual

In certain cases we may need to share this information with third parties, such as medical professionals if you have had an accident. This is only done when there are safe guards in place to ensure that the information remains confidential and secure.

Sources of Information

We may obtain information about you from a number of sources:

  • You may volunteer the information. This can be done verbally, in writing (i.e. by letter, email or fax) or input through our website.  You must have the authority to disclose personal data if it relates to someone else and all data disclosed should be complete, accurate and up to date.
  • Information may be passed to us by third parties in order that we can carry out our legal work on your behalf. These organisations may be:
  • Banks or building societies
  • Panel providers who allocate legal work to law firms
  • Organisations that have referred work to us
  • Other professional service firms such as accountants or independent financial advisors.
  • On websites non-identifiable information on you may be collected – see cookies policy

Because of the nature of our work, the data is never received from publically accessible sources.

Use of your Personal Data

The main reason for asking you to provide personal data is to allow us to carry out your instructions and requests i.e. to provide a quotation or to carry out your legal work.

Your information may be used for:

  • Verifying your identity and to establish the funding of any transaction you have asked us to carry out on your behalf. In a small number of cases, where funding is being provided by a family member or third party, we may need to ask you to obtain information from them and personal information provided to us will also be subject to the terms of this Data Privacy Notice
  • The detection of fraud
  • Communicating with you during your matter
  • Providing you with advice, to carry out litigation on your behalf or on behalf of any company/organisation you represent, prepare documents or to complete transactions on yours or your company’s/organisations behalf.
  • Keeping financial records of your transactions and the transactions we make on your behalf. We do not store payment card information.
  • Seeking advice from third parties in connection with your matter i.e. from a barrister, financial advisor
  • Assisting you with the funding of your matter if it involves Legal Aid or ‘no win no fee’.
  • Responding to any complaint or allegation of negligence against the firm
  • Internal management and planning which may include:
  • Resource management
  • Planning of tasks or meetings
  • Keeping records of sources of work and new enquiries
  • Storage and archiving of files and documents
  • Providing you with information about further legal work or services that could benefit you whilst we are carrying out your work.
  • Provided you with information about further legal work or services that could benefit you, whilst we are carrying out your work.
Disclosure of Data

During the course of carrying out your legal work we are likely to need to disclose some information to parties outside of Southerns Solicitors Limited.  These disclosures are only made when required by your work – by way of example:

  • HM Land Registry to register your property
  • HM Revenue and Customs for your Stamp Duty Land and Tax Liability
  • A court or tribunal
  • The solicitors acting on the other side of your matter
  • Legal counsel or non-legal experts (to include MedCo Registration in relation to medical experts) to obtain advice or assistance on your matter
  • The bank or building society or other lender providing mortgage finance
  • The insurance company funding a ‘no win no fee’ matter for you
  • Consultants providing us with independent quality audits on your files such as Lexcel Quality Standard, Legal Aid Agency
  • Solicitors Accounts Rules auditors – Pierce Accountants as part of their regulatory checking on behalf of the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Solicitors Regulation Authority themselves
  • Solicitors representing the firm’s interests in the event of a claim against us by you
  • A prospective purchaser (of their advisors) of this firm under a binding non-disclosure agreement
  • The providers of identity verification and assurance tools in order to confirm that we can take you on as a client
  • Any disclosure required by law in particular in relation to the prevention of financial crime and terrorism

These are some uses of personal data that require your specific consent.  We will be contacting you to explain what they are and to ask for your consent, which you are free to withdraw at any time.

How long do we keep your information for?

Information may be held in computers or manual files.  We only retain the information for as long as it necessary to:

  • Carry out your work
  • As is required to be kept by law
  • Until the period that you could make a claim against us has lapsed, which is usually 7 years after the matter has concluded or, if the firm acted for a child under 18, when they reach their 25th birthday
  • If the firm have acted in a matter in which you had suffered mental impairment or a provisional award had been made, then the file can be kept for up to 100 years from the date of birth
  • For the duration of a trust, plus 6 years
  • Wills and related documents can be kept for 75 years from the date the will was signed
  • Probate matters where there is a surviving spouse or civil partner are retained until the survivor has died in order to deal with the transferable Inheritance Tax allowance
  • Deeds related to unregistered property are kept indefinitely as they evidence ownership
  • Comply with any client instructions to extend the retention period in relation to their documents.

Information obtained from prospective clients is kept up to 6 months for the purpose of providing quotations and any subsequent follow up.

Sharing of Data

We do not share personal information with third parties unless we need to do so.  Data may be shared to complete client’s legal work and as required by law.  As your information will be stored on computer, it could be shared with our system maintainers for fault diagnostics but we will take steps to protect your data should third party access be required.  We never sell your personal information to third parties.

Information obtained from our website https://www.southernslaw.co.uk/ will be transferred to Southerns Solicitors Limited who will provide quotes to carry out work

Data transferred outside the EEA

Where possible your personal information will be processed within the EEA.  However, for reasons described above, we may need to disclose your data to companies physically located outside the EEA, for example in the United States.  Should this be necessary, the same high level of security precautions will be employed to keep your personal information secure.

Data Protection and Security

We have technological and operational security policies and procedures in place to protect your data from loss, misuse, alteration or unintentional destruction.  Our personnel who have access to the information have been trained to respect your confidentiality and to look after the data in the firm’s possession.

Visitors to our website

When someone visits our website we use a third party service, Google Analytics, to collect standard internet log information and details of visitor behaviour patterns.  We do this to find out things like the number of visitors to parts of the site.  This information is only processed in a way that doesn’t identify anyone.  We do not make and do not allow Google to make any attempt to find out the identities of those visiting our website.  If we do want to collect personally identifiable information through our website, we will be transparent about it.  We will make it clear when we collect personal information and will explain what we intend to do with it.

Inaccurate Information

If you think any information the firm hold about you is incorrect of incomplete or has been  changed since you first told us, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can update our records.

Access to your Personal Information

The Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) replaced the Data Protection Act 1998 on 25th May 2018.  Under both sets of regulations you are entitled to request a copy of your personal data.  If you wish to make a subject access request, please contact the firm’s Data Protection Officer, Naomi Hitchin (nhitchin@southernslaw.co.uk) 01282 422711 or write to Southerns Solicitors Limited, 2nd Floor, Lodge House, Cow Lane, Burnley, Lancashire, BB11 1NN)

A subject access request (SAR) entitles you to a copy of the personal data we hold on you.  The focus of the information we have to provide is you and will include such things as records of your name, address, contact details, date of birth etc.  This means that a SAR will not normally result in you getting a copy of a file because the focus of the documents it contains are likely to be the transaction or legal matter rather than your personal information.

What happens if I don’t want you to use my personal data?

The General Data Protection Regulations provide you with 3 rights:

  • The right to object to specific types of processing
  • The rights to be forgotton
  • The right to restrict processing

Depending on the nature of the request, we will comply with it to the fullest extent possible, but in some cases, this could mean that we are unable to continue with your matter, in which case work would cease at the earliest opportunity, but you would remain liable for the fees and disbursements incurred to date.

If you have opted into marketing but subsequently withdraw your consent we will act on your request immediately.

In certain situations you may be able to ask for restrictions to be placed on the processing of your data or to exercise your right to be forgotten.

A restriction has the effect of freezing data so we would continue to store your personal information but could not do anything with it.  This might be relevant to you if you had any query or concern over the way your data was handled.  A right to be forgotten would usually apply if data is processed unlawfully or otherwise fails to satisfy the requirement of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

Complaints about the use of your personal data

Please contact our Data Protection Officer, Naomi Hitchin if you have a complaint or concern over how your data will be used.  She will acknowledge your complaint and reply to your concerns. If you are not satisfied with the response, the UK regulator on data protection issues is the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).  Their telephone number is 0303 123 1113 and website www.ico.org.uk

Automated Decision Making

The firm do not use your information for automated decision making

Changes to this Data Privacy Notice

The current Data Privacy Notice will always be available on our website. Any material changes will be advised to you.

Jurisdiction and applicable law

The English courts will have exclusive jurisdiction over any claim arising from or related to a visit to our website or a data breach

However, the firm retain the right to bring proceedings against you for breach these website conditions in your country of residence or any other relevant country. English law will govern these terms.

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