This Policy represents how Howard Legal Group (HLG) manages your personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (the Privacy Act). HLG is committed to protecting the privacy of your personal information and is bound by the Australian Privacy Principles (the APP’s) contained within the Privacy Act.
Please note if at any time we are required by law to release information about you, we must co-operate fully.
Your Personal Information
Who does this Policy apply to?
This Policy applies to any person for whom we currently hold, or may collect in the future, personal information.
Types of Personal Information Collect
In broad terms, personal information is any information about you that identifies you or by which your identity may be reasonably determined. The personal information we collect about you may include (but may not be limited to) your name, date and place of birth, contact details, occupation and education/work history, employer, Internet Protocol (IP) address, legal and industry areas of interest, passport details, and information relating to your dealing with HLG and our clients.
By collecting this personal information, we are able to:
- Verify your identity;
- Contact you when necessary (including via electronic messaging such as SMS and email, and by mail, by phone or in any other lawful manner);
- Identify the issues of your particular matter;
- Provide you with the appropriate level of legal service or information relating to that matter;
- Undertake conflict searches for our own purposes and for the purpose of determining if we can represent a client or potential client; and
- Develop and improve our services and obtain feedback.
If we are not able to collect personal information about you, we may not be able to provide you with products, services and assistance to the extent that may be required.
How HLG collects and holds Personal Information
HLG collects information from you in a number of different ways. Generally, if appropriate, we will tell you why we are collecting personal information and how we plan to use your personal information. We may collect personal information directly from you or in the course of our dealings with you, for example when you:
- Provide personal information to us;
- Use our website or services (including cookies);
- Contact or correspond with us, for example to ask for information;
- Provide instructions to us; and
- Apply for a position of employment with us.
Personal information may be obtained, if you consent, from another Howard Group entity, from publicly available sources of information, or in some case, from third parties including recruitment agencies, previous employers and third party service provides which provide criminal, bankruptcy and other checks if we are unable to obtain the information directly from you.
Storage and Security
We take reasonable measures to ensure your personal information is accurate and protected from unauthorised access or disclosure.
Any communication or documents transmitted by email may be inferred with, or may contain computer viruses or other defects, and may not be successfully replicated on other systems.
We use a variety of physical and electronic security measures, including restricting physical access to our offices, firewalls and secure databases to keep personal information secure from misuse, interference, loss or unauthorised use or disclosure. The internet is not a secure environment. If you use the internet to send us any information, including your email address, it is sent at your own risk.
We use third party software and cloudbase services for file management purposes. HLG uses some of the following third party software and cloudbase services to store your files and information:
- Office 365 suite (business premium);
- Google Apps/ Gmail (business grade);
- Actionstep; and
- Dropbox .
These may include Australian and overseas-based technology service providers and the use of servers within and outside Australia, including in the United States of America and New Zealand.
Use and Disclosure
HLG may use or disclose your information for the purpose for which it was collected. We may also use and disclose your information for a secondary purpose that is related to a purpose for which we collected, where you would reasonably expect us to use or disclose your personal information for that secondary purpose.
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 when necessary, we may accept your verbal consent to disclose particular information in the conduct of your legal matter. Your consent to disclosure may also be implied from your conduct and interaction with HLG during the normal progression of your matter.
HLG will, at all times, attempt 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.
Ensuring your Personal Information is up to date
At HLG, we seek to provide the best possible legal services to ensure your legal needs are properly addressed. To achieve this, we require that all personal information that we hold about you is current and up to date. It is important that you notify us of any changes to your personal information which we hold in the course of your relationship with HLG.
The information we keep about you
You have a right to request access to or correct your personal information held by us. If you wish to access, correct or update any personal information we may hold about you, please contact us so that we may have the documentation ready for your inspection. When you access your personal information, we will require you to sign a document stating that you have accessed your information.
HLG retains the right to deny access to personal information where the information may relate to existing or anticipated legal proceedings or where access may be regarded as frivolous or vexatious.
HLG may also refuse access where the Privacy Act allows us to do so. If we deny you access to your personal information, reasons for that denial will be provided.
Complaints about breaches of privacy
We will take any privacy complaint seriously. HLG will respond to you within seven days and attempt to resolve your issue with you as they pertain to your personal information.
We expect that our procedures will deal fairly and promptly with your complaint. However, if you are not satisfied with the response you receive from HLG, you may contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner at http://www.oaic.gov.au/ or alternatively by phone: 1300 363 992
Reviewed: 8 October 2015