This policy sets out the way in which WARD Lawyers manages and collects personal information pursuant to our obligations under the Australian Privacy Principles contained in The Privacy Act 1988 and following changes that came into effect as of 12 March 2014.
WARD Lawyers is an incorporated legal practice and is subject to the requirements for legal practices set out in the Legal Profession Uniform Law (Victoria) Act 2014. Breaches of this Act can have serious repercussions for legal practices.
WARD Lawyers collects or receives personal information for the purpose of:
Your personal information is information or an opinion about you that allows us to identify you. Personal information we collect about you may include your contact details, including name, address, telephone numbers, email address and other information about you (eg employment details; date of birth; etc). In some instances, you may need to disclose sensitive information to us, such as information about your health, to the extent that such information is relevant and necessary to your matter.
Personal information may be collected when a person uses our website, subscribes to our newsletter, attends our offices, engages our services, makes enquiries of us, performs work at our direction, applies for employment with us or otherwise deals or communicates with us (whether by email, telephone, facsimile or in person).
Where reasonable and practicable, WARD Lawyers will obtain personal information about an individual from that person. However, there are times when WARD Lawyers receives personal information from a third party in the course of acting for our clients and in the general course of our business. This may include from a third party’s legal, accounting or other representatives, or from an expert, medical practitioner or other source such as supplier recommendations or referrals. WARD Lawyers may also receive personal information from third parties who analyse traffic to our websites or who provide marketing statistics.
For example, WARD Lawyers may receive personal information during discovery or other compulsory process in the course of a legal proceeding. In this case, there is an implied undertaking not to use information received by way of discovery or other compulsory court processes for any purpose other than the conduct of the proceedings in which they were received (known as the Harman undertaking). Compliance with the Harman undertaking is subject to Court supervision and a breach of the undertaking can be a contempt of court.
In these circumstances, WARD Lawyers is not reasonably able to notify the individual that we collect or have collected the information and the circumstances of that collection from another party.
If WARD Lawyers receives unsolicited personal information, we will within a reasonable period determine whether or not we could have collected the information from the individual. If we determine that we could not have collected the information in this way, we will as soon as practicable, but only if it is lawful and reasonable to do so, destroy the information or ensure that the information is de-identified.
TYPES OF INFORMATION
Personal information is any information or an opinion which identifies or can be used to identify a person. Generally, the sort of personal information WARD Lawyers may collect and hold includes: a person’s name, address, contact details, occupation and other relevant information which assists or is necessary for the primary purpose of collection.
In some instances, the circumstances of a matter may necessitate the collection of sensitive information. Sensitive information is personal information or an opinion about a person’s racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, membership of a political association, religious beliefs or affiliations, philosophical beliefs, membership of a professional or trade association, membership of a trade union, sexual preferences or practices, or criminal record.
WARD Lawyers will take such steps as are reasonable in the circumstances to ensure that the personal information we collect, use or disclose is, having regard to the purpose of the use or disclosure, accurate, up-to-date, complete and relevant.
ANONYMITY AND PSEUDONYMITY
Under Australian Privacy Principle 2, a person has the option of not identifying themselves, or of using a pseudonym. However, in light of the matters in respect of which WARD Lawyers collects personal information, it is impracticable for WARD Lawyers to deal with a person who has not identified themselves or who has used a pseudonym.
Further in order to meet our prudential requirements under the Legal Profession Act 2004 (Vic), we will not be able to provide legal services to you without your personal information, including information as to whether you are acting on behalf of an entity or someone else. In short, we cannot provide legal services to you without knowing who you are.
USE AND DISCLOSURE
WARD Lawyers may use and disclose personal information we collect for the primary purpose for which it has been collected and for any related secondary purpose (or, if sensitive information, any directly related secondary purpose) within the individual’s reasonable expectations, and in other circumstances authorised by the Australian Privacy Principles, the Privacy Act or by law.
For example, WARD Lawyers may in the course of providing legal services need to disclose personal information to:
In addition, WARD Lawyers may need to disclose personal information to our service providers, including for auditing, archival, administrative, delivery, technology and security services.
DISCLOSING YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION OVERSEAS
Depending upon the nature of your matter, we may need to disclose your personal information overseas.
Before WARD Lawyers discloses personal information overseas, it will take such steps that are reasonable in the circumstances to ensure that the overseas recipient does not breach the Australian Privacy Principles. However, depending on the sensitivity of the personal information, any adverse consequences of the information being mishandled, and the practicability of the time and costs involved, it may be reasonable for us to not take any steps before disclosing information overseas.
In addition, WARD Lawyers can disclose personal information to overseas recipients if:
Australian Privacy Principle 8.2 provides further exceptions to the non-disclosure of personal information to overseas recipients.
WARD Lawyers may use your personal information for the purposes of marketing our legal services to you. If a person does not wish to receive direct marketing communication from WARD Lawyers they can “opt-out” by notifying us at firstname.lastname@example.org or utilising the unsubscribe option at the end of all direct marketing materials.
We will not use health or other sensitive information that we may hold about you for marketing purposes.
WARD Lawyers will take reasonable steps to protect the personal information we hold from misuse, interference, loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.
WARD Lawyers protects personal information by storing it within secured premises and by restricting access to electronic records. WARD Lawyers employees are required to respect the confidentiality and privacy of our clients and their matters.
WARD Lawyers on becoming aware of any data breach or suspected data breach will notify the individual(s) affected if required by law, in line with Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Act 2017.
A person is able to gain access to their personal information, subject to the exceptions set out under Australian Privacy Principle 12. WARD Lawyers will require you to verify your identity and specify what information you require. WARD Lawyers will endeavour to respond to the request for information within a reasonable time period and in the manner requested by you, if it is reasonable and practicable to do so. WARD Lawyers may charge a fee for providing access. In some instances, requests for particular safe custody documents will require further proof.
A person is able to request that WARD Lawyers corrects their personal information. WARD Lawyers will require you to verify your identity and specify what information you require to be corrected. WARD Lawyers will endeavour to respond to the request for the information to be corrected within a reasonable period after the request is made.
If a person is of the opinion that WARD Lawyers has used their personal or sensitive information inappropriately, the person can contact us at email@example.com and WARD Lawyers will respond to the complaint within a reasonable time period.
For any privacy concerns or to request access to one’s personal information, WARD Lawyers can be contacted using the details below:
Level 45A, 600 Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC Australia 3000
Tel +61 3 9657 3555
Fax +61 3 9657 3599
Postal PO Box 13221
Law Courts VIC Australia 8010