This policy sets out how and why we collect, hold use and disclose certain information. This policy works alongside our overarching professional obligations, such as our duty of confidentiality. This policy reflects that most of the personal information that we deal with relates to our own clients or matters involving them.
We are bound by the Australian Privacy Principles under the Privacy Act 1988. A copy of the Privacy Act 1988 which includes the Australian Privacy Principles can be found at: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Series/C2004A03712
Who we are and how we can be contacted
As we collect information, we are obliged to tell you about us and how we can be contacted. On this basis, please be advised that our details are as a follows:
142 Main Street, Lilydale VIC 3140
26 Argyle Place North, Carlton VIC 3053
Phone: 03 9739 7377
Fax: 03 9735 5593
The kinds of personal information that we collect and hold
We will only collect information about you which is reasonably necessary for us to collect in order for us to provide legal advice and to market our services.
As our client, there is certain personal information that we ordinarily collect as part of opening a file. This information includes names, contact information (including current addresses, phone numbers and email addresses), dates of birth and some banking information depending on how you choose to transact with us.
Depending on the nature of a matter, we may need to collect other personal information, sensitive information and credit information. We may require information about you or another person involved or related to the matter. This may include information such as -
- racial or ethnic origins;
- political, professional, trade, union and religious affiliations and opinions;
- sexual orientation or practices;
- criminal records; and
- credit history and creditworthiness
We will only collect such information as is necessary to give you the best advice possible in the circumstances and to pursue your matter to the best of our abilities and in accordance with the law and our ethical obligations.
We also collect some government identifiers as part of running our business, including driver’s licences, health care cards and tax file numbers. We only collect such information as is required to verify identity for the purposes of providing legal services or as otherwise permissible by paragraph 9.2 of the Australian Privacy Principles. For example: we are required to provide a copy of your health care card in some courts in order for you to be eligible for discounted court fees. If we require a tax file number, we will require your consent in writing.
If we are required or authorised to collect specific information from you under an Australian law or court order, we will advise of the details of the relevant law or court order at the time of requesting collection.
The purposes for collecting, holding, using and disclosing the information
The purpose of us collecting information is to provide legal advice and to market our services. We will only collect and hold such information as reasonably necessary to give effect to these purposes.
In order to give effect to these purposes, we continue to hold some personal information about you even after our services are no longer required. For example: we retain our physical files for 7 years because of taxation law. We also retain a limited number of physical files indefinitely (in our sole discretion).
We retain contact information about you indefinitely. This is so that we can ensure that we do not have a conflict of interest in the future. It also means that we can contact clients regarding relevant changes to the law and send them offers regarding our services (direct marketing).
As a client you instruct us to perform certain actions as part of your matters. By providing us with your instructions, you consent to us using and disclosing your personal information as is reasonably necessary to give effect to those instructions. For example: if you instruct us to act for you in the sale of your home, we will need to disclose some of your personal information to at least your Real Estate Agent, the Purchaser’s professional advisor, the State Revenue Office, the Land Titles Office, the Council and your Water Utilities provider.
In some cases, we will ask you to provide consent to certain uses and disclosure of your information in writing. This is for our record keeping and in accordance with our professional obligations.
We will also seek consent when we are using or disclosing personal information in a way that is not directly related to the reason that we collected it and we do not have relevant current instructions from you unless so permitted by law.
We may also disclose the information to an Affiliate, for example: our accountants need some information about our billing history and types of matters we are working on in order to give us proper advice about our business. For this purpose "Affiliates" includes our agents, contractors and professional advisors provided that they have signed our confidentiality deed before receiving information from us. Nonetheless, we disclose de-indentified information to Affiliates wherever possible. De-indentified information is information that has had personal information removed such as aggregate data, an example would be giving our account our billing history for a matter without giving them any other information about you.
In all cases, we will not disclose personal information where the disclosure would be a breach of the law, our ethical obligations or our fiduciary duties.
Anonymity & Pseudonymity
You can request to deal with us anonymously or by using a pseudonym. We will assess such requests on a case by case basis and will try to accommodate such request where practicable.
However, it is very unlikely that we will be able to provide legal advice without knowing some personal information about the parties to a matter. This is because we need to ensure that we do not have conflict of interest before giving legal advice. Also, it is very difficult to provide quality legal advice if we cannot contact our client.
That said, we may not always need personal contact information if we have been provided with professional contact information and vice versa. Also, we will only collect banking information if you choose to transact with us that way, for example: payment of our account by a credit card.
If you choose not to provide information
If we request information and you choose not to provide it to us, it may effect our ability to advise you in a particular matter. If refusing to provide the information has a specific consequence to you, you will be notified at the time of requesting collection.
We reserve our rights to tell you about information that other parties have refused to provide which is relevant to your matter.
If you are a client (or potential client) and you refuse to provide us with certain information, we may not be able to continue acting for you depending on the circumstances and you will be notified of our decision to cease acting in writing.
Sometimes we receive personal information which we have not requested, this may be because it has been provided to us by mistake. Within a reasonable time of receiving such personal information, we will assess whether we could have requested to collect it and whether it is required by us for our purposes.
If you supply us with personal information that we do not need to retain for our purposes then we will take reasonable steps to return it to you.
If we are provided with personal information about you and we would not otherwise have been entitled to collect such information ourselves, we will destroy such information or ensure that it is de-identified provided that it is lawful and reasonable to do so. This is subject to our overarching obligations as legal practitioners, including our ethical obligations to you, the court and opposing parties when information is received in error.
Our Complaints procedure
We have a complaints procedure for all issues relating to our service, this includes privacy issues. In general, our complaints procedures is that the matter is referred to one of the Partners of the firm who will personally make all enquiries and ensure the complaint is dealt with appropriately. We welcome your queries and concerns about our business, including privacy. If you have a query or concern, please attention your query to the Partner in charge of the area of law your matter relates to:
- Adrian Riccioni – Commercial Law and all other matters
- Barry Northfield – Property Law
- Kate Greenwood – Family Law
- Frank Lamari – Family Law and Disputes
All other enquiries, should be attention to the Partners.
Sending personal information overseas
We do not usually send personal information overseas. We are based solely in Australia and our server is hosted here. If we need to send personal information overseas in a particular case, we will only do so with your consent to the transmission or otherwise in accordance with Australian Privacy Principle 8.
In circumstances where we are required to use a cloud data server to provide documents to external parties, international data servers may be used by the service provider.
How can you access and correct information held by us
Within a reasonable time of a written request by you, we will either grant you access to information stored by us on your behalf or refuse to grant you access and provide reasons for our refusal.
We may withhold information about you where we are required or authorised by law to do so, specifically the pursuant to the grounds for refusal set out in Australian Privacy Principle 12. However we will take all reasonable steps to provide a compromise option instead of outright refusal wherever possible, such as using a mutually agreed intermediary.
We may demand reasonable payment for the provision of the information requested by you.
If either you or we become aware that your information is inaccurate, out-of-date, incomplete, irrelevant or misleading, we will take all reasonable steps required to update our database and files with the new information. If we have already disclosed the old information to another party, you can instruct us to advise them of the correction.
If we refuse to accept a correction provided by you, we will notify you in writing. Regardless of whether we accept or refuse your request, we will respond to you within a reasonable time.
Obtaining copies of our policy
If you are a client, we may use your personal information (other than your sensitive information as defined by the Privacy Act 1988) for the purpose of direct marketing our services to you. This includes joint promotions between us and a third party (such as an accounting firm) provided that we will not supply your personal information to the third party as part of that promotion without your consent.
We will not use personal information collected about individuals who are not clients for the purpose of direct marketing without the written consent of the individual.
In all cases, you can request not to receive direct marketing from us at any time. You can make this request by contacting our office on 03 9739 7377 or sending us an email at email@example.com. From February 2015, each instance of direct marketing by us will also have an “opt out” function built into the offer itself such as an unsubscribe button in the case of email promotions.
We will not provide your personal information to third parties for the purpose of direct marketing by them without your specific consent.