We are committed to complying with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act) in relation to all personal information we collect. This commitment is demonstrated in this policy. The Privacy Act incorporates the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs). The APPs set out the way in which personal information must be treated.
This policy applies to any person for whom we currently hold, or may in the future collect, personal information.
This policy does not apply to acts and practices that relate directly to the employee records of our current and former employees.
In broad terms, ‘personal information’ is information or opinions relating to a particular identifiable individual.
Information or opinions are not personal information where they cannot be linked to a particular individual.
HOW DO WE MANAGE THE PERSONAL INFORMATION WE COLLECT?
We manage the personal information we collect by:
(a) providing team members with training on privacy issues;
(b) implementing procedures such as providing privacy statements when dealing with a client’s personal information;
(c) regularly reviewing our privacy compliance;
(d) implementing security measures to keep the personal information we collect safe, including using unique usernames and passwords on systems that can access personal information and security cards to access on-site information; and
(e) appointing a designated privacy officer to monitor privacy compliance and be a contact for any privacy complaints and access or correction requests.
In limited circumstances, it may be possible for an individual to use a pseudonym or remain anonymous when dealing with us. If an individual wishes to use a pseudonym or remain anonymous they should notify us when making first enquiries or providing initial instructions. We will use our best endeavours to deal with the individual as requested, subject to our professional obligations and ability to perform the legal or other service without using the individual’s name. In most cases, our professional obligations will require the individual to deal with us using their real name.
We must comply with our professional obligations (including confidentiality obligations) in dealing with an individual’s personal information at all times.
WHAT KINDS OF PERSONAL INFORMATION DO WE COLLECT AND HOLD?
We are a full-service commercial law firm and hold different information depending on the legal and other services provided to clients or, in the case of prospective employees, the information needed to assess future employment with us. Generally, the types of information that we may collect and hold include:
(a) contact information (such as name, address and phone number);
(b) financial information;
(c) business circumstances;
(d) family circumstances;
(e) information about assets and investments;
(f) employment history;
(h) date and place of birth;
(i) insurance information;
(j) banking information;
(k) credit information;
(l) credit card details;
(m) expertise and interests;
(n) tax file numbers;
(o) driver’s licence and other photographic information;
(p) video or photographic footage given by clients to us for legal advice;
(q) information otherwise required by law; and
(r) any other personal information required to perform the legal or other service to the individual.
Where possible, we will only collect the personal information required to provide the legal or other service to the individual, or as required by our professional obligations.
WHAT SENSITIVE INFORMATION DO WE COLLECT AND HOLD?
‘Sensitive information’ is a subset of personal information and includes personal information that could have serious ramifications for the individual concerned if used inappropriately.
The sensitive information that we collect and hold about an individual will include any information necessary to provide legal and other services to the individual. This may include:
(a) health information;
(b) racial or ethnic origins;
(c) political opinions and membership of political associations;
(d) religious beliefs or affiliations;
(e) philosophical beliefs;
(f) membership of professional or trade associations or unions;
(g) sexual preferences or practices;
(h) criminal records;
(i) genetic information;
(j) any sensitive information required to be disclosed by law; and
(k) any other sensitive information required to perform the legal or other service to the individual.
We will not collect sensitive information without the individual’s consent to which the information relates unless permitted under the Privacy Act.
HOW AND WHEN DO WE COLLECT PERSONAL INFORMATION?
Where reasonable and practicable, we will collect personal information directly from the individual to whom the personal information relates.
However, we have a large referral network and also collect personal information from numerous other sources. It is not possible to provide an exhaustive list of these sources, but they may include:
(a) professional advisors or agents for individuals who we act for;
(b) friends, family members and associates of the individual;
(c) banks and financial institutions;
(d) government bodies;
(e) CGW Structures, our affiliate;
(f) insurance companies;
(g) businesses about their employees, contractors, customers or suppliers;
(h) barristers and other solicitors;
(i) feedback surveys; and
(j) from paid search providers.
HOW DO WE HOLD PERSONAL INFORMATION?
We hold personal information:
(i) on our premises; and
(ii) by third party physical storage providers located in Brisbane.
(i) through internal servers and websites and a private cloud;
(ii) on electronic storage devices, including DVD and USB;
(iii) by a third party data storage provider in Australia;
(iv) by an off-site data replication provider in Australia; and
(v) by Microsoft with our mailboxes stored ‘at rest’ within Australia.
We will take all reasonable steps to ensure that all personal information we hold is secure from any unauthorised access, misuse or disclosure. However, we do not guarantee that personal information cannot be accessed by an unauthorised person (e.g. a hacker) or that unauthorised disclosures will not occur.
Some of the methods we use to store and secure information include:
(a) using security cards to access areas that contain personal information;
(b) having designated areas to meet with clients and non-CGW employees that do not contain personal information;
(c) using security cards to access printers;
(d) using unique usernames, passwords and other protections on systems that can access personal information;
(e) using our document retention system (locked storage area with only authorised access) for important documents such as Wills and other original documents; and
(f) using lockable compactuses for storing more sensitive information, other important documents or financial records.
WHY DO WE COLLECT, HOLD, USE OR DISCLOSE PERSONAL INFORMATION?
We take reasonable steps to use and disclose personal information for the primary purpose for which it is collected. The primary purpose for which information is collected varies, depending on the particular service being provided, but is generally to provide legal advice and other services to an individual or their business.
In the case of potential employees, the primary purpose the information is collected is to assess the individual’s suitability for a position with us.
Personal information may also be used or disclosed by us for secondary purposes that are within the individual’s reasonable expectations and related to the primary purpose of collection.
For example, we may use personal information for the following secondary purposes:
(a) to accept disclosures from individuals via our external whistleblower service;
(b) to add an individual’s details to our legal alerts list, to inform the individual of updates and changes to the law that may affect them and to invite them to legal events relevant to their industry (which can be unsubscribed from at any time);
(c) to comply with our professional obligations; or
(d) to provide a referral.
We may disclose personal information:
(a) to other service providers or referral partners, in order to provide the legal or other service to the individual (for example, other solicitors, barristers, experts, accountants, insurers etc. as the context of the legal service requires);
(b) to government bodies (such as ASIC or the ATO);
(c) to paid search providers;
(d) with the consent of the individual to whom the information relates;
(e) to CGW Structures, our affiliate; or
(f) to third party contractors where we or our affiliates contract out any financial, administrative, information technology or other services, including independent market research that enables us to improve our service to our clients.
Otherwise, we will only disclose personal information to third parties with the relevant individual’s consent or if the disclosure is permitted by the Privacy Act.
DO WE DISCLOSE INFORMATION OVERSEAS?
We generally do not disclose your personal information to overseas recipients otherwise than in accordance with your instructions. In some cases we may indirectly disclose personal information overseas through our service providers. For example, we disclose personal information with Hubspot, which has data centres located in the United States.
Where we disclose your personal information to parties located overseas (or which have data centres located in other countries), we take reasonable steps to ensure that those parties will handle the personal information in accordance with the Australian Privacy Principles. We are not required to take such steps if we believe that the overseas recipient is already subject to a law that has the effect of protecting personal information in a substantially similar way to the relevant law in Australia, or with your consent.
HOW DO WE MANAGE YOUR CREDIT INFORMATION?
We do not use an individual’s personal information to assess their credit eligibility. However, during the course of providing the legal service to the individual, we may collect credit information that is necessary to provide them with the legal service.
What kinds of credit information may we collect?
The main kind of credit information we collect is an individual’s identification information.
However, in the course of providing legal or other services, we may be given (and subsequently hold) the following other kinds of credit information:
(a) information about any credit that has been provided to you;
(b) your repayment history;
(c) information about your overdue payments;
(d) if terms and conditions of your credit arrangements are varied;
(e) if any court proceedings are initiated against you in relation to your credit activities;
(f) information about any bankruptcy or debt agreements involving you;
(g) any publicly available information about your credit worthiness; and
(h) any information about you where you may have fraudulently or otherwise committed a serious credit infringement.
We do not collect your credit information from credit reporting bodies unless it is necessary to provide you with the legal service or you have expressly asked us to.
We may collect personal information that may affect your credit worthiness from other credit providers, who have collected that information from a credit reporting body. The kinds of personal information we collect may include any of those kinds of personal information outlined in the ‘What kinds of personal information do we collect and hold’ section of this policy.
How and when do we collect credit information?
In most cases, we will only collect credit information about you if you disclose it to us and it is relevant in providing you with the legal service.
Other sources we may collect the credit information from include:
(a) banks and other credit providers;
(b) other individuals and entities via referrals;
(c) government bodies; and
(d) your suppliers and creditors.
However, in most cases you will be aware that this information is being collected as part of the legal service we are providing to you.
How do we store and hold the credit information?
We store and hold credit information in the same manner as outlined in the ‘How do we hold personal information’ section of this policy.
Why do we collect the credit information?
Our usual purpose for collecting, holding, using and disclosing credit information about you is to enable us to provide you with the legal service.
We may also collect credit information to process payments.
Overseas disclosure of the credit information
We will not disclose your credit information to overseas entities unless you expressly advise us to, apart from to the extent that it is necessary or desirable to make such a disclosure to obtain payment of money owed to us.
How can I access my credit information, correct errors or make a complaint?
You can access and correct your credit information, or complain about a breach of your privacy in the same manner as set out below.
HOW DO WE HANDLE DATA BREACHES?
A data breach occurs when personal information is lost or subjected to unauthorised access, use, modification or disclosure or other misuse or interference.
We have implemented a data breach response plan to assist us to effectively contain, evaluate and respond to data breaches in order to mitigate potential harm to any persons affected by a data breach.
In summary, our data breach response plan:
(a) directs our staff as to the steps they should take in the event of an actual or suspected data breach;
(b) appoints a team to handle data breaches;
(c) specifies a strategy for assessing and responding to data breaches;
(d) sets out the process for notifying any affected persons, the Privacy Commissioner and other relevant parties; and
(e) outlines the review process to help prevent data breaches in the future.
We will generally notify you if we reasonably believe that your personal information has been subjected to a data breach if:
(a) there is a risk of serious harm to you;
(b) notification could enable you to avoid or mitigate serious harm;
(c) the compromised personal information is sensitive or likely to cause humiliation or embarrassment to you; or
(d) we are required to notify you by law.
We will notify the Privacy Commissioner if we reasonably believe that your personal information has been subjected to a data breach that is likely to result in serious harm to you.
Where appropriate, we may also notify other third parties of a data breach.
HOW CAN YOU ACCESS AND CORRECT YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION?
It is important the information we hold about individuals is up to date. Individuals should contact us if their personal information changes.
Access to information and correcting personal information
Individuals may request access to the personal information we hold or ask for their personal information to be corrected.
We will grant an individual access to their personal information as soon as possible, subject to the request circumstances.
In keeping with our commitment to protect the privacy of personal information, we will not disclose personal information to an individual without proof of identity.
We may deny access to personal information if:
(a) the request is impractical or unreasonable;
(b) providing access would have an unreasonable impact on the privacy of another person;
(c) providing access would pose a serious and imminent threat to the life or health of any person;
(d) providing access would compromise our professional obligations; or
(e) there are other legal grounds to deny the request.
We may charge a fee for reasonable costs incurred in responding to an access request. The fee (if any) will be disclosed prior to it being levied.
If the personal information we hold is not accurate, complete and up to date, we will take reasonable steps to correct it so that it is accurate, complete and up-to-date, where it is appropriate to do so.
If a person wishes to complain about an alleged privacy breach, they must follow the following process:
(a) The complaint must be firstly made to us in writing, using the contact details in this section. We will have a reasonable time to respond to the complaint.
(b) In the unlikely event the privacy issue cannot be resolved, they may take their complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.
Whom to contact
A person may make a complaint or request to access or correct personal information about the person held by us. Such a request must be made in writing to the following address:
Contact person: Privacy Officer
Telephone number: +61 7 3231 2444
Email address: email@example.com
Postal address: GPO Box 834, Brisbane Qld 4001
CHANGES TO THE POLICY
This policy was last updated on 8 February 2022. If you have any comments on the policy, please contact our privacy officer on the contact details above.