BARK & CO SOLICITORS LTD
COMPLAINTS HANDLING POLICY
We are committed to providing a high-quality service to all our clients. When something goes wrong, we need you to tell us about it. This will help us to improve our standards and ensure that we provide you with the service to which you are entitled.
Who to contact
If you are unhappy with any aspect of the service which you have received or the costs which you have been charged it is often best to raise your concerns immediately with the Director responsible for the work. You were supplied with their contact details when you first instructed us.
However we understand that you may wish your concerns to be more formally investigated or you are unhappy with any response you have already received.
If you want your complaint to be formally investigated, please write to Giles Bark-Jones.
What will happen next?
We will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint letter within three days of receiving it, enclosing a copy of this procedure.
Responsibility for investigating your complaint will be assigned to the member of the firm best placed to carry out the investigation. He/she will normally review the file and speak to those who carried out the work.
If appropriate you may be invited to a meeting to discuss, and hopefully resolve, your complaint. If we propose a meeting you will be contacted within 14 days of the sending of the acknowledgement letter.
If a meeting takes place we will write to you within 3 days after it takes place confirming what took place and setting out any solutions which were agreed with you.
If a meeting is not possible, or you do not want to meet, we will send you a detailed written reply to your complaint setting out any suggestions for resolving the matter. We would normally expect to send this reply within 21 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter. If we are not able to send you a full reply within that period we will update you and tell you when we expect to be able to write to you again.
At this stage, if you are still not satisfied you should contact us again and we will arrange for someone unconnected with this matter to carry out a further review. This further review will normally be conducted by another senior member of the firm.
We will write to you within 21 days of receiving your request for a review confirming our final decision on your complaint and explaining our reasons
You may have a right to refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. You cannot normally refer a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman unless 8 weeks have passed since your complaint to us, but you may do so earlier if we have notified you of our final decision and you remain dissatisfied. The Legal Ombudsman can be contacted via their website www.legalombudsman.org.uk, or by telephone 0300 555 0333 or write to: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6167, Slough, SL1 0EH.
Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint or within one year of the act or omission about which you are complaining occurring (or if outside of this period, within one year of when you should reasonably have been aware of it).
You may have a right to refer your complaint to the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA). The Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) can be contacted via their website www.sra.org.uk or by telephone 0370 606 2555 or write to: Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RN.
Bark & Co Solicitors Ltd
This privacy notice contains information about how Bark & co Solicitors Ltd collects, stores and otherwise processes information about you and the reasons for that processing.
It also tells you who we share this information with, the security mechanisms we have put in place to protect your data and how to contact us in the event you need further information.
How do we collect Information?
When carrying out our business we may collect some or all of the following personal information:
1) Personal details
2) Family details
3) Lifestyle and social circumstances
4) Goods and services
5) Financial details
6) Education, training and employment details
7) Physical or mental health details
8) Racial or ethnic origin
9) Political opinions
10) Religious, philosophical or other beliefs
11) Trade union membership
12) Sex life or sexual orientation
13) Genetic data
14) Biometric data for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person
15) Criminal proceedings, outcomes and sentences, and related security measures
16) Other personal data relevant to instructions to provide legal services, including data 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 other legal professionals or experts, members of the public, your family and friends, witnesses, courts and other tribunals, investigators, government departments, regulators, and public records and registers.
How we use your personal information: Purposes
We may use your personal information for the following purposes:
- a) To provide legal services, including the provision of legal advice and representation in courts, tribunals, arbitrations, and mediations;
b) To keep accounting records and carry out office administration;
c) To take or defend legal or regulatory proceedings or to exercise a lien;
d) To respond to potential complaints or make complaints;
e) To check for potential conflicts of interest in relation to future potential cases;
f) To promote and market our services, but where this is done you will be anonymised where appropriate;
g) To carry out anti-money laundering and terrorist financing checks;
h) To respond to requests for references;
i) To publish legal judgments and decisions of courts and tribunals;
j) As required or permitted by law.
k) As required under the Legal Aid contract and applicable regulations.
Whether information has to be provided by you, and why
If we have been instructed by you on a case, your personal information has to be provided, to enable us to provide you with advice or representation, and to enable us to comply with our professional obligations, legal obligations and to keep accounting records.
The legal basis for processing your personal information
We rely on the following as the lawful bases on which we collect and use your personal information:-If you have consented to the processing of your personal information, then we may process your information for the Purposes set out above to the extent to which you have consented to us doing so.
-If you are a client, processing is necessary for the performance of a contract for legal services or in order to take steps at your request prior to entering into a contract.
-In relation to information which is in categories (7) to (15) above (these being categories which are considered to include particularly sensitive information and which include information about criminal convictions or proceedings) we rely on your consent for any processing for the purposes set out in purposes (b), (d), (f), (h) and (k) above. We need your consent to carry out processing of this data for these purposes. However, if you do not consent to processing for purposes (d) and (h) (responding to potential complaints and providing a reference) we will be unable to take your case. This is because we need to be able to retain all the material about your case until there is no prospect of a complaint and to provide an informed and complete reference.
-In relation to information in categories (7) to (15) above (these being categories which are considered to be particularly sensitive information and include information about criminal convictions or proceedings), we are entitled by law to process the information where the processing is necessary for legal proceedings, legal advice, or otherwise for establishing, exercising or defending legal rights
-In relation to information which is not in categories (7) to (15) above, we rely on our legitimate interest and/or the legitimate interests of a third party in carrying out the processing for the Purposes set out above
-In certain circumstances processing may be necessary in order that we can comply with a legal obligation to which we are subject (including carrying out anti-money laundering or terrorist financing checks)
-The processing is necessary to publish judgments or other decisions of courts or tribunals.
Who will we share your personal information with?
If you are a client, some of the information you provide will be protected by Legal Professional Privilege unless and until the information becomes public in the course of any proceedings or otherwise. As solicitors, we have an obligation to keep your information confidential, except where it otherwise becomes public or is disclosed as part of the case or proceedings.
It may be necessary to share your information with the following:
-data processors, such as IT support staff, email providers, data storage providers;
-other legal professionals
-experts and other witnesses
-courts and tribunals
-the staff at Bark & co Solicitors Ltd;
-trainee solicitors and paralegals;
-family and associates of the person whose personal information we are processing;
-other members of Bark & co Solicitors Ltd in order to discuss your case;
-in the event of complaints, the principal, other members of Bark & co Solicitors Ltd who deal with complaints, the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and the Legal Ombudsman;
-other regulatory authorities;
-current, past or prospective employers;
-education and examining bodies;
-business associates, professional advisers and trade bodies, e.g. the Law Society;
-the intended recipient, where you have asked Bark & co Solicitors Ltd to provide a reference.
-the general public in relation to the publication of legal judgments and decisions of courts and tribunals.
We may be required to provide your information to regulators, such as the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Financial Conduct Authority or the Information Commissioner’s Office. 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 our consent or yours, which includes privileged information.
We may also be required to disclose your information to the police or intelligence services, where required or permitted by law.
The personal information we obtain may include information which has been obtained from:
-other legal professionals
-experts and other witnesses
-courts and tribunals-
-trainee solicitors or paralegals
-family and associates of the person whose personal information we are processing
-in the event of complaints, the Head of Chambers, other members of Chambers who deal with complaints, the Bar Standards Board, and the Legal Ombudsman
-other regulatory authorities
-current, past or prospective employers
-education and examining bodies
-business associates, professional advisers and trade bodies, e.g. the Law Society
-the intended recipient, where you have asked me to provide a reference.
-the general public in relation to the publication of legal judgments and decisions of courts and tribunals
-data processors, such as IT support staff, email providers, data storage providers
-public sources, such as the press, public registers and law reports.
-Cloud data storage services based in the USA who have agreed to comply with the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, in order to enable storage of your data and/or backup copies of your data so that it can be accessed when required. The USA does not have the same data protection laws as the EU but the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield has been recognised by the European Commission as providing adequate protection. To obtain further details of that protection see https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/law-topic/data-protection/data-transfers-outside-eu/eu-us-privacy-shield_en.
If you would like any further information, please use the contact details at the end of this document.
How long will Bark & co Solicitors Ltd store your personal data?
We will normally store all your information:
-Until at least 1 year after the expiry of any relevant limitation period (which will usually be 6 years, but may be 12 years, or longer where the case includes information relating to a minor), from the date of the last item of work carried out, the date of the last payment received or the date on which all outstanding payments are written off, whichever is the latest. At this point any further retention will be reviewed and the data will be marked for deletion or marked for retention for a further period. The latter retention period is likely to occur only where the information is likely to be needed for legal proceedings, regulatory matters or active complaints. Deletion will be carried out (without further notice to you) as soon as reasonably practicable after the data is marked for deletion
-Circumstances in which data is likely to be retained beyond 1 year after the expiry of the relevant limitation period include where a lengthy sentence has been imposed and an appeal against sentence or conviction, or a complaint, remain possible. In such a case your information will be retained until such an appeal or complaint is no longer a realistic possibility
-We will store some of your information for which we need to carry out conflict checks permanently. However, this is likely to be limited to your name and contact details or the name of the case. This will not include any information within categories (7) to (15) above
-Information related to anti-money laundering checks will be retained until five years after the completion of the transaction or the end of the business relationship, whichever is the later;
-Names and contact details held for marketing purposes will be stored indefinitely or until we become aware or are informed that the individual has ceased to be a potential client.
As explained above, we are relying on your explicit consent to process your information in categories (7) to (15) above. You provided this consent when you agreed to instruct Bark & co Solicitors Ltd.
You have the right to withdraw this consent at any time, but this will not affect the lawfulness of any processing activity we have carried out prior to you withdrawing your consent. However, where we also rely on other bases for processing your information, you may not be able to prevent processing of your data. For example, if you have asked a barrister to work for you and the barrister has spent time on your case, you may owe money which we would be entitled to claim. The withdrawal of your consent will also not affect the lawful retention of your information for the purposes of a potential complaint or appeal, in accordance with our retention policy.
If there is an issue with the processing of your information, please contact Bark & co Solicitors Ltd using the contact details below.
Under the GDPR, you have a number of rights that you can exercise in certain circumstances. These are free of charge. In summary, you may have the right to:
-Ask for access to your personal information and other supplementary information;
-Ask for correction of mistakes in your data or to complete missing information held on you;
-Ask for your personal information to be erased, in certain circumstances;
-Receive a copy of the personal information you have provided to us 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;
-Object at any time to processing of your personal information for direct marketing;
-Object in certain other situations to the continued processing of your personal information;
-Restrict processing of your personal information in certain circumstances;
-Request not to be the subject to automated decision-making which produces legal effects that concern you or affects you in a significant way.
If you want more information about your rights under the GDPR please see the Guidance from the Information Commissioners Office on Individual’s rights under the GDPR.
If you want to exercise any of these rights, please:
-Use the contact details at the end of this document;
-Provide sufficient information so that you can be identified;
-Provide a contact address so that you can be contacted to request further information to verify your identity;
-Provide proof of your identity and address;
-State the right or rights that you wish to exercise.
We will respond to you within one month from when we receive your request.
How to make a complaint?
The GDPR also gives you the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioners’ Office if you are in the UK, or with the supervisory authority of the Member State where you work, normally live or where the alleged infringement of data protection laws occurred. The Information Commissioner’s Office can be contacted at http://ico.org.uk/concerns/.
Bark & co Solicitors Ltd does not intend to process your personal information except for the reasons stated within this privacy notice. If this changes, this privacy notice will be amended and placed on the website.
Who To Contact?
Philip Niznik of this firm is the Data Protection Officer (DPO) and to whom queries should be directed.
Changes to this privacy notice
This privacy notice was last updated on 21.02.2019.
We continually review our privacy practices and may change this policy from time to time. When we do it will be placed on the website.