We abide by the National Privacy Principles (NPPs) for the protection of personal information as set out in the Privacy Act 1988 (CTH). You may view the full text of the NPPs online at www.privacy.gov.au.
A general summary of how we handle personal information is set out as follows:-
(a) The information we collect:-
(i) Personal information obtained from you (or about you under the NPPs) is for the primary purpose of providing you with legal services. We may require a more involved degree of personal information depending on the type of matter in which we are engaged to act. If you engage us to act in say a personal injuries matter then it may be necessary for us to require details of your age, earnings, previous and current injuries and illnesses and other such information. If you require us to act in commercial matters then we may require a lesser scope of personal information.
(ii) Subject to our firm receiving your written consent to the use of any personal information for the purpose of our general legal services and/or marketing aspects of those services, we may use personal information for the purpose of improving our legal services generally and advising clients in relation to matters we think may benefit them and/or for marketing initiatives that we think may be of interest to our clients. These may include, but may not be limited to, website/newsletters/seminar invitations and direct mail/telephone contact. You may, by written request directed to the Office Manager of our firm, opt out of being contacted directly in connection with our firm’s marketing initiatives.
(iii) Except as indicated above, we will not disclose personal information to a third party unless:-
- Disclosure is required for a primary purpose for which the information was collected;
- The client has consented to the disclosure;
- The third party concerned is acting as our agent or contractor and as such, will be required by us to disclose and use the personal information only for the purpose for which is was collected;
- The third party is involved in a dealing or proposed dealing (including a sale of all or part of our assets and business);
- Reasonable grounds exist for our firm making a decision that the disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a threat to your life or health or that of another person;
- Disclosure is required to be made to a related body corporate;
- Disclosure is reasonably necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of a legal or equitable claim; or
- Disclosure is authorised, permitted or required by or under law.
(b) The parties we disclose your information to during the course of providing legal services to you:-
This depends on the type of matter and the legislative requirements in relation to that matter. If you do not disclose requested information then we may not be able to represent you properly and you may also be in breach of the client agreement which you sign with our firm. In certain cases it may be necessary to us to disclose your personal information to other persons such as:-
(i) Solicitors representing other parties in relation to your matter;
(ii) Other parties in your matter e.g. when those parties are to be served with certain documents or when they act for themselves;
(iii) Experts whom we engage with regard to preparation of reports for the processing of your matter;
(iv) Barristers whom we may engage in connection with your matter;
(v) Mediators and Arbitrators who may be involved in your matter;
(vi) Government departments;
(vii) Courts, Tribunals and Commissions involved in your matter.
There may be other persons not referred to in the above list to whom your personal information is required to be disclosed when it is necessary for the purpose of progressing your matter.
Where the personal information obtained from you is not required for the purpose of providing you with legal services and where you have not provided written consent for such personal information to be used for the purpose of improving our legal services generally and/or for marketing purposes as outlined in paragraph (a)(ii) above, we assure you that we work to keep personal information we collect secure via our firm’s internal policies/training and technological security measures such as passwords/restricted access.
(c) What may eventuate if you choose not to provide us with the information requested for the purpose of providing you with legal services:-
As mentioned, you may be in breach of the client agreement you have signed with our firm in these circumstances. There are also other consequences in the event of non-disclosure by you of information/documentation relating to the issues in a matter and these may include costs consequences if an opposing party obtains a Court Order that such information/documentation be disclosed by you.
(d) Your right to request information we hold about you and the right to withhold certain information in some circumstances:-
You may request access to your personal information by making a written request to the Solicitor handling your matter at our firm and by setting out in your written request, full details of the information you would like to know or the documentation you would like to see. There are some circumstances in which we do not have to provide you with information you may request. In the same way, certain Government departments or institutions may reserve the right not to provide some particular information about you when requested.
(e) Changes in your personal information are to be made known to us as soon as possible:-
We request you to advise us of any changes from time to time in your personal information to avoid errors and unwanted contact and time-consuming redirection of mail and to enable us to maintain the best level of legal services we are able to render. We should have accurate information as soon as possible so that we may promptly and correctly update your personal information records.