1. Important information and who we are
Our website is not intended for children and we do not knowingly collect data relating to children via our website. We do collect data relating to children by other means where this forms part of our provision of legal services either to, or in relation to, such children. We will obtain consent from a guardian or parent unless there is another lawful reason for processing their data.
Who are we? (The Controller)
Our full details are:
Full name of legal entity: Sills & Betteridge LLP
Name and title of DPO: Bev Robinson, Risk and Compliance Manager
Email address: BRobinson@sillslegal.co.uk
Postal address: Sills & Betteridge LLP, Acquis House, Clasketgate, Lincoln, LN2 1JN
ICO registration number: Z4569180
You have the right to make a complaint at any time to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), the UK supervisory authority for data protection issues (www.ico.org.uk). We would, however, appreciate the chance to deal with your concerns before you approach the ICO so please contact us in the first instance.
Data protection principles
As a controller of your data, the data protection law requires us to:
- process your data in a lawful, fair and transparent way;
- collect your data only for explicit and legitimate purposes;
- collect only data that is relevant, and limited to the purpose(s);
- ensure that your data is accurate and up to date;
- ensure that your data is only kept as long as necessary; and
- ensure that appropriate security measures are used to protect your data.
This version was last updated on 1st November 2023 and any historic versions can be obtained by contacting us.
The UK ceased to be a contracting party to the EEA after it’s withdrawal from the EU on 31 January 2020. This privacy notice has been updated to reflect the regulations in UK GDPR and DPA 2018.
It is important that the personal data we hold about you is accurate and current. Please keep us informed if your personal data changes during your relationship with us.
2. Why do we need your information?
We need your personal information to allow us to offer our services to you and to comply with our legal and fiduciary duties. Personal information may be collected for the following purposes:
- Providing legal services to individuals and businesses
- Providing services to executors, beneficiaries and attorneys
- Updating and enhancing client records
- Analysis, management information and reporting to manage our business
- Statutory and regulatory returns to ensure compliance with our obligations
- Managing security and risks in the business
- Professional Indemnity insurance
- Administration and accounting
We may need to disclose the above information to our service providers, agents or other trusted third parties such as our Accountants and Regulators. They are bound by the same data protections law and will ensure your data is securely processed and only used for the purpose it is intended.
3. The data we collect about you
Personal data, or personal information, means any information about an individual from which that person can be identified. It does not include data where the identity has been removed (anonymous data).
We may collect, use, store and transfer different kinds of personal data about you which we have grouped together as follows:
- Identity & Contact Data includes first name, maiden name, last name, username or similar identifier, marital status, title, date of birth, gender, job title, employer billing address, correspondence address, email address and telephone numbers.
- Financial Data includes bank account and payment card details.
- Transaction Data includes details about payments to and from you and other details of services you have obtained from us, along with information regarding your financial and business affairs and other commercially sensitive information, along with any other information which you or a third party provide to us during the course of our provision of legal services to you.
- Technical Data includes internet protocol (IP) address, your login data, browser type and version, time zone setting and location, browser plug-in types and versions, operating system and platform and other technology on the devices you use to access our website.
- Usage Data includes information about how you use our website, products and services.
- Marketing and Communications Data includes your preferences in receiving marketing from us and our third parties and your communication preferences.
This is not intended to be an exhaustive list and other data may be captured as part of our contract with you. We are required to obtain this data to enable us to tailor our advice and services to your needs.
Where it is appropriate for the nature of the services that we are providing to you, we may collect Special Categories of Personal Data about you (this includes details about your race or ethnicity, religious or philosophical beliefs, sex life, sexual orientation, political opinions, trade union membership, information about your health and genetic and biometric data). Similarly, we may also collect information about criminal convictions and offences. By way of example only, if we are advising you in relation to an allegation of criminal activity, it is likely to be necessary for us to obtain information regarding any previous convictions that you have in order to advise you fully.
If you fail to provide personal data
Where we need to collect personal data by law, or under the terms of a contract we have with you and you fail to provide that data when requested, we may not be able to perform the contract we have or are trying to enter into with you. In this case, we may have to cancel a service we proposed to provide to you, but we will notify you if this is the case at the time.
4. How is your personal data collected?
We use different methods to collect data from and about you including through:
- Direct interactions. You may give us your Identity, Contact and Financial Data by filling in forms or by corresponding with us by post, phone, email or otherwise, including face-to-face contact. This includes personal data you provide when you:
- request our services;
- use our website;
- subscribe to our mailings or publications;
- request marketing to be sent to you;
- enter a competition, promotion or survey or interact with us on social media; or
- give us some feedback.
- Automated technologies or interactions. As you interact with our website, we may automatically collect Technical Data about your equipment, browsing actions and patterns. We collect this personal data by using cookies, server logs and other similar technologies. We may also receive Technical Data about you if you visit other websites employing our cookies.
- Third parties or publicly available sources. We may receive personal data about you from various third parties and public sources as set out below:
- Technical Data from the following parties some of whom may be based outside the UK or EEA;
a. analytics providers such as Google,
b. advertising networks,
c. search information providers.
- Technical Data from the following parties some of whom may be based outside the UK or EEA;
- Identity & Contact, Financial and Transaction Data from providers of technical, payment, delivery and credit reference services.
- Identity & Contact Data from data brokers or aggregators.
- Identity & Contact Data from publicly availably sources such as Companies House, Land Registry, Local Authorities and the Electoral Register usually based inside the UK.
- Identity & Contact and Transaction Data from your other service providers such as accountants who you have instructed to interact with us on your behalf, who are usually based within the UK.
- Identity & Contact and Transaction Data from public regulatory bodies such as the police, HMRC, and courts, who are usually based within the UK.
5. How we use your personal data
Under the data protection regulations we are required to clearly document our legal bases for processing your data. We will only use your personal data when the law allows us to. Most commonly, we will use your personal data in the following circumstances:
- Where we need to perform the contract we are about to enter into or have entered into with you.
- Where it is necessary for our legitimate interests (or those of a third party) and your interests and fundamental rights do not override those interests.
- Where we need to comply with a legal or regulatory obligation.
Generally we do not rely on consent as a legal basis for processing your personal data other than in relation to sending direct marketing communications to you via email or text message. We may use your data to establish whether products and/or services may be of interest to you or where a genuine legal need has been identified. We are committed to providing our clients with the best legal advice and we may contact you where we believe it is appropriate to address a specific issue or need. You have the right to withdraw consent to marketing at any time by contacting us.
In the course of dealing with your case we may also need to process your Special Category Data. Any use of special category data will be strictly controlled in accordance with our data protection policies and gathered for the purpose of progressing your matter. For example, you may tell us about your health if we are conducting a medical negligence claim on your behalf. This would be necessary information that is required to perform the contract we have entered in to with you.
Under the data protection regulations we are required to clearly document our legal bases for processing your Special Category Data. We process these Special Categories of Personal Data on the basis of one or more of the following:
- where you have given explicit consent to the processing of the personal data for one or more specified purposes;
- where the processing relates to personal data which is manifestly made public by you;
- where the processing is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims;
- where the processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest, in accordance with applicable law, such as for the prevention or detection of an unlawful act or for preventing fraud; or for the provision of confidential advice.
Purposes for which we will use your personal data
We have set out below, in a table format, a description of all the ways we plan (or may in the future plan) to use your personal data, and which of the legal bases we rely on to do so. We have also identified what our legitimate interests are where appropriate.
Note that we may process your personal data for more than one lawful ground depending on the specific purpose for which we are using your data. Please contact us if you need details about the specific legal ground we are relying on to process your personal data where more than one ground has been set out in the table below.
|Purpose/Activity||Type of data||Lawful basis for processing including basis of legitimate interest|
|Provision of legal services (including file management and use)|
a. Identity & Contact
a. Performance of a contract with you
|File archiving, deletion and destruction|
a. Identity & Contact
a. Performance of a contract with you
|Internal firm management (including reporting, monitoring and complaints handling)|
a. Identity & Contact
a. Performance of a contract with you
|To administer and protect our business and our website (including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, system maintenance, support, reporting and hosting of data)|
a. Identity & Contact
a. Necessary for our legitimate interests (for running our business, provision of administration and IT services, network security, to prevent fraud and in the context of a business reorganisation or group restructuring exercise)
a. Identity & Contact
We strive to provide you with choices regarding certain personal data uses, particularly around marketing and advertising. It is entirely your choice whether you consent to us providing you with direct electronic marketing – we will only do so where you have given us your consent to do so. A form will be sent out to you at the start of your matter and your preferences will be recorded on our system.
Promotional offers from us
We may use your Identity, Contact, Technical, Usage and Profile Data to form a view on what we think you may want or need, or what may be of interest to you. This is how we decide which services may be relevant for you (we call this marketing).
You will receive marketing communications from us if you have requested information from us or obtained services from us or if you provided us with your details when you entered a competition or registered for contact and, in each case, you have opted in to receiving that marketing.
We will not share your personal data with any third party for their marketing purposes. However, where you have consented to the receipt of marketing from us, we may use a third party to prepare and deliver such marketing materials on our behalf.
You can ask us to stop (and to ask third parties to whom we have provided your personal data to stop) sending you marketing messages by contacting us at any time.
Our Terms of Business Letter and enclosures sets out how you may request us to cease the provision of legal services to you. However, in accordance with this policy, we may continue to process your personal data thereafter.
Change of purpose
We will only use your personal data for the purposes for which we collected it, unless we reasonably consider that we need to use it for another reason and that reason is compatible with the original purpose. If you wish to get an explanation as to how the processing for the new purpose is compatible with the original purpose, please contact us.
If we need to use your personal data for an unrelated purpose, we will notify you and we will explain the legal basis which allows us to do so. For the avoidance of doubt, it is a natural part of the provision of legal services that such services develop and change over time; this shall not constitute a change of purpose.
Please note that we may process your personal data without your knowledge or consent, in compliance with the above rules, where this is required or permitted by law.
6. Disclosures of your personal data
We may have to share your personal data with the parties set out below for the purposes set out in the table in paragraph 5 above.
We will never share or sell your personal information to another third party. Data will only be transferred to trusted third parties if it is required as part of your matter. For example, experts, barristers, estate agents and insurers who are all bound by the same data protection laws.
- Other External Third Parties are set out in the Glossary.
We require third parties to respect the security of your personal data and to treat it in accordance with the law. We do not authorise our third-party service providers to use your personal data for their own purposes, and only authorise them to process your personal data for specified purposes and in accordance with our instructions
Where reasonably possible, we have a signed Data Processing Agreement in place with such third parties. However, in the course of our provision of legal services we may be required to provide certain pieces of personal data to processors who, usually for reasons of disparity of size or bargaining power, either cannot or will not enter into Data Processing Agreements with us. For example, in relation to a conveyancing transaction we would usually be required to provide personal data to a bank or building society in respect of any applicable mortgage, and to HM Land Registry. Such entities will not enter into Data Processing Agreements with each and every solicitor’s practice which requires them to process data as part of their provision of legal services, but nevertheless it is essential for such a transaction to use their processing services.
Having considered the matter carefully, and consulted the ICO, we see no alternative but to use such processors without having a Data Processing Agreement in place. Where possible, we will characterise such entities as fellow data controllers, but in some cases this will not be possible. All of these providers are bound by the same data protection laws and have an obligation to protect your information. We will assume that your continued instructions to proceed with the provision of our legal services are an acknowledgement that this may apply to certain processors which we may use. If you wish to enquire as to whether we have a Data Processing Agreement in place with the processor(s) applicable to your matter, then please contact us.
Where we will store your data
Your personal information will be hosted securely within the UK. If we transfer your information to a data processor we will take all reasonable steps to ensure that your information is secure. No information about your matter is transferred or backed up outside of the UK with the exception of some third parties who may transfer your data to non-UK data centres.
7. International transfers
Some of our external third parties may be based outside of the UK and European Economic Area (EEA) so their processing of your personal data may involve a transfer of data outside the EEA but this is unlikely.
Whenever we transfer your personal data out of the EEA, we will ensure a similar degree of protection is afforded to it by ensuring at least one of the following safeguards is implemented:
- We may transfer your personal data to countries that have been deemed to provide an adequate level of protection for personal data by the European Commission.
- Where we use certain service providers, we may use specific contracts approved by the European Commission which give personal data the same protection it has in Europe.
- Where we use providers based in the US, we may transfer data to them if they are part of the Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework which requires them to provide similar protection to personal data shared between the UK, Europe and the US.
Please contact us if you want further information on the specific mechanism used by us when transferring your personal data out of the EEA.
8. Data security
We have put in place appropriate security measures to prevent your personal data from being accidentally lost, used or accessed in an unauthorised way, altered or disclosed. In addition, we limit access to your personal data to those employees, agents, contractors and other third parties who have a business need to know. They will only process your personal data on our instructions and they are subject to a duty of confidentiality.
We have put in place procedures to deal with any suspected personal data breach and will notify you and any applicable regulator of a breach where we are legally required to do so.
We also have controls in place to ensure our premises are physically secure. In order to prevent and detect crime and to ensure the safety of our clients and staff, we operate CCTV at some of our offices. These cameras record footage in real-time and are operated by our IT department. Monitoring and recordings do not take place in any personal areas and all recordings are kept securely on a rolling basis and only accessed by our IT department.
9. Data retention
How long will you use my personal data for?
We will only retain your personal data for as long as necessary to fulfil the purposes we collected it for, including for the purposes of satisfying any legal, accounting, or reporting requirements. To determine the appropriate retention period for personal data, we consider the amount, nature, and sensitivity of the personal data, the potential risk of harm from unauthorised use or disclosure of your personal data, the purposes for which we process your personal data and whether we can achieve those purposes through other means, and the applicable legal requirements.
Generally, we will store your data for 7 years from the date your file is closed unless our regulatory requirements stipulate otherwise. Details of retention periods for different aspects of your personal data are available in our retention policy which you can request from us by contacting us.
In some circumstances you can ask us to delete your data: see Request erasure below for further information.
In some circumstances we may anonymise your personal data (so that it can no longer be associated with you) for research or statistical purposes in which case we may use this information indefinitely without further notice to you.
Your legal rights
Under certain circumstances, you have rights under data protection laws in relation to your personal data. Please see the glossary below for further details. If you wish to exercise any of those rights (as further detailed in the Glossary), please contact the Data Protection Officer named above.
No fee usually required
You will not usually have to pay a fee to access your personal data (or to exercise any of the other rights). However, we may charge a reasonable fee if your request is clearly unfounded, repetitive or excessive. Alternatively, we may refuse to comply with your request in these circumstances.
What we may need from you
We may need to request specific information from you to help us confirm your identity and ensure your right to access your personal data (or to exercise any of your other rights). This is a security measure to ensure that personal data is not disclosed to any person who has no right to receive it. We may also contact you to ask you for further information in relation to your request to speed up our response.
Time limit to respond
We try to respond to all legitimate requests within one month. Occasionally it may take us longer than a month if your request is particularly complex or you have made a number of requests. In this case, we will notify you and keep you updated.
Legitimate Interest means the interest of our business in conducting and managing our business to enable us to give you the best service and the best and most secure experience. We make sure we consider and balance any potential impact on you (both positive and negative) and your rights before we process your personal data for our legitimate interests. We do not use your personal data for activities where our interests are overridden by the impact on you (unless we have your consent or are otherwise required or permitted to by law). You can obtain further information about how we assess our legitimate interests against any potential impact on you in respect of specific activities by contacting us.
Performance of Contract means processing your data where it is necessary for the performance of a contract to which you are a party or to take steps at your request before entering into such a contract.
Comply with a legal or regulatory obligation means processing your personal data where it is necessary for compliance with a legal or regulatory obligation that we are subject to.
External Third Parties
- Service providers based both within and outside the UK and EEA who provide IT and system administration services
- Professional advisers including lawyers, bankers, auditors and insurers (including brokers) who may be based both within and outside the EEA who provide consultancy, banking, legal, insurance, brokering and accounting services.
- HM Revenue & Customs, regulators and other authorities (including local, regional and national governmental organisations) based in the UK and EEA (or occasionally outside the EEA in line with your specific instructions).
- Land Registry, Companies House and other official bodies or registries based in the UK or EEA (or occasionally outside the EEA in line with your specific instructions).
- Credit reference, complaints handling and outsourced administration support service companies based in the UK and EEA.
YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS
You have the right to:
Request access to your personal data (commonly known as a "data subject access request"). This enables you to receive a copy of the personal data we hold about you and to check that we are lawfully processing it.
Request correction of the personal data that we hold about you. This enables you to have any incomplete or inaccurate data we hold about you corrected, though we may need to verify the accuracy of the new data you provide to us.
Request erasure of your personal data. This enables you to ask us to delete or remove personal data where there is no good reason for us continuing to process it. You also have the right to ask us to delete or remove your personal data where you have successfully exercised your right to object to processing (see below), where we may have processed your information unlawfully or where we are required to erase your personal data to comply with local law. Note, however, that we may not always be able to comply with your request of erasure for specific legal reasons which will be notified to you, if applicable, at the time of your request.
Object to processing of your personal data where we are relying on a legitimate interest (or those of a third party) and there is something about your particular situation which makes you want to object to processing on this ground as you feel it impacts on your fundamental rights and freedoms. You also have the right to object where we are processing your personal data for direct marketing purposes. In some cases, we may demonstrate that we have compelling legitimate grounds to process your information which override your rights and freedoms.
Request restriction of processing of your personal data. This enables you to ask us to suspend the processing of your personal data in the following scenarios: (a) if you want us to establish the data's accuracy; (b) where our use of the data is unlawful but you do not want us to erase it; (c) where you need us to hold the data even if we no longer require it as you need it to establish, exercise or defend legal claims; or (d) you have objected to our use of your data but we need to verify whether we have overriding legitimate grounds to use it.
Request the transfer of your personal data to you or to a third party. We will provide to you, or a third party you have chosen, your personal data in a structured, commonly used, machine-readable format. Note that this right only applies to automated information which you initially provided consent for us to use or where we used the information to perform a contract with you.
Withdraw consent at any time where we are relying on consent to process your personal data. However, this will not affect the lawfulness of any processing carried out before you withdraw your consent. If you withdraw your consent, we may not be able to provide certain products or services to you. We will advise you if this is the case at the time you withdraw your consent.