Pursuant to the SRA Code of Conduct 2011 the firm must have a system in place which ensures documents are kept safely and which can be monitored. It is a requirement of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and Data Protection legislation that personal data must be kept for no longer than necessary and that we inform individuals as to how long we intend to keep their personal data and when it will be destroyed.
This document sets out general guidance concerning the length of time we keep data and documents and how that period will be determined. This guidance is for users of the firm's website.
Clients are referred to our Terms of Business provided when we are instructed. The Terms of Business will inform the client of our policy on storage and destruction of documents. Documents are usually destroyed 6 years from the date the client matter is closed.
The firm operates detailed procedures for the long-term archiving and destruction of closed client files (i.e. hard copy papers and electronic documents on closed matters) as well as Deeds, Wills and other documents.
All closed matters and other documents (hard copy papers and electronic documents) have a destruction date allocated to them i.e. the date when we must destroy documents and not before. Documents are destroyed securely and confidentially in accordance with that destruction date.
Destruction dates are primarily based upon the likelihood of the firm needing to refer to the documents again, as informed by limitation periods or the nature of the transaction covered by the client matter.
Certain items of information about client matters may be retained for longer periods of time for legal and regulatory reasons e.g. as part of our accounting records or for conflict checking purposes etc.
If a prospective client contacts the firm and is given advice in an initial telephone call or email or meeting but the matter is not taken further and no matter file is opened, the matter is treated as closed client matter and any written or electronic records of the advice given will be destroyed as soon as possible, in any event no later than 6 years after the initial contact.
All applications for vacancies or speculative applications (along with related correspondence) sent to the firm are kept for 12 months after receipt of the application.
Records relating to individuals taken on by the firm are retained in line with the firm's employment policies.
If you seek an estimate of costs for legal work, are provided with free initial advice or become a client of the firm, we will also need information to confirm your identity e.g. your date of birth, about your matter and circumstances as well as contact information for you, your personnel and other parties to the matter. The information that we need will be explained to you by our lawyers and/or set out in our letter of engagement depending on the nature of your matter but may include both personal data and special categories of data. You may also provide us with additional information that you consider relevant as part of your instruction.
We may also receive information about you (or your personnel) from third parties such as estate agents, accountants, banks, surveyors, medical professionals, courts, regulatory bodies and other advisors and specialists related to your matter. Our clients and matter contacts may also provide us information about you if you are involved in a transaction or dispute with one of our clients or have a connection with them such as being a tenant or employee of a client. Alternatively, you may provide us with information about you directly at our request or otherwise.
How does Wills Chandler use this information?
We will use your information for the specific purpose(s) for which it has been provided to or collected by us e.g.:
We also use your information to administer, support, improve and develop our business generally and to enforce our legal rights.
We may also use the information that we collect about you for marketing and hospitality purposes e.g.:
Information gathered is used to measure and analyse information on visits to our website and to improve technical performance. We will not use the data to identify you personally or to make any decisions about you.
We must have a lawful basis for processing your information; this will vary on the circumstances of how and why we have your information but typical examples include:
Some of the information you provide to Wills Chandler will be held on our computers in the UK and will only be accessed by or given to our staff. Some of the information you provide to Wills Chandler may be transferred to, stored and processed by third party organisations which process data for us and on our behalf. These third parties may be based (or store or process information) in the UK. As with many law firms, these third parties may include third party IT platforms (including cloud based platforms), suppliers of administrative and support services and suppliers of other specialist products.
We may also transfer your information to other organisations or professional advisers with whom we are working on client matters or to whom we are referring you for additional or separate advice.
We may also be obliged to disclose data under certain laws or by order of court or other competent regulatory body or may be permitted to disclose it under applicable data protection laws.
Finally, if Wills Chandler merges with another business entity or divests a part of its business or carries out internal corporate restructuring, your information may be disclosed to Wills Chandlers new business partners or owners or the new corporate entities.
We have in place administrative, technical and physical measures designed to guard against and minimise the risk of loss, misuse or unauthorised processing or disclosure of the personal information that we hold.
Where we transfer information to third parties to enable them to process it on our behalf, we ensure that the providers meet or exceed the relevant legal or regulatory requirements for transferring data to them and keeping it secure.
You have certain rights in relation to your personal information, although those rights will not apply in all cases or to all information that we hold about you. For example, we may need to continue to hold and process information to establish, exercise or defend our legal rights. Alternatively, the rights may not be enforceable until the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) comes into force on 25 May 2018. We will tell you if this is the case when you contact us.
You have the right to request that we:
We will respond to your request (including providing information on whether the rights apply in the particular circumstances) within the applicable statutory time period. If we are not sure of your identity, we may require you to provide further information in order for us to confirm who you are.
We may make changes to this policy from time to time as our business and internal practices and/or applicable laws change. We will not make any use of your personal information that is inconsistent with the original purpose(s) for which it was collected or obtained (if we intend to do so, we will notify you in advance wherever possible) or otherwise than is permitted by applicable law.
We have a dedicated team that looks after data privacy rights. We also have a Data Protection Officer (DPO) to guide the business and oversee our use of your information.
Data Protection Officer