This privacy notice should be read alongside our Standard Client Terms of Business which provides further information on confidentiality and file retention. A copy of our Standard Client Terms of Business can be found on our website. www.stepienlake.co.uk/terms_of_business.
Who are we
Stepien Lake LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England, registration number OC240296. The registered office is at 43 Welbeck Street, London W1G 8DX. Stepien Lake is a law firm and authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). SRA number 532987.
During the course of business and providing legal services to you the firm may collect, use, store and is responsible for certain personal information and data. The firm is known as a ‘data controller’ and is regulated under GDPR by the Information Commissioner.
What personal data we need
The type of personal data we will request from you will depend on what you have asked us to do and the type of work we undertake. In the course of a legal transaction or matter we may request or collect:
(a) Personal data including your address, date of birth, contact information (telephone and email) and financial information.
(b) Identity information and documentation.
(c) Additional information in relation to your legal transaction to enable us to advise you and progress your matter.
Why we need it
In the majority of cases personal data will be restricted to basic information and information needed to complete ID checks.
We may also use personal information to provide legal services to you. We shall also use and disclose personal information so far as required to carry out your instructions.
We may use your information for:
- Verifying your identity
- Verifying source of funds
- To establish funding of your matter or transaction
- Communicating with you
- Processing your legal transaction including:
- providing you with legal advice
- preparing documents or to complete transactions
- carrying out litigation on your behalf
- attending hearings on your behalf
- complying with disclosure requirements in proceedings in which you are or may be a party
- advancing or responding to a claim on your behalf
- Keeping financial records of your transactions and the transactions we make on your behalf
- Seeking advice from third parties; such as legal and non-legal experts
- Obtaining insurance policies on your behalf
- Responding to any complaint or allegation of negligence against us
- To comply with legal and regulatory requirements
How we collect your data
You are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of all the personal data that you provide to us, and we will not be held liable for any errors unless you have advised us previously of any changes in your personal data.
We will only take instructions from you or someone you authorise in writing.
Where you are acting as an agent or trustee, you agree to advise your principal or beneficial owner of the trust that their personal information will be dealt in accordance with this policy.
Information may be passed to us by third parties e.g. banks/lenders in order to undertake work on your behalf.
Who has access to it
Generally, we will only use your information within Stepien Lake. However there may be circumstances, in carrying out your legal work, where we may need to disclose some information to third parties; for example:
- HM Land Registry to register a property
- HM Revenue & Customs; e.g. for Stamp Duty Liability
- Court or Tribunal
- Solicitors acting on the other side
- Asking an independent Barrister or Counsel for advice; or to represent you
- Non legal experts to obtain advice or assistance
- Contracted Suppliers
- External auditors or our Regulator; e.g. Reporting Accountants, SRA, ICO etc.
- Insurance Companies
- Bank or Building Society; or other financial institutions
- Providers of identity verification
- Any disclosure required by law or regulation; such as the prevention of financial crime and terrorism
Any information shared with these third parties will be for the sole purpose of carrying out your legal work in accordance with your instructions.
For contracted suppliers we will have in place a GDPR and confidentiality compliant service level agreement in place.
How we protect your data
We take the security of your data seriously.
We use reputable IT service providers and cloud computing services to keep your information secure from loss, misuse or alteration.
Where your information is disclosed to third parties, for the purposes of carrying out your instructions and handling your matter, we will ensure that personal data is processed in line with our stringent confidentiality and protection policies.
How long we keep your data
Your personal information will only be held for as long as required to fulfil the purposes we collected the information, as set out in the Terms of Business with you and/or as long as required by law. We are required to keep files for set periods to comply with file retention and regulatory obligations.
• As long as necessary to carry out your legal work
• For a minimum of 15 years for all property related work
• In certain situations original documents will be held indefinitely e.g. unregistered property deeds as proof of ownership.
After the required time period your file (paper and electronic) will be destroyed confidentially without further reference to you unless you contact us to request the file at an earlier date.
What are your rights
Under GDPR you have a number of important rights over your personal data. Further information about these rights can be found on the Information Commissioners website www.ico.org.uk.
If you would like to exercise any of these rights please contact us or contact the person dealing with your matter.
How to complain
In the first instance please contact us and we hope to resolve any query or concern you have about our use of your information.
If you have not satisfied with our response then you can lodge a complaint with the supervisory authority, the Information Commissioner Office who can be contacted at www.ico.org.uk/concerns/ or telephone 0303 1231113.
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This Policy may be amended by us from time to time.