This notice explains when and why Ratcliffe & Bibby Solicitors (referred to as “we” or “us” in this notice) collects personal information about you; how we use it, the conditions under which we may disclose it to others and how we keep it secure as well as your rights in respect of your data. This Privacy Notice is intended for clients and prospective clients only. We may update this notice from time to time to reflect changes in company procedures and relevant legislation.
Ratcliffe & Bibby Solicitors is the trading name of R&B Legal Limited, registered in England and Wales under number 05126369. Our registered office is 44 Market Street, Carnforth, Lancashire, LA5 9JX. We are registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office under reference Z9057495. We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 408111.
Our services are not specifically aimed at children because in legal matters children are generally represented by their parents or guardians. If you are a child and need further advice about how we would or do use your personal data, please speak to us or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. We always keep requests for information to the minimum level required to carry out your work.
Typically we will need your full name, address, date of birth, e-mail and telephone numbers. If a transaction is involved we may need your banking details and information about the source of funds, your national insurance number and other financial information.
To comply with our legal obligations to verify your identity we are likely to require you to provide copies of certain documents and to respond to any queries we may have. As part of this process we may carry out on-line searches to assist us in verifying your identity. We regret that we are unable to proceed with your work until these checks have been completed.
Some of the work we are asked to do may require us to ask for more sensitive personal information, such as racial or ethnic origin, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, physical or mental health, sex life and sexual orientation and genetic or 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 safeguards in place to ensure your data remain confidential and secure.
Sources of Information
We may obtain information about you from a number of sources.
You may volunteer the information. This may be done verbally, in writing (letter, email or fax) or input through our website. You must have authority to disclose personal data relating to a third party. 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 complete our legal work for you. Typically these organisations can include: organisations that refer work to us, other professional service firms such as accountants or financial advisors and medical or financial institutions who may provide us with your personal records and information.
Use of Personal Data
The primary reason for asking you to provide us with your personal data is to allow us to carry out your requests, which will be to represent you and carry out legal work on your behalf.
Tasks your data may be used for include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Verifying your identity and establishing the source of funds for any transaction you have asked us to carry out on your behalf. Where funding is being provided by a family member or third party we may need to ask you to obtain information from them, and any personal data provided will also be subject to this Privacy Notice;
- Providing you with a quote for legal services;
- Communicating with you during the matter;
- Providing you with advice, carrying out litigation on your behalf, preparing documents or completing transactions according to your instructions;
- Keeping financial records of your transactions and transactions we make on your behalf. We do not store payment card information;
- Seeking advice from third parties in connection with your matter;
- Assisting you with the funding of your matter, such as Legal Aid or “no win, no fee”;
- Responding to any complaint or allegation of negligence against us;
- Internal management and planning, including resource management and planning and keeping records of sources of work and new enquiries;
- Providing you with information about further legal work or services that would benefit you whilst we are carrying out your work.
Disclosure of Data
Generally we will only use your data within our firm, however there may be circumstances, in carrying out you legal work, where we may need to disclose some information to parties outside of Ratcliffe & Bibby. These disclosures are only made when required by your work, for example to:
- A court or tribunal;
- Solicitors acting on the other side of your matter;
- Legal Counsel for advice or to represent you;
- Non-legal experts to obtain advice or assistance ;
- A bank or other lender providing mortgage finance;
- HM Land Registry to register a property;
- HM Revenue and Customs to pay a tax liability;
- The Legal Aid Agency or another body providing funding;
- Translation agencies;
- Contracted suppliers;
- Consultants providing us with independent quality checks on our services;
- Auditors as part of their regulatory checks on behalf of the Solicitors Regulation Authority;
- The Solicitors Regulation Authority or any other relevant regulator;
- Our Insurers and Solicitors representing our interest in the event of a claim against us;
- Providers of identity verification services;
- Any disclosure required by law or regulation;
- If there is an emergency and we think you or others are at risk
In the event any of your information is shared with third parties, we ensure they will comply strictly and confidentially with our instructions and they will 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 require your specific consent. Should this apply to you then we will contact you separately to explain and ask for your consent which you are free to withdraw at any time. We will never sell your personal information to third parties.
Retention of Data
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 and as follows:
- As long as necessary to carry out your legal work;
- As long as is required by law;
- For a minimum of 7 years from conclusion in order to defend any complaints or claims against us;
- For the duration of any defined limitation period for bringing a legal action against us;
- For the duration of a trust;
- Matters concerning children will be kept until all children involved reach 18 years of age;
- Wills and related documents may be kept indefinitely;
- Probate matters with a surviving spouse or civil partner are retained for inheritance tax purposes until the survivor has died;
- Deeds for unregistered property are kept indefinitely as evidence of ownership.
Data Protection and Security
We recognise that your information is valuable and we take all reasonable measures to protect it whilst it is in our care. We use computer safeguards such as firewalls and data encryption and we enforce physical access control to our buildings and files to keep data safe. Our personnel who have access to the information have been trained to respect your confidentiality and to look after the data in our possession.
In general your personal information will be processed within the European Economic Area (EEA). However in certain cases, your instructions may require us to disclose your data to companies physically located outside the EEA. Should this be necessary, you can expect a similar degree of protection in respect of your personal information.
You have the right to expect that information we hold about you is complete and accurate, therefore if you become aware that any information we hold is incorrect or incomplete or has changed since you first told us, please let us know as soon as possible so we can update our records.
Access to your Information
You have the right to request a copy of your personal data (known as a subject access request). If you wish to make a subject access request, please contact our Practice Manager at our Morecambe office, or contact the person dealing with your matter.
A subject access request entitles you to a copy of the personal data we hold on you. Typically this will include such things as records of your name, address, contact details, date of birth 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 and not the documents that contain that data.
Under current data protection regulations, you have three further rights: the right to object to certain types of processing, the right to restrict processing and the right to be forgotten. If you wish to exercise any of these rights, please contact our Practice Manager at our Morecambe office, or contact the person dealing with your matter.
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 would be unable to continue with your matter, in which case work would cease at the earliest opportunity, but you would remain liable for fees and disbursements incurred to date.
If you wish to raise a complaint about how we have handled your personal data you can contact our Practice Manager who will investigate further and reply to your concerns. You may contact us by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone on 01524 834222
If you are not satisfied with the response or believe we are not processing your data in accordance with the law, you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Their website can be found at www.ico.org.uk or their phone number is 0303 123 1113.
We reserve the right to make changes to this policy. Any changes to this policy will be posted here.