The purpose of this Privacy Notice is to inform you how the Law Society of Northern Ireland (the Law Society) processes personal information. It applies to personal information collected about solicitors, about other persons who are applying to the Law Society for entry to the solicitors’ profession, about current and former employees and about applicants for employment made to the Law Society.
This Privacy Notice should be read in conjunction with our Data Protection Policy.
The Data Protection Act 1998
The Law Society processes personal information in accordance with the eight data protection principles in the Data Protection Act 1998 and in accordance with an overriding duty of fairness to each individual concerned.
Personal information held by the Law Society is subject to different levels of restricted access to the administrative staff of the Law Society in accordance with the variety of functions of the Law Society as decided by the Chief Executive on behalf of the Law Society.
Where the Law Society collects personal information about any person, that person has a right of access to the personal information under sections 7 to 15 of the Act. An application for access should be made in writing to the Chief Executive of the Law Society at 96 Victoria Street Belfast BT1 3GN. A person may write to request the correction of information held by the Law Society in relation to that person.
Further information and comprehensive guidance on the Act is available from the web site and offices of the Information Commissioner locally at 3rd Floor, 14 Cromac Place, Belfast, BT7 2JB and from the head office at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF. The web address is www.ico.org.uk. Where a problem has arisen a person also has a right to complain directly to the Information Commissioner.
The Role of the Law Society
The Law Society processes personal information in the course of carrying out a variety of regulatory and representative functions related to the solicitors’ profession and in addition in relation to its operation as an effective and efficient employer.
Personal information is processed where a regulatory investigation of an individual solicitor is taking place and it is made available to those persons duly authorised by the Law Society to carry out that regulatory function. These investigations may include a range of matters such as complaints about a solicitor, or breaches by a solicitor of the law, regulations, codes of conduct and ethical standards which apply to solicitors.
The Law Society may share personal information about a member with law enforcement agencies in the carrying out of its regulatory functions or as required by law.
Personal information collected by the Law Society is not processed in relation to the representative functions carried out by the Law Society. However the Law Society may extract from its databases of personal information statistical information about the profession for use on an anonymous basis in relation internal matters or to inform government, legal and academic bodies about other matters which are of relevance to further the interests of the profession generally. Individual firms or solicitors will not be identifiable from any such statistical information exchanges.
The Law Society as employer
The Law Society processes personal information of its employees in accordance with the law for the proper carrying out of its functions as an employer.
In relation to applicants for employment the Law Society will use the personal information they supply to process the application and to monitor recruitment statistics. If as part of this process the Law Society intends to disclose information to a third party such as taking up a reference or obtaining a disclosure certificate from Access NI, the Law Society will not do so without first informing the applicant beforehand unless the disclosure is required by law. Personal information about unsuccessful candidates will be destroyed.
The Law Society keeps a personnel file in respect of each employee which will be used for purposes directly relevant to that person’s employment.