Privacy policy

This notice explains when and why we collect personal information about you; how we use it, the conditions under which we may disclose it to others and how we keep it secure.

For clients of this firm, you should read this notice alongside our general terms and conditions which provide further information on confidentiality, data privacy etc.

This notice does not apply to any websites that may have a link to ours.

Who we are
Children
What we need
Sources of information
Why we need it
Who has access to it
How do we protect your personal data
How long we keep it for
What are your rights?
Complaints about the use of personal data

Who we are

Data is collected, processed and stored by Stephensons Solicitors LLP; and we are what is known as the ‘data controller’ of the personal information you provide to us.

Stephensons Solicitors is a limited liability partnership, authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 449153.

Stephensons Solicitors is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office under registration reference Z9653085. View our certificate. Our Data Protection Officer is Ann Harrison who can be contacted by email aeh@stephensons.co.uk 

Children

Our website and services are not aimed specifically at children because in legal work children are generally represented by their parent or guardians. If you are a child and need further advice or explanation about how we would use your data, please email aeh@stephensons.co.uk

What we need

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 notice is intended for clients and prospective clients only.

Under the Data Protection Act 1998 (“DPA”) there are two types of personal data (personal information) that you may provide to us:

  • Personal data: is the general information that you supply about yourself – such as your name, address, gender, date of birth & contact details.
     
  • Sensitive personal data: is, by its nature, more sensitive information and may include your racial or ethnic origin, religion, health or criminal convictions.

In the majority of cases personal data will be restricted to basic information and information needed to complete ID checks. However some of the work we do may require us to ask for more sensitive information.

Sources of information

Information about you may be obtained from a number of sources; including:

  • You may volunteer the information about yourself
  • You may provide information relating to someone else – if you have the authority to do so
  • Information may be passed to us by third parties in order that we can undertake your legal work on your behalf. Typically these organisations can be:
    • Banks or building societies
    • Panel providers who allocate legal work to law firms
    • Organisations that have referred work to us
    • Medical or financial institutions – who provide your personal records / information

Why we need it 

The primary reason for asking you to provide us with your personal data, is to allow us to carry out your requests – which will ordinarily be to represent you and carry out your legal work.

The following are some examples, although not exhaustive, of what we may use your information for:

  • Verifying your identity
  • Verifying source of funds
  • Communicating with you
  • To establish funding of your matter or transaction
  • Obtaining insurance policies on your behalf
  • Processing your legal transaction including:
    • Providing you with advice; carrying out litigation on your behalf; attending hearings on your behalf; preparing documents or to complete transactions
  • Keeping financial records of your transactions and the transactions we make on your behalf
  • Seeking advice from third parties; such as legal and non-legal experts
  • Responding to any complaint or allegation of negligence against us

Who has access to it

We have a data protection regime in place to oversee the effective and secure processing of your personal data. We will not sell or rent your information to third parties. We will not share your information with third parties for marketing purposes.

Generally, we will only use your information within Stephensons Solicitors. However there may be circumstances, in carrying out your legal work, where we may need to disclose some information to third parties; for example:

  • HM Land Registry to register a property
  • HM Revenue & Customs; e.g. for Stamp Duty Liability
  • Court or Tribunal
  • Solicitors acting on the other side
  • Asking an independent Barrister or Counsel for advice; or to represent you
  • Non legal experts to obtain advice or assistance
  • Translation Agencies
  • Contracted Suppliers
  • External auditors or our Regulator; e.g. Lexcel, SRA, ICO etc.
  • Bank or Building Society; or other financial institutions
  • Insurance Companies
  • Providers of identity verification
  • Any disclosure required by law or regulation; such as the prevention of financial crime and terrorism
  • If there is an emergency and we think you or others are at risk

In the event any of your information is shared with the aforementioned third parties, we ensure that they comply, strictly and confidentially, with our instructions and they do not use your personal information for their own purposes unless you have explicitly consented to them doing so.

There may be some uses of personal data that may require your specific consent. If this is the case we will contact you separately to ask for your consent which you are free to withdraw at any time.

How do we protect your personal data

We recognise that your information is valuable and we take all reasonable measures to protect it whilst it is in our care.

We have exceptional standards of technology and operational security in order to protect personally identifiable data from loss, misuse, alteration or destruction. Similarly, we adopt a high threshold when it comes to confidentiality obligations and both internal and external parties have agreed to protect confidentiality of all information; to ensure all personal data is handled and processed in line with our stringent confidentiality and data protection policies.

We use computer safeguards such as firewalls and data encryption and annual penetration testing; and we enforce, where possible, physical access controls to our buildings and files to keep data safe.

How long will we keep it for

Your personal information will be retained, usually in computer or manual files, only for as long as necessary to fulfil the purposes for which the information was collected; or as required by law; or as long as is set out in any relevant contract you may hold with us. For example:

  • As long as necessary to carry out your legal work
  • For a minimum of 7 years from the conclusion or closure of your legal work; in the event that you, or we, need to re-open your case for the purpose of defending complaints or claims against us
  • For the duration of a trust
  • Some information or matters may be kept for 16 years – such as commercial transactions, sales of leasehold purchases, matrimonial matters (financial orders or maintenance agreements etc.)
  • Probate matters where there is a surviving spouse or civil partner may be retained until the survivor has died in order to deal with the transferable Inheritance Tax allowance
  • Wills and related documents may be kept indefinitely
  • Deeds related to unregistered property may be kept indefinitely as they evidence ownership
  • Personal injury matters which involve lifetime awards or PI Trusts may be kept indefinitely

What are your rights?

Under the DPA, you are entitled to request a copy of your personal data (otherwise known as a Subject Access Request). If you wish to make a request, please do so in writing addressed to our Data Protection Officer Ann Harrison; or contact the person dealing with your matter.

A request for access to your personal data means you are entitled to a copy of the data we hold on you – such as your name, address, contact details, date of birth, information regarding your health etc. This means that a Subject Access Request will not normally result in you getting a copy of your file because you are only entitled to your personal data – not the documents that contain that data.

Complaints about the use of personal data

If you wish to raise a complaint on how we have handled your personal data, you can contact our Data Protection Officer who will investigate further. Our Data Protection Officer is Ann Harrison and you can contact them at aeh@stephensons.co.uk 

If you are not satisfied with our response or believe we are not processing your personal data in accordance with the law, you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Any questions regarding this notice and our privacy practices should be sent by email to aeh@stephensons.co.uk