At McInnes Wilson Lawyers we seek to provide the best possible legal service. To achieve this, we may need to collect personal information about yourself and the circumstances surrounding your legal matter.
It is important for us to ensure you are confident that any personal information you provide to us is treated in the appropriate manner and with the appropriate degree of privacy.
McInnes Wilson Lawyers offers expertise in all areas of law and the services we provide to you will dictate the types of personal information that may be necessary for us to collect.
What does "personal information" mean?
Personal information is any information about you that identifies you or by which your identity may be reasonably determined.
What personal information do we collect?
The types of information we collect, depending on the type of matter we are conducting for you, include:
- contact details (e.g. address, telephone number, email address);
- date of birth;
- insurance information (e.g. insurer, policy number);
- banking information (e.g. bank account number);
- information about your assets;
- identity documents such as drivers licence;
- employment history;
- family information (e.g. names of relatives, their relationship to you).
We may record anonymous information which tells us about visitors to our website but not the identity of those visitors. For example, we may collect information about the date, time and duration of those visits and which pages of our website are being commonly accessed. We may also use “cookies” that are small pieces of information that allow an organisation to track websites browsed by you. You may be able to adjust your browser to disable cookies. However, if you do disable cookies, you may not be able to interact with our website or take advantage of the improved functionality that cookies enable.
What does “sensitive information” mean?
Certain information which may be collected by McInnes Wilson Lawyers will be regarded as sensitive information. The disclosure of sensitive information can only be made by McInnes Wilson Lawyers with your direct consent, where it is required to establish or defend a legal claim, or where it is required by law to be disclosed. Some examples of sensitive information include:
- racial or ethnic origin;
- political opinions;
- membership of a political association;
- religious beliefs or affiliations;
- philosophical beliefs;
- membership of a professional or trade association;
- membership of a trade union;
- sexual orientation or practices;
- criminal record;
- health information.
How does McInnes Wilson Lawyers collect your personal information?
We will always collect your personal information directly from you where possible. Where we are unable to obtain personal information directly from you we will obtain your consent before information is obtained from another party.
Collection of your personal information may occur in a number of ways including:
- taking instructions from you (in person, by telephone or by electronic communication);
- contact with a financial institution, accountant, financial planner, medical provider, government department or any other person, on your behalf, and at your request, to obtain such information;
- you entering data into our website;
- from another party during the course of legal proceedings or a legal transaction.
It is possible that we may collect personal information about you from other sources without your direct knowledge. Examples of this may be where funds are transferred from your bank account into our trust account and your bank account details are advised to us.
How does McInnes Wilson Lawyers hold your personal information
We hold personal information:
- on our premises;
- with third party storage providers in Australia;
- on internal servers;
- with a third party data storage provider in Australia;
- where you utilise certain services from our MCW Online website (www.mcwonline.com.au), with a third party data storage provider in Ireland.
We access electronic data from internal and external servers by secure login/connection.
Our agreements with third party service providers contain obligations relating to confidentiality and security.
The purpose of collecting and using your personal information
We collect your personal information for purposes including:
- supplying to you the services which you have requested, including as applicable, the giving of legal advice, the conduct of a legal transaction, or the resolution of a dispute;
- conducting conflict of interest searches;
- organising safe custody of your documents;
- sending you statements and invoices and collecting payments from you;
- enabling your access to website services;
- providing you with legal news updates;
- conducting feedback surveys;
- sending to you marketing communications.
Who does McInnes Wilson Lawyers disclose your personal information to?
We may disclose your personal information to a person outside of McInnes Wilson Lawyers:
- where necessary in connection with the purpose for which it was collected; or
- if required by law; or
- if you consent to the disclosure; or
- otherwise as permitted by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).
Where possible, we will require you to specifically consent to any use or disclosure of your personal information. Your consent will usually be required in writing. However, where necessary, we may accept your verbal consent to disclose particular information in the conduct of your legal matter.
Your consent may also be implied from the particular legal matter we are dealing with on your behalf. For example, if we are undertaking conveyancing matters for you, commercial transactions or litigation, it is implicit that some of your personal information may need to be disclosed to other parties in the matter or to relevant government bodies.
Some examples of persons outside McInnes Wilson Lawyers to whom we may disclose your personal information are:
- government bodies (e.g. courts, ASIC, Centrelink, Medicare, WorkCover Queensland - for the purposes of lodging documents or applications, obtaining records or making claims);
- insurance companies (for the purposes of making or defending a claim);
- financiers (for the purposes of obtaining funds or discharging a mortgage);
- search providers (to obtain information about a property you are buying or selling);
- barristers (to obtain advice or representation in your matter);
- medical or other experts (to obtain a report in relation to your matter);
- your professional advisers (e.g. accountant - to assist us in giving full and proper advice to you);
- recipients of court documents on which you are named as a party, in the normal course of proceedings;
- contractors (who provide administrative or secretarial services to us).
The security of your personal information
McInnes Wilson Lawyers will take all reasonable precautions to safeguard personal information that is held by us, either on a physical file or on computer, from loss, misuse, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.
To ensure that your personal information is secure, McInnes Wilson Lawyers employs a number of means, including:
- external and internal premises security;
- the requirement for all employees to enter into a confidentiality agreement;
- computer firewall protection;
- up-to-date technology and computer maintenance to prevent unauthorised access;
- restricted access to personal files and information;
- document handling and shredding procedures with respect to personal information.
When McInnes Wilson Lawyers no longer requires your personal information and the retainer has been completed we will make an electronic copy of your file for retention and securely destroy the physical file. The information will be deleted from our main computer system after seven years if you request us to do so.
Accessing your personal information
At any time you may give notice to McInnes Wilson Lawyers that you wish to access your personal information that we hold.
In order that this information is made available to you notice is required so that we may have the documentation ready for your inspection. Where the information is held in safe custody or offsite, McInnes Wilson Lawyers reserves the right to charge a fee to cover the cost of retrieval and supply of the information to you.
We will endeavour to handle all requests for access to personal information as quickly as possible and provide that information to you within seven days of receipt of that request. However, some requests may take longer to process because of the volume of documents and information held by us.
You may only access your own personal information. Any personal information held on your file, in respect of any other person, will not be disclosed to you.
McInnes Wilson Lawyers retains the right to deny access to personal information where the information may relate to existing or anticipated legal proceedings between McInnes Wilson Lawyers and you, or where access may be regarded as frivolous or vexatious. McInnes Wilson Lawyers is also under obligation by law, in some circumstances, to deny access to your personal information.
If we deny you access to your personal information, reasons for that denial will be provided.
Should you wish to access your personal information, please contact McInnes Wilson Lawyers on (07) 3231 0600 or in writing to GPO Box 1089, Brisbane, Qld 4001. When you access your personal information, we may require proof of identify from you and will require you to sign a document stating that you have accessed your information.
Ensuring your personal information is up to date
The effective and proper conduct of your legal matter can only occur when the personal information that we hold is current and up to date. In this regard it is important that, during the course of your relationship with McInnes Wilson Lawyers, you notify us of any changes to your personal information which we hold, including our contact details.
If personal information we hold about you is not accurate you may request that it be corrected by contacting us on (07) 3231 0600 or by writing to us at GPO Box 1089, Brisbane, Qld 4001.
McInnes Wilson Lawyers will correspond with you by email where you consent to that occurring. Where you communicate with us by email, or provide us with your email address, you are taken to have consented to us communicating with you by email (unless you explicitly tell us otherwise). Email may not be a secure way to communicate your personal information to us and as such, we recommend that personal information should be delivered to us through secure means.
McInnes Wilson Lawyers may from time to time use your personal information, such as your address or contact details, to provide you with information about other services that we offer.
If at any time you do not wish to receive any information about these services please feel free to contact us on (07) 3231 0600 or at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will not send you any further material.
Complaints about breaches of privacy
If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from McInnes Wilson Lawyers, you may contact the Australian Information Commissioner by phoning 1300 363 992 or writing to the Director of Privacy Case Management, Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, GPO Box 5218, Sydney NSW 2001.