At Butlers we seek to provide the best possible legal service to ensure your legal needs are properly addressed. To achieve this, we may need to collect personal information about you and the circumstances surrounding your legal matter.
It is important for us to ensure that you are confident that any personal information you provide to us is treated in the appropriate manner and with the appropriate degree of privacy.
Butlers offers expertise in many different areas of law and the services it provides to you will dictate the types of personal information that it may be necessary for us to collect.
What does "personal information" mean?
Personal information is any information about you that identifies you or by which your identity may be reasonably determined. By collecting this personal information we are able to:
Identify the issues of your particular matter;
Provide the appropriate level of advice relating to that matter;
Contact you when and where necessary;
Ensure that you receive the best possible service and advice; and
Identify you and protect you from any unauthorised access to your personal information.
How Butlers collects your personal information
We will always collect your personal information directly from you where possible. Where we are unable to obtain personal information directly from you, we will obtain your consent before information is obtained from another party.
Collection of your personal information may occur in a number of ways including:
Taking instructions from you;
Contact with a financial institution, medical provider or any other party, on your behalf, and at your request, to obtain such information;
From another party during the course of legal proceedings;
By email where you consent to that occurring.
Specifically, personal information will be collected during the course of our relationship with you. Personal information may also be collected when you provide us with further instructions to act on your behalf in other matters.
It is possible that we may collect personal information about you from other sources without your direct knowledge. Examples of this may be where funds are transferred from your bank account into our trust account and your bank account details are advised to us.
Where possible, we will require you to specifically consent to any use or disclosure of your personal information. Your consent will usually be required in writing. However, where necessary, we may accept your verbal consent to disclose particular information in the conduct of your legal matter.
Your consent may also be implied from the particular legal matter we are dealing with on your behalf. For example, if we are undertaking conveyancing matters for you, if we are required to negotiate with your financier regarding settlement figures and cash requirements or with respect to matters involving personal injury, wills, powers of attorney, estates, litigation and commercial transactions.
To whom would Butlers disclose your personal information?
Butlers may need to disclose your personal information in certain circumstances. For example, your personal information may be required to be disclosed in response to a Subpoena or a Court Order.
It may also be necessary for us to disclose some of your personal information included on documents filed on your behalf in Government Departments or in Court.
We may also disclose your personal information where you have consented to us doing so in pursuance of your legal matter. Your consent to the disclosure of your personal information may be given expressly, or it may be implied from your conduct and interaction with Butlers during the normal progress of your matter.
Butlers will, at all times, do its best to ensure that we do not disclose your personal information to a party outside the firm where consent for such disclosure has not been given. In all cases where we may be required to disclose information that is outside the ambit of our retainer, we will attempt to obtain your direct consent for such disclosure.
Some examples of parties outside Butlers to whom we may be required to disclose your personal information and the reasons for disclosure, are:
Insurance companies to ensure that policy claims are accurate.
Government authorities and agencies in respect to any claims for WorkCover, financial assistance and the like.
Mortgagees, mortgage insurers and banks for the purposes of establishing, discharging or insuring your mortgage.
Barristers who may have been retained in respect of your legal matter.
Medical or any other experts who may be required to provide a report on your matter.
Solicitors within the firm other than those with the day-to-day conduct of your file, engaged to assist in the progression of your matter.
Recipients of court documents in the normal course of pleadings.
The security of your personal information
Butlers prides itself on its secure handling of the personal information of its clients. We will take all reasonable precautions to safeguard personal information that is held by us, either on file or on computer, from loss, misuse, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.
To ensure that your personal information is secure, Butlers employs a number of means, including:
External and internal premises security.
The requirement for all team members to enter into a confidentiality agreement.
Computer firewall protection.
Restricted access to personal files and information.
Up to date technology and computer maintenance to prevent unauthorised access.
Document handling and shredding procedures with respect to personal information.
Limited access to your personal information.
Butlers prides itself on the maintenance of up to date and technologically advanced computer systems. Our computers are continually being updated to maintain their security and are regularly audited and tested by external experts to ensure that any breaches of security, potential or actual, may be identified and rectified.
When Butlers no longer requires your personal information and the retainer has been completed, your file will be held by us in archives, off location, for a minimum of seven years and then securely destroyed.
Access to your personal information
At any time you may give notice to Butlers that you wish to access your personal information that we hold.
In order that this information is made available to you some notice is required so that we may have the documentation ready for your inspection. Where the information is held in security, Butlers reserves the right to charge a fee to cover the cost of retrieval and supply of the information to you. However, we will endeavour at all times to ensure that the cost of such retrieval and supply is reasonable.
We will endeavour to handle all requests for access to personal information as quickly as possible and provide that information to you within seven days of receipt of that request.
However, some requests may take longer to process because of the substantial amount of documents held by the firm in respect of some matters.
You may only access your own personal information. Any personal information held on your file, in respect of any other person, will not be disclosed to you.
Butlers retains the right to deny access to personal information where the information may relate to existing or anticipated legal proceedings between Butlers and you or where access may be regarded as frivolous or vexatious. Butlers is also under obligation by law, in some circumstances, to deny access to your personal information.
If we deny you access to your personal information, reasons for that denial will be provided.
Should you wish to access your personal information, all you need to do is contact Butlers on +61 8 9386 5200 and advise us of your request. When you access your personal information, we will require you to sign a document stating that you have accessed your information.
Certain information which may be collected by Butlers will be regarded as sensitive information. The disclosure of sensitive information can only be made by Butlers with your direct consent, where it is required to establish or defend a legal claim or required by law to be disclosed. Some examples of sensitive information include:
Sexual preferences or practices.
Membership of trade union.
Membership of professional trade association.
Membership of political association.
Religious beliefs or affiliations.
Racial or ethnic origin.
Butlers may from time to time use your personal information, such as your address or contact details, to provide you with information about other services that we offer.
If at any time you do not wish to receive any information about these services please feel free to contact us on +61 8 9386 5200 and we will not send you any further material.
Butlers will not disclose your personal information to any party outside the firm except for the purpose of furthering your legal matter, or where the law requires us to so provide your personal information.
Please be aware that solicitor/client confidentiality still exists notwithstanding any legal requirement to provide information, and that information provided to us by you is confidential.
Complaints about breaches of privacy
If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from Butlers, you may contact the Federal Privacy Commissioner by phoning 1300 363 992 or writing to the Privacy Commissioner, Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner, GPO Box 5218, Sydney NSW 2001.