GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a regulation that will come into force on 25th May 2018 across the European Union.
It will stay in place even after we leave the EU in 2019. It will provide one law across Europe with the intention of securing your data and protecting your private information.
This update only refers to our relationship with you as our clients.
GDPR and our clients
Currently when you instruct Austins you are asked to provide proof of your identity and residential address. This requirement will not change. It is a safeguard for you and our firm against fraud.
Austins has never and will never sell or disseminate your information. We only use it for the purposes of our retainer, as set out in our terms and conditions. The data is collected in accordance with Law Society guidance and current Anti-Money Laundering regulations.
When we contact you
You may have noticed that organisations have already started to contact you to confirm how you want them to interact with you. Austins routinely does this at the commencement of your retainer. The difference is now we would want you to confirm that consent, as it is currently implied, when you provide your ID and address data.
For example Austins can’t send you marketing material unless we have your prior consent.
You may withdraw your consent at any time from organisations that hold your data. Although there is an exemption for solicitors as we are obliged to hold your information whilst a matter is ongoing and for six years afterwards.
Most of our client data is stored electronically. On older files it may only be held in hard copy.
You can check what data we hold about you by applying to our Data Protection Officer Darran Loyd Rees or our Principal Solicitor Sarah Austin. All requests will be returned within a month. This gives us time to retrieve files from our archives or safe custody, as required.
If your file was completed within the last six years we would have confirmed to you on its closure what documents or data (if any) we held for you, in safe custody or archives. Included would also be your unique reference numbers. Please use these reference numbers to speed up any data requests you make.
We are not required to keep client files for more than six years after we conclude our retainer. In those circumstances we routinely destroy our hard copy files. Original documents are usually returned to clients on completion, unless you have specifically requested we continue to hold them. Those documents are never destroyed but remain in our safe.
How we are regulated and accredited
In addition to being regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, we are a registered Data Controller with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), are accredited with Lexcel (Legal Excellence in Practice Management) and with Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS).