Data protection policy

Introduction:

This policy applies to all personal information (such as names, dates of birth, proof of ID, addresses, bank account details, email addresses etc) collected by Richard Buxton Environmental & Public Law (“the Firm”). We are the ‘data controller’ in relation to the information we collect which means that we are responsible for safeguarding that information and we have certain obligations regarding the way the data is collected, handled and stored.

How we use your personal information:

The Firm will hold and use information about clients (and your employees and representatives where applicable) to carry out work for you, to deal with issues which may arise afterwards, to inform you about the work we are doing or have done for you, and to make future contact that we consider to be appropriate. We need it also to comply with our reporting and client verification obligations and other legal and regulatory obligations in managing the Firm.

If you contact this Firm to enquire about instructing us but do not go on to become a client of this Firm, we will retain your data but will only process it for the purposes of dealing with your enquiry.

We will take all reasonable measures to prevent unauthorised or unlawful processing of your data and/or the accidental loss or destruction of or damage to your personal data.

Your data protection rights:

The Data Protection Act 1988 (“DPA”) and the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) describe how the Firm must collect, handle and store personal information.

These rules apply regardless of whether data is stored electronically, on paper or on other materials.

To comply with the law, personal information must be collected and used fairly, stored safely and not disclosed unlawfully. The Firm must also document what personal data it holds, where that data came from and who we share it with.

At the point of collection of personal information, we will provide you with information about the identity of the Firm and how the information will be used. We do this through our Terms of Business which are available on request. We must also tell you why we need the data; our data retention periods; and that you have various rights in respect of the information the Firm holds about you.

The law requires that personal data must:

  • Be processed fairly and lawfully;
  • Be obtained only for specific, lawful purposes;
  • Be adequate, relevant and not excessive;
  • Be accurate and kept up to date;
  • Not be held for longer than necessary;
  • Be processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects;
  • Be protected in appropriate ways;
  • Not be transferred outside the European Economic Area (EEA) unless that country or territory also ensures an adequate level of protection.

Individuals have the following rights:

  • The right to be informed;
  • The right of access;
  • The right to rectification;
  • The right to erasure;
  • The right to restrict processing;
  • The right to data portability;
  • The right to object;
  • The right not to be subject to automated decision-making including profiling.

Policy scope:

This policy applies to the Firm, all partners and employees of the Firm and all contractors, suppliers, agents and other people working on behalf of the Firm.

It applies to all data that the Firm holds relating to identifiable individuals (“Personal Data”). This Personal Data can include:

  • Names of individuals;
  • Postal addresses;
  • Email addresses;
  • Telephone numbers;
  • Sensitive Personal Data (see definition below);
  • And any other information relating to individuals through which that individual can be directly or indirectly identified.

Special rules apply to “Sensitive Personal Data” which includes information about an individual’s:

  • Race;
  • Religion;
  • Political opinions;
  • Trade Union membership;
  • Sexual orientation;
  • Health information and sickness records; and
  • Biometric or genetic data.

How we share your Personal Data:

We may share your personal data with third parties such as barristers, experts and officers of the court, but only as necessary to carry out the work which you have instructed us to do on your behalf and/or to provide you with advice regarding that work.

We will not share your Personal Data or transfer it outside the EEA without your express prior written consent.

Disclosing Personal Data for other reasons:

In certain circumstances, the Data Protection Act allows Personal Data to be disclosed to law enforcement agencies without the consent of the data subject.

Under these circumstances, the Firm will disclose requested data. However, the Partners of the Firm will take all reasonable steps to ensure the request is legitimate before disclosing the Personal Data requested.

Accuracy of Personal Data:

We will take reasonable steps to ensure Personal Data is kept accurate and up to date. Please notify us of any changes to your personal information in order to assist us with this.

Retention periods:

As set out in our Terms of Business, after completing the work you have instructed us to do, we are entitled to keep all your papers and documents, while money is owing to us for our charges and expenses. We will usually offer hard copy documents (especially originals that you may have supplied) back to you, and then scan them to our electronic archive and destroy the hard copy. We may retain the material in hard copy if appropriate to do so: most obviously, if an appeal is in prospect. Although we will retain the electronic copy for at least eight years following deposit into the electronic archive, you have the right at any time to ask that we review whether it should be kept and/or ask us to delete it, and we will do so unless there are good reasons otherwise. We consider it reasonable and proportionate to hold the information for a substantial period: partly for insurance-related reasons, and partly because our experience is that clients frequently return to us and it is helpful to refer to older papers.

Requests for Information:

You are entitled at any time to ask us what personal information we hold about you. We ask that requests for information should be in writing to a partner of the Firm.

We aim to provide the relevant data as soon as possible and in any event within 30 days of receipt of a request. You will not have to pay a fee to access your personal information which will usually be supplied in electronic form. However if you require paper copies or your request is unreasonable or excessive we reserve the right to charge you for copying costs at the rates set out in our Terms of Business (copy available on request).

We will use our best efforts to verify the identity of anyone making a request for information before handing over the information.

Complaints:

Should you be concerned or dissatisfied with the way your data has been collected, handled, processed or stored by this Firm, we ask that you first contact a partner of this Firm in writing. We will respond as quickly as possible and in any event within 30 days of receiving your complaint. Should this fail to resolve the matter you have the right to take the matter to the Information Commissioner. Details can be found on https://ico.org.uk/ .