Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

Please read the following information carefully. This privacy notice contains information about the information collected, stored and otherwise processed about you and the reasons for the processing. It also tells you who Forte Independent Solicitors and it’s Members shares this information with, the security mechanisms they have put in place to protect your information and how to contact us in the event you need further information.

We will always protect, respect and safeguard your personal information and your privacy whilst also ensuring any other partners with whom we share your data with also abide by our high operating standards.

For the purpose of the General Data Protection Regulations, the data controller is FIS (Birmingham) Limited, 85 – 87 Cornwall Street, Birmingham, B3 3BY. We are registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office under registration number 12346163.

Who Are We?

Forte Independent Solicitors (“FIS”) is an association of freelance, independent and sole practitioner Solicitors.  Each member of FIS is authorised and regulated as a Solicitor by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (“SRA”).  FIS is not a regulated body.  Each member of FIS is self-employed and practices independently in his/her own name.  Members are not in partnership with each other and each member is engaged and paid directly by his/her clients

Both FIS and its Members collects, uses and are responsible for the personal information about you. When FIS and its Members do this is, they are “controllers” of this information for the purposes of the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018.

If you need to contact FIS or its Members about your information or the processing carried out you can use the contact details at the end of this Privacy Notice.

How Does FIS Collect And Process Your Information?

FIS collects some or all of the following personal information that you provide:

a.       Personal details (Name, address, telephone number etc)

b.       Family details

c.       Lifestyle and social circumstances

d.       Driving license and/or passport information

e.       Bank details and payment information

f.        Good and services

g.       Financial details

h.       Education, training and employment details

i.         Physical or mental health details

j.         Racial or ethnic origin

k.       Political opinions

l.         Religious, philosophical or other beliefs

m.     Trade union membership

n.       Sex life or sexual orientation

o.       Genetic information

p.       Biometric information for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person

q.       Criminal proceedings, outcomes and sentences, or related security measures

r.        Other personal information relevant to instructions to provide legal services, including information specific to the instructions in question.

Information Collected From Other Sources

The same categories of information may also be obtained from third parties, such as members of FIS, experts, members of the public, your family and friends, witnesses, courts and tribunals, suppliers of goods and services, investigators, government departments, regulators, public records and registers.

How FIS and it’s Members use your Personal Information: Purposes

FIS and it’s Members may use your personal information for the following purposes:

a.       To promote and market the services of freelance solicitors or other independent practitioners.

b.       To train freelance solicitors or other independent practitioners.

c.       To recruit staff and members.

d.       To assess applications for work-shadowing opportunities

e.       To fulfil equality and diversity and other regulatory requirements

f.        To procure goods and services

g.       To manage matters relating to employment, including payroll and pensions

h.       To respond to requests for references

i.         To publish legal judgments and decisions of courts and tribunals

j.         To respond to potential complaints or make complaints

k.       To carry out anti-money laundering and terrorist financing checks

l.         As otherwise required or permitted by law.

Marketing And Promotion

In relation to personal information collected for marketing purposes, the personal information consists of:

a.       Names, contact details and name of organisation

b.       The nature of your interest in FIS’ or its Members’ marketing

c.       Your attendance at events.

This will be processed so that you can be provided with information about FIS and the Members and to invite you to events. You may contact FIS using the contact details at the end of this document if you no longer wish to receive such invitations or information. You may also unsubscribe or update your marketing preferences by clicking the “unsubscribe” link in all marketing materials we send you by email.

Whether Information Has To Be Provided By You, And Why

If you apply for a position at FIS your personal information has to be provided to FIS so that your application/reference can be processed and properly assessed. It also allows employment records, pay and pensions to be processed and also to enable FIS to comply with its regulatory obligation to keep accounting records.

If you are offering or providing FIS with goods and services your information may be processed in relation to such offers or contracts.

The Legal Basis For Processing Your Personal Information

Under GDPR guidelines FIS have an obligation to clearly explain how we operate, what processes we follow and also on what authority we process your personal information. Operating under instructions directly from yourself, or under the referral from a solicitor, we would generally have a “contractual” basis for lawfully processing your personal information.

This may on occasions not be the appropriate lawful basis for processing, such as when we are instructed to process your personal information on behalf of a legal authority.

When instructed to do so, we may also be processing on “Legal Obligation” and there may also be occasions whereby we may process your personal information under “Legitimate Interests”.

Any marketing campaigns we complete would usually operate and send marketing information under the terms of “Legitimate Interest” whereby the client has previously instructed our Members within the last three years. If this is not the case then we would be operating using “Consent” and this can be freely withdrawn at any time using the “Unsubscribe” link in our emails.

Consent can also be withdrawn at any time either from legitimate consent or explicit consent via telephone, post or email and we never collect any automated opt-in customer databases.

Further Information On The Legal Basis For Processing

FIS relies on the following lawful basis for the collecting and processing of your personal information:

a.       In relation to information in categories (i) to (q) above (these being categories which are considered to include particularly sensitive information and which may include information about criminal convictions or proceedings) FIS are entitled by law to process the information where the processing is necessary for legal proceedings, legal advice, or otherwise for the establishment, exercise or the defence of legal rights.

b.       In relation to information which is not in categories (i) to (q) above FIS relies on its’ legitimate interests and/or the legitimate interests of a third party in carrying out the processing for the purposes set out above.

c.       The processing is necessary for the assessment of your working capacity or health, safety or social care purposes.

d.       The processing is necessary for the prevention or detection of unlawful acts where it is in the substantial public interest which must be carried out without consent so as not to prejudice the purpose.

e.       In certain circumstances processing may be necessary in order for FIS to comply with a legal obligation to which it is subject (including carrying out money-laundering or terrorist financing checks).

f.        The processing is necessary for the purpose of performing or exercising obligations or rights which are imposed or conferred by law on FIS or on you in connection with employment, social security or social protection.

g.       The processing of information in categories (i), (j), (l) and (n) is necessary for the purposes of identifying or keeping under review the existence or absence of equality of opportunity or treatment between members of staff, tenants, pupils and mini-pupils with a view to enabling such equality to be promoted or maintained.

Who Will FIS Share Your Personal Information With?

It may be necessary to share your information with the following:

a.       Information processors, such as IT support staff, email providers, information storage providers

b.       In the event of complaints the Solicitors Regulatory Authority and the Legal Ombudsman

c.       Other regulatory authorities

d.       Current, past or prospective employers or employees

e.       In the case of recruitment of members to or from other freelance solicitor entities, your current, past and prospective freelance solicitor entity.

f.        Education and examining bodies

g.       Legal professions

h.       Experts and other witnesses

i.         Prosecution authorities

j.         Courts and Tribunals

k.       FIS (Birmingham) Limited’s staff

l.         Lay and professional clients of Members of FIS

m.     Family and associates of the person whose personal information FIS is processing

n.       Current, past or prospective employers

o.       Business associates, professional advisers and trade bodies, e.g. The Law Society

p.       The intended recipient, where you have asked FIS to provide a reference

q.       The general public in relation to the publication of legal judgments and decisions of Courts and Tribunals.

FIS may be required to provide your information to regulators such as the Solicitors Regulatory Authority, the Financial Conduct Authority or the Information Commissioner’s Officer. In the case of the Information Commissioner’s Office, there is a risk that your information may lawfully be disclosed by them for the purpose of any other civil or criminal proceedings, without FIS’ consent or your consent, which includes privileged information. FIS may also be required to disclose your information to the police or intelligence services, where required or permitted by law.

Sources Of Information

The personal information FIS obtains may include information obtained from:

a.       Legal professions

b.       Experts and other witnesses

c.       Prosecution authorities

d.       Courts and Tribunals

e.       Lay and professional clients of Members of FIS

f.        Family and associates of the person whose information FIS is processing

g.       In the event of complaints, the Directors, the Solicitors Regulatory Authority and the Legal Ombudsman

h.       Other regulatory authorities

i.         Current, past or prospective employers

j.         Education and examining bodies

k.       Business associates, professional advisers and trade bodies, e.g The Law Society

l.         The intended recipient, where you have asked FIS to provide a reference

m.     The general public in relation to the publication of legal judgments and decisions of Courts and Tribunals

n.       Data processors, such as IT support staff, email providers, data storage providers

o.       Public sources, such as the press, public registers and law reports.

Transfer Of Your Information Outside The European Economic Area (“EEA”)

The privacy notice is of general application and as such it is not possible to state whether it will be necessary to transfer your information out of the EEA in any particular case or for a reference. However, if you reside outside the EEA or your case or the role for which you require a reference involves persons or organisations or Courts and Tribunals outside the EEA then it may be necessary to transfer some of your information to that country outside of the EEA for that purpose. If you are in the country outside the EEA or if the instructions you provide come from outside the EEA then it is inevitable that information will be transferred to those countries. If this applies to you and you wish additional precautions to be taken in respect of your information then please indicate this when providing initial instructions.

Some countries and organisation outside the EAA have been assessed by the European Commission and their information protection laws and procedures found to show adequate protection. Most do not though. If your information has to be transferred outside the EEA then it may not have the same protections and you may not have the same rights as you would within the EEA.

FIS may transfer your personal information to the following which may be located outside the EEA:

a.       Cloud information storage services based in the USA who have agreed to comply with the EU-US Privacy Shield, in order to enable us to store your information and/or backup copies of your information so that FIS may access your information when we need to. The UA does not have the same information protection laws as the EU but the EU-US Privacy Shield has been recognised by the European Commission as providing adequate protection.

b.       Cloud information storage services based in Switzerland, in order to enable us to store your information and/or backup copies of your information so that we may access your information when we need to. Switzerland does not have the same information protection laws as the EU but has been recognised by the European Commission as providing adequate protection.

How Long Will FIS Store Your Personal Information

Each of our Member’s policies state that clients’ data shall be held for 6 years after the completion date of the contract.

Retention policies for other types of personal data are also specified in our Retention Policy which can be provided upon request.

Consent

As explained above, FIS is relying on your explicit consent to process your information in categories (g) to (o) above. You provided this consent when you applied to become a member of staff, member, or applied to complete work-experience or when you asked FIS to provide a reference.

You have the right to withdraw this consent at any time but this will not affect the lawfulness of any processing activity carried out prior to you withdrawing your consent. However, where FIS also relies on the other bases for processing your information, you may not be able to prevent processing of your information.

If there is an issue with the processing of your information please contact FIS using the contact details below.

Your Rights

Under the GDPR you have a number of rights that you can exercise in certain circumstances. These are free of charge and in summary you may have the right to:

a.       Ask for access to your personal information and other supplementary information

b.       Ask for correction of mistakes in your information or to complete missing information FIS holds on you

c.       Ask for your personal information to be erased, in certain circumstances

d.       Receive a copy of the personal information you have provided to me or have this information sent to a third party. This will be provided to you or the third party in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format, e.g a word file

e.       Object at any time to processing of your personal information for direct marketing

f.        Restrict the processing of your personal information in certain circumstances

If you want more information about your rights under the GDPR please see the guidance on the Information Commissioner’s Website.

If you want to exercise any of these rights you may do so by contacting FIS using the contact details at the end of this privacy notice. FIS may need to ask you to provide other information so that you can be identified so please provide a contact address so that we can contact you should we need to. You will be asked to provide proof of your identity and address.

FIS will respond within one month from when we receive your request.

Marketing emails

If you wish to unsubscribe from any marketing emails that you have signed up for then you can do so by following the instructions at the bottom of any marketing email.

Automated Decision-Making

FIS does not use any automated decision-making tools.

Future Processing

FIS will not process your personal information except for the reasons stated within any agreement with you. If there is a change of requirement for this process then you will be requested to allow and authorise this change.

Changes To The Privacy Notice

This privacy notice was published on 1 June 2020 and last updated on 1 June 2020.

FIS continually reviews its privacy practices and may change this policy from time to time. When it does an amended privacy notice will be placed on our website.

Contact

If you have any questions about this privacy notice or the information FIS holds about you then please contact our Data Protection Manager using the contact details below.

 

Data Protection Manager – Mr James Farmer

Forte Independent Solicitors

85 – 87 Cornwall Street

Birmingham

B3 3BY

 

Tel: 0121 403 3945

Email: j.farmer@forteis.co.uk