We at PCM Solicitors LLP of course take the confidentiality and security of your data extremely seriously. As professionals, we are under ethical duties to maintain the confidentiality of all and any data you give us. This is part of our professional obligations as lawyers and is referred to in our Code of Conduct, which is available here: https://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/handbook/code/content.page
However, you will also be aware that we are subject to increased requirements under data protection legislation, and it is to comply with that, that we explain here how we will deal with any data entrusted to us, how long we will keep it, who we will share it with and what other steps we may be taking with your data.
2. On instruction: Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing
We will be required to perform our duties under the fraud, anti-money laundering and terrorist financing legislation, and any processing of any data will be limited to preventing or detecting possible fraud, money laundering or terrorist financing activity. That legislation will require us to keep that data for five years from the end of our relationship. It further requires us to share that data with law enforcement to the extent necessary to prevent or deter such offences.
3. On instruction: other work you may instruct us to carry out
On instruction to act for you, and throughout the retainer you have with us, we will be asking for all kinds of personal information in order to enable us adequately to perform our legal services for you. The data you provide will be kept confidential within the firm and used to enable us to provide such legal advice and assistance to you and others as you may have requested or which we deem to be necessary to the retainer.
4. Use of other professionals as part of our legal services
Further, we will be sharing your data with other professionals as part of the delivery of our legal services to you, such as search agencies, local authorities, estate agents, counsel, experts, courts and court officials and other professionals as part of our legal retainer with you. Those other agencies are also obliged to maintain the confidentiality of your data.
5. Retention of your data
We will retain your data for only so long as is necessary, consistent with our professional duties to maintain records for our professional purposes. These purposes include retaining your data for a minimum statutory period (which is normally six years, but may well be longer in individual cases), retaining data in order to reconstitute a file in the future, for professional duties such as undertaking conflict searches or for other record purposes.
Once we deem your data to be no longer essential, we will delete it.
We may also use your data – suitably anonymized – for record or statistical research purposes.
6. Marketing by us
Occasionally, we may also wish to communicate with you about other services we offer which we feel may be of interest or relevance to you. We would like to be able to do this both during the retainer and also after your matter is over. We may communicate with you either by post, email or by other electronic means. You can always opt-out of any such communications.
7. Marketing by others
We may also wish to share your data with other organisations who may be able to offer other goods or services to you that we and they feel may be of benefit to you – such as financial advisers, estate agents, tax advisers, insurers and others – by post, email or other electronic means. We will inform you of whom we may wish to share your data with before we do so.
8. Your Rights
You have certain rights over the data that you entrust to us.
These include your rights to:
- be informed and for that information to be clear, unambiguous, comprehensive and not confusing
- access information upon request – you can request that we tell you what information we hold at any time
- rectify and correct any incorrect data – you can request us to correct any incorrect information immediately
- erasure (right to be forgotten) subject to our rights to refuse to do so on legal grounds – we will delete any unnecessary date you ask us to, but we may be able to refuse your request on other grounds; we will advise you of the position
- restrict our processing of your data – you may ask us to restrict processing your data, but we may be able to refuse your request on other grounds; we will advise you of the position
- portability of your data (which is not something we do)
- object to our processing of your data, subject to our right to refuse on legal grounds – you may ask us to stop processing your data, but we may be able to refuse your request on other grounds; we will advise you of the position
- automated decision-making/profiling (which is not something we do).
For further information see ICO website: www.ico.org.uk