The Firm is committed to being transparent about how it handles your personal information, to protecting the privacy and security of your personal information and to meeting its data protection obligations under the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) and the Data Protection Act 2018. The purpose of this privacy notice is to make you aware of how and why we will collect and use your personal information both during and after your working relationship with the Firm.

The Firm has appointed the Managing Partner, Jackie Gillespie to oversee compliance with data protection requirements. If you have any questions about this privacy notice or about how we handle your personal information, please contact, Jackie Gillespie; 96 Church Street, Brighton, BN1 1UJ or email: jackiegillespie@howlettclarke.co.uk

What types of personal information do we collect about you?

The Firm collects, uses and processes a range of personal information about you. This includes (as applicable):

  • your contact details, including your name, address, telephone number and personal e-mail address
  • your emergency contact details/next of kin
  • your date of birth
  • documents that verify your identity
  • your gender
  • your marital status and dependants
  • your salary, entitlement to benefits and pension information
  • your National Insurance number
  • your bank account details, tax code and tax status information
  • information in respect of the matter for which you have provided instructions

Surveys

  • From time to time we may invite you to participate in surveys. Participation is entirely optional. Any specific information you provide during the course of a survey is kept confidential and used by us in order to conduct research or improve our services. We will only publish aggregated results.

How do we collect your personal information?

The Firm may collect personal information either directly from you or sometimes from a third party such as obtaining medical records in a personal injury claim for example. We may also collect personal information from other external third parties where the information is necessary to conduct your matter.

Your personal information may be stored in different places, including electronically in our Case management software; email and other software and your physical file will be stored in either the Brighton or Southwick offices and in our external storage facility once your matter is at an end.

Why and how do we use your personal information?

We will use your personal information in one or more of the following circumstances:

  • where we need to do so to perform the contract for which we are instructed;
  • where we need to comply with a legal obligation
  • where it is necessary for our legitimate interests (or those of a third party), and your interests or your fundamental rights and freedoms do not override our interests.

Our legitimate interests include: performing or exercising our obligations or rights under the direct relationship that exists between the Firm and you as its client.

What if you fail to provide personal information?

If you fail to provide certain personal information when requested or required, we may not be able to perform the contract we have entered into with you, or we may be prevented from complying with our legal obligations. You may also be unable to exercise your statutory or contractual rights.

Why and how do we use your sensitive personal information?

We will only collect and use your sensitive personal information, which includes special categories of personal information and information about criminal convictions and offences, when the law allows us to.

Some special categories of personal information, i.e. information about your health or medical conditions and trade union membership, and information about criminal convictions and offences, is processed so that we can perform or exercise our obligations under the contract we have entered into with you. Information about health or medical conditions may also be processed for these purposes.

Change of purpose

We will only use your personal information for the purposes for which we collected it. If we need to use your personal information for a purpose other than that for which it was collected, we will provide you, prior to that further processing, with information about the new purpose.

Who has access to your personal information?

Your personal information may be shared internally within the Firm.

The Firm may also share your personal information with third-party service providers (and their designated agents), including, where applicable:

  • The firm’s external computer network support
  • Costs Draftsman: to prepare formal bills of costs
  • Enquiry agent: should we lose contact and require updated contact details:
  • Process servers: where papers require serving upon a third party
  • External company dealing with the firm’s destruction of confidential information
  • The Firm’s accountants, regulators, auditors and professional advisors
  • The Firm’s external storage facility

Case specific third party experts including;

  • Barristers;
  • Medical experts;
  • Independent financial advisors;
  • Surveyors;
  • Stockbrokers;
  • Accountants;
  • Estate Agents;

Your lawyer will seek specific consent to instruct third party experts.

Case specific third parties including:

  • HM Courts and Tribunal Service
  • PI Portal (personal injury claims only)
  • Mediators
  • Witnesses
  • Opponents and representatives
  • Skype calls
  • Translation services
  • Auctions
  • Clearance companies
  • Funeral homes

We may use third party software to contact you for marketing purposes.

We may share your personal information with third parties where it is necessary to administer the contract we have entered into with you, where we need to comply with a legal obligation, or where it is necessary for our legitimate interests (or those of a third party).

How does the Firm protect your personal information?

The Firm has put in place measures to protect the security of your personal information. It has internal policies, procedures and controls in place to try and prevent your personal information from being accidentally lost or destroyed, altered, disclosed or used or accessed in an unauthorised way. In addition, we limit access to your personal information to those employees, workers, agents, contractors and other third parties who have a business need to know in order to perform their job duties and responsibilities. You can obtain further information about these measures from the firm’s Managing Partner, Jackie Gillespie

Where your personal information is shared with third-party service providers, we require all third parties to take appropriate technical and organisational security measures to protect your personal information and to treat it subject to a duty of confidentiality and in accordance with data protection law. We only allow them to process your personal information for specified purposes and in accordance with our written instructions and we do not allow them to use your personal information for their own purposes.

The Firm also has in place procedures to deal with a suspected data security breach and we will notify the Information Commissioner’s Office (or any other applicable supervisory authority or regulator) and you of a suspected breach where we are legally required to do so.

For how long does the Firm keep your personal information?

The Firm will only retain your personal information for as long as is necessary to fulfil the purposes for which it was collected and processed, including for the purposes of satisfying any legal, reporting or accounting requirements.

The Firm will generally hold your personal information as follows:

  • The physical files will be held for a minimum period of six years or if we act on behalf of a minor, six years from the age of eighteen.
  • Wills; LPAs; Trust Deeds and conveyancing deeds will be held indefinitely
  • Electronic files will be deleted after 15 years;
  • Some data, including Name, address and account details will need to be held indefinitely in order to comply with our legal obligations.

Full details are set out in our retention policy which is available on our website

Your rights in connection with your personal information

It is important that the personal information we hold about you is accurate and up to date. Please keep us informed if your personal information changes, e.g. you change your home address, during your working relationship with the Firm so that our records can be updated. As a data subject, you have a number of statutory rights. Subject to certain conditions, and in certain circumstances, you have the right to:

  • request access to your personal information – this is usually known as making a data subject access request and it enables you to receive a copy of the personal information we hold about you and to check that we are lawfully processing it
  • request rectification of your personal information – this enables you to have any inaccurate or incomplete personal information we hold about you corrected
  • request the erasure of your personal information - this enables you to ask us to delete or remove your personal information where there’s no compelling reason for its continued processing, e.g. it’s no longer necessary in relation to the purpose for which it was originally collected.  It may not be possible to erase your personal information due to our professional obligations
  • restrict the processing of your personal information - this enables you to ask us to suspend the processing of your personal information, e.g. if you contest its accuracy and so want us to verify its accuracy
  • object to the processing of your personal information - this enables you to ask us to stop processing your personal information where we are relying on the legitimate interests of the business as our legal basis for processing and there is something relating to your particular situation which makes you decide to object to processing on this ground
  • data portability – this gives you the right to request the transfer of your personal information to another party so that you can reuse it across different services for your own purposes. This will be subject to the firm’s costs and disbursements being paid in full.

If you wish to exercise any of these rights, please contact the Managing Partner, Jackie Gillespie. We may need to request specific information from you in order to verify your identity and check your right to access the personal information or to exercise any of your other rights. This is a security measure to ensure that your personal information is not disclosed to any person who has no right to receive it.

Transferring personal information outside the European Economic Area

The Firm will not transfer your personal information to countries outside the European Economic Area.

Changes to this privacy notice

This privacy notice was last updated on 6th May 2018.  The Firm reserves the right to update or amend this privacy notice at any time, including where the Firm intends to further process your personal information for a purpose other than that for which the personal information was collected or where we intend to process new types of personal information.   The most up to date version of this notice will always be available upon our website.

How to complain about the use of your data

If you wish to raise a complaint about how we have handled your personal data, including in relation to any of the rights outlined above, you can contact us on the details below at the start of this notice and we will investigate the matter for you.

If you are not satisfied with our response, or believe we are processing your data unfairly or unlawfully, you can complain to the Supervisory Authority - Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wimslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.  You can find further information about the ICO and their complaints procedure here: https://ico.org.uk/concerns/