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Privacy Policy - Wills & Estates Werribee

 

The Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000 "The Act" came into effect on 21 December 2001. The Act introduces strict procedures on how private sector organisations may deal with personal information they collect about individuals.

The Act applies to all private sector organisations including individuals, partnerships, bodies corporate, trusts and unincorporated associations:

• With an annual turnover of more than $3 million;
• That are health service providers (regardless of turnover);
• That receive payment for collecting or disclosing personal information (regardless of turnover); and
• That provide contractual services to the Commonwealth, including all Federal Government contractors (regardless of turnover).

The Act is based on 10 National Privacy Principles that regulate the way organisations collect, use, keep, secure and disclose personal or sensitive information.

Personal information is anything that can identify a person. Sensitive information includes things such as race, sexual preference, political opinions, memberships of a trade association or trade union, criminal record or health information.

Harwood Andrews has determined to comply with the 10 National Privacy Principles.

Purpose of the Policy
Harwood Andrews is covered by the Privacy Act.

Harwood Andrews wishes to implement obligations under the Privacy Act and would like to take all reasonable steps in order to comply with the Act and protect the privacy of the personal information that we hold. This policy sets out how we intend to so.

The Policy applies to clients and to staff.

The Personal Information that the Organisation collects
Harwood Andrews collects the following personal information:

• Your name
• Date of birth
• Address
• Telephone numbers
• E-mail address
• Associated entities
• Details of other parties to your matter
• Details of your matter
• Occupation
• Career history
• Career plans (staff only)
• References
• Performance reviews (staff only)
• Relations

Why we collect it
Harwood Andrews collects, uses and discloses the information in accordance with the Collection Statement. Client information is collected and kept by Harwood Andrews so that we can properly and accurately represent clients in relation to their legal requirements and so that we can comply with our obligations under the Legal Practice Act 1996 and as required by the Law Institute of Victoria.

Client information is also collected so that we can identify any potential conflicts of interest and so that we can communicate with clients now or in the future as the need arises.

Staff information is collected and kept by Harwood Andrews so that we can communicate with staff and former staff appropriately. Employee records are generally exempted from the provisions of the Act.

Access to your personal information
Harwood Andrews provides access to the personal information that we hold about you. Access will be provided in accordance with our Access Policy. If you require access to your personal information please contact our Privacy Officer.

Complaints
If you have any complaints about our privacy practices or wish to make a complaint about how your personal information is managed please contact our Privacy officer. Complaints will be handled under the Harwood Andrews' Privacy Complaints Policy.

Storage
We will take all reasonable steps to protect the security of the personal information that we hold. This includes appropriate measures to protect electronic materials and materials stored and generated in hard copy.

What happens if you choose not to provide the information?
You are not obliged to give us your personal information. However, if you choose not to provide Harwood Andrews with the personal information we require, we may not be able to act for you.

COLLECTION STATEMENT
The personal information collected is collected by members of our staff as part of the process of representing you.

Use and disclosure
Apart from using the information in the process of properly representing you, personal information is sometimes collected for the purpose of:

• Providing details to you of our other services;
• Processing payments made by you or received on your behalf; and
• Providing you with additional information on changes in the law or in your own particular circumstances.

Harwood Andrews may also sometimes disclose this information to:
• The Courts;
• The Law Institute;
• Our insurer/s;
• Barristers; and
• Other Lawyers

Sources of information
Where possible Harwood Andrews will collect personal information directly from clients.

ACCESS POLICY
This policy is directed to those individuals whose personal information is held by Harwood Andrews.

Purpose
The purpose of this Policy is to set out how Harwood Andrews will provide access to your personal information. The Policy is part of our Privacy Policy and our desire to provide for, maintain and give effect to your right to privacy.

Overriding principles
At all times the conduct under this Policy will be governed by the following principles:

• All requests for access will be treated seriously
• All requests will be dealt with promptly
• All requests will be dealt with in a confidential manner
• Your request to access your personal information will not affect your existing obligations or affect the commercial arrangements between you and Harwood Andrews.

Form of Access
Harwood Andrews will provide access by allowing you to inspect, take notes of or receive copies or print outs of the personal information that Harwood Andrews holds about you.

Your request must be made in writing and may attract a charge.

To obtain access you will have to provide proof of your identity. This is necessary to ensure that personal information is provided only to the correct individuals and that the privacy of others is not undermined.

When will Access be denied?
Access will be denied if:

• the request does not relate to the personal information of the person making the request;
• insufficient proof of identity is provided;
• providing access would pose a serious and imminent threat to life or health of a person;
• providing access would create an unreasonable impact on the privacy of others;
• the request is frivolous and vexatious;
• the request relates to existing or anticipated legal proceedings;
• providing access would prejudice negotiations with the individual making the request;
• access would be unlawful;
• denial of access is authorised or required by law;
• access would prejudice law enforcement activities;
• access discloses a 'commercially sensitive' decision making process or information; or
• any other reason that is provided for in the National Privacy Principles (NPPs) set out under the Privacy Act.

Where possible, the Harwood Andrews will favour providing access. It may do so by providing access to the appropriate parts of the record or by using an appropriate intermediary.

Where there is a dispute about the right or forms of access these will be dealt with in accordance with the Harwood Andrews' grievance procedure.

Time
We will take all reasonable steps to provide access as promptly as is reasonable.

Costs and charges
Harwood Andrews may impose charges for photocopying, facsimiles, email, document retrieval etc at its discretion. Details of costs will be advised at the time of making a request for information.

PRIVACY COMPLAINTS: HOW WE HANDLE PRIVACY COMPLAINTS

Introduction
Harwood Andrews sees the importance of privacy to the organisation, its clients and other stakeholders. As such Harwood Andrews is committed to protecting the privacy of the personal information that we hold. This is part of our:

(a) Legal obligations under the Privacy Act 1988
(b) Ethical and business obligations
(c) Service to you

Harwood Andrews places high priority on effectively dealing with any complaints concerning privacy that you may have.

Overriding principles
At all times the conduct under this policy will be governed by the following principles:

(a) All complaints will be treated seriously
(b) All complaints will be dealt with promptly
(c) All complaints will be dealt with in a confidential manner
(d) The privacy complaint will not affect your existing obligations or the commercial arrangements that exist between this organisation and you.

Who may complain under this policy?
If you have provided us with personal information you have a right to make a complaint, have it investigated and dealt with under this policy.

What is a privacy complaint?
A privacy complaint relates to any concern or dispute that you have with our privacy practices as it relates to your personal information. This could include matters such as:

(a) How personal information is collected
(b) How personal information is stored
(c) How this information is used or disclosed
(d) How access is provided.

What to do if you have a complaint about privacy practices?
Harwood Andrews endeavours to resolve grievances at the local level if possible.

All complaints will be recorded in a complaints register.

Your complaint should be in writing. Usually the person you have regular contact with in the organisation will be the proper person to discuss or resolve your complaint. Otherwise you can contact the Privacy officer.

Grievance procedure
The goal of this policy is to achieve an effective resolution of your complaint within a reasonable timeframe. Once the complaint has been made, the point of contact can then resolve the matter in a number of ways:

1. Request further information and investigation: Your initial contact may request further information from you. You should be prepared to give as many details as possible including details of any relevant dates and documentation. This will enable the contact to investigate the complaint and determine an appropriate and useful solution. All details provided will be kept confidential.

2. Discuss options: We will discuss options for resolution and if you have suggestions about how the matter might be resolved you should discuss these with your contact. The contact could also suggest other solutions or give examples of how the personal information can be revised or stored in a different way.

3. Refer to Managing Director: If your complaint is not resolved at the level at which you raise it, it will be referred to the managing director. The managing director would be provided with the history and may discuss the complaint with the employees, or other parties that are involved.

4. Resolution: You will be informed of the outcome and the reasons for the decision. If this does not resolve the complaint, the matter will be referred to a mutually agreed intermediary.

5. If after the above steps have been followed you are still dissatisfied with the outcome you may refer the complaint to the Federal Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

Records
The organisation will keep a record of your complaint and the outcome.

Anonymous complaints
Harwood Andrews is unable to deal with anonymous complaints as we are unable to investigate properly and follow-up such complaints.

However, in the event that an anonymous complaint is received Harwood Andrews will note the issues raised and try and address them appropriately.

Information
For any further information about this policy please contact our office.

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