We are committed to collecting, using and disclosing personal information responsibly and only to the extent necessary for the legal advice and services we provide. This document describes our privacy policies.
What is personal information?
Personal information is information about an identifiable individual. Personal information includes information that relates to their personal characteristics (e.g., gender, age, income, home address or phone number, ethnic background, family status), their health (e.g., health history, health conditions, health services received by them) or their activities and views (e.g., religion, politics, opinions expressed by an individual, an opinion or evaluation of an individual). Personal information is to be contrasted with business information (e.g., an individual’s business address and telephone number), which is not protected by privacy legislation.
The collection, use & disclosure of personal information
We only collect, use and disclose personal information to serve our clients. The primary purpose for collecting personal information is to provide legal advice and services. Where our client is an individual, we collect information about the client’s legal issue including anything the client might have done or said that might affect their legal situation, so that we can advise the client as to their legal rights and responsibilities, their options for addressing the issue and then to carry out their instructions.
Wherever possible we collect your personal information directly from you at the start of a retainer and in the course of our representation. At times we may obtain information about you from other sources (e.g., from your insurance company and/or their affiliates; a government agency or registry; files of consumer reporting agencies; your accountant; your employer, past and present; other lawyers and law firms or medical professionals.
FCL may disclose personal information to organizations that perform services on behalf of the firm. Personal information will only be provided to such organizations if they agree to use such information solely for the purposes of providing services to FCL and under the instruction of FCL and, with respect to that information, to act in a manner consistent with the relevant principles articulated in this policy.
Please note that there are circumstances where the use and/or disclosure of personal information may be justified or permitted or where FCL is obliged to disclose information without consent. Such circumstances may include:
- Where required by law or by order or requirement of a court;
- When the legal services we are providing to you requires us to give your information to third parties (i.e. during examinations for discovery) your consent will be implied, unless you tell us otherwise;
- When we engage expert witnesses on your behalf;
- When we engage other law firms on your behalf;
- Where it is necessary to establish or collect monies owing to FCL;
- Where the information is public.
Where obliged or permitted to disclose information without consent, FCL will not disclose more information than is required.
Retention and destruction of personal information
FCL keeps personal information only as long as it is required for the reasons it was collected. The length of time we retain information varies, but it will be only for as long as is necessary to have sufficient information to respond to any issues that may arise at a later date. When the personal information is no longer required for FCL’s purposes, we have procedures to destroy, delete, or convert it into an anonymous form.
FCL takes all reasonable precautions to adequately protect your personal information from loss and unauthorized access, modification or disclosure. Some of the steps taken to protect your information are:
- premises security;
- restricted file access to personal information;
- deploying technological safeguards like security software and firewalls to prevent hacking or unauthorized computer access;
- internal password and security policies.
If you apply to FCL for a job, we need to consider your personal information as part of our review process. We normally retain information from candidates after a decision has been made for a period of six months, unless you ask us not to retain the information. If we offer you a job, which you accept, the information provided by you will be retained in accordance with our privacy procedures for employee records.