Privacy Policy

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Atkinson Vinden recognises the importance of your privacy and understands your concerns about protecting your personal information.  Atkinson Vinden complies with the Australian Privacy Principles pursuant to the Privacy Act 1988 (the Act).

If you contact us, we may record your contact and enquiry details so that we can respond and we may, unless you request otherwise, include you on our mailing list for publications and updates.  We will not disclose your details to anyone other than contractors who provide service to us, other than in the course of acting on your behalf in the provision of legal advice and representing you on your instruction. You may request access to the information which we hold about you.

Privacy Policy

Types of personal information collected and held
Personal information is defined by the Act as any information or opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who can reasonably be identified, whether such information or opinion is true or false and whether it is held in a material form or not.
In order to be able to provide legal services to our clients we may be required to collect and hold a wide variety of information, including, but not limited to, an individual’s:
1.    name;
2.    date of birth;
3.    contact details;
4.    marital status;
5.    financial records;
6.    driver licence;
7.    family details, including next of kin;
8.    any other personal information particular
In addition to the above it is likely that we may collect and hold sensitive information, including information regarding an individual’s:
1.    racial, nationality or ethnic origin;
2.    political opinions;
3.    membership of a political association;
4.    religious beliefs or affiliations;
5.    philosophical beliefs;
6.    membership of a professional or trade association;
7.    membership of a trade union;
8.    sexual preferences or practices;
9.    criminal record; or
10.  health information, including an individual’s future intentions regarding health services to be provided to them.

Collection of your personal information
Atkinson Vinden respects and protects your privacy. All information collected is strictly confidential.

We will generally only collect personal information which is reasonably necessary to the provision of legal advice to our clients. While this personal information will usually relate to clients themselves, it may be necessary to collect personal information about individuals who are not clients, for example family members of clients, to ensure that we are able to provide our services. In such cases we will endeavour to only collect the minimum amount of information required to facilitate the provision of our services.

Often at the time of collection we may not be able to determine whether particular personal information is required to provide accurate and complete legal services. Should it become apparent that information we have collected is not reasonably necessary for the provision of such services we will take reasonable steps to return, destroy or de-identify the relevant personal information.

Wherever reasonable and practicable we will collect personal information from the individual to whom it relates, however in some cases this may not be possible, or the information may only be held by a third party. Common examples of these situations may include:
1.    health records held by your medical practitioner;
2.    information about you held by a government entity;
3.    financial records held by an accountant; or
4.    next of kin details.

Generally, in such circumstances we are obliged to take reasonable steps to obtain the individual’s consent or to notify them of the collection however we are generally precluded from doing so by our obligation of confidentiality to our clients as legal practitioners.

While an individual may choose not to provide personal information to us, failure to do so may hamper the provision of our services, or result in inaccurate or incomplete legal advice being given. In some cases failure to provide personal information may result in us refusing to provide our services at all.

Using and disclosing personal information
We disclose your personal information primarily for the purpose of providing legal advice, legally representing you to third parties and in the provision of related services to our clients. We may disclose your personal information to other parties who provide services to us and who may only use this information as we direct. We will not release any information about you unless you have instructed our firm to act for you and the release of this information is necessary to our undertaking work on your behalf.

Otherwise we do not disclose personal information to anyone unless with your consent or as required or authorised by law.

Should you disclose your personal information directly to a third party in relation to any services provided by us then your personal information will be subject to the third party’s privacy policies.

Overseas disclosure of personal information

While we are generally not required to disclose client’s personal information to overseas recipients it may become necessary to do so for the purposes of providing you with legal services. In such circumstances we are obliged to take reasonable steps to ensure that the overseas recipient complies with the requirements of the Australian Privacy Principles, unless you specifically waive this requirement.

In addition to the above, we may from time-to-time outsource typing services to a legal process outsourcing company (LPO) located in India. We utilise this service during periods of increased activity to ensure the timely and cost effective provision of services to our clients. Should you wish us to refrain from providing your personal information to our LPO please advise us of such, however, be aware it may result in a delay of our ability to provide you with services. You can rest assured that any information provided to the LPO is treated with the strictest confidence to ensure the security of the information.

Direct marketing
We do not sell or trade personal information to third parties to allow them to engage in direct marketing to you.

We may from time to time use your personal information, including sensitive information, to notify you of any changes to our services or the law which may affect you. All such communications will include an option for you to opt out of receiving any future direct marketing material. Use of the “opt out” option will be at no cost to you.

Security of personal information
We are concerned with the security of your information and are committed to taking reasonable steps to protect it from unauthorised access and use. To that end we have put in place appropriate physical, electronic and managerial policies and procedures to secure personal information. These policies and procedures include, but are not limited to:

(a)    storing any electronic information on secure, password protected servers;
(b)    ensuring any physical copies of personal information are kept in a secure area which is not open to unauthorised access; and
(c)    having employees enter into confidentiality agreements requiring they ensure the security of personal information.

Personal information may be retained for 7 years or such other period as required by taxation or other laws.

Accuracy of personal information collected
We regularly update our client database to ensure your personal information is accurate, complete and up to date. To that end we may contact you from time to time for the purposes of verifying your information.

Access to and correction of your personal information
You have a right to know what of your personal information we hold. You may request this by contacting our Privacy Officer by the following methods:

Phone: (02) 9411 4466,

Email: email@avlawyers.com.au

Mail addressed to:
Privacy Officer
Atkinson Vinden Lawyers
PO Box 450
CHATSWOOD  NSW  2057

When requesting access or correction of personal information we will require you to verify your identity by reference to your personal information. In some circumstances it may be necessary for you to visit our office to properly verify your identity before access to personal information can be granted.

We will attempt to respond to a request for access to personal information in a timely manner, however, given the wide array of our services provided, it may take some time to collect your personal information and make it available. You can help to minimise delays by providing details of what information you require access to, how and when you have provided information to us in the past and the general nature of any relevant dealings between you and us.

When a request for information is received, we will endeavour to provide an accurate estimate of the time it may take to comply with the request, however, compliance with this timeframe is not guaranteed.

Generally, we will not charge a fee to grant access to your personal information, however in the case of requests for old or particularly voluminous information it may be necessary for us to charge a reasonable fee, commensurate with the work and/or expenses required to comply with the request. There will be no fee charged in relation to the making of the request for access itself.

While we will attempt to comply with your request for access to personal information about you, we do have the right under the Australian Privacy Principles to refuse access in certain circumstances. In the event that access is refused we will, where reasonable, provide reasons for the refusal, along with alternative methods which may allow access.

One example of a right to refuse access will be where client legal privilege applies. Generally, any information provided by a client may not be provided to another individual without our client’s specific consent. In the absence of such consent we will refuse to grant access.

In addition to requesting access to personal information you may request that we correct any personal information held about you. Once your identity has been verified we will take reasonable steps to correct your personal information.

Anonymity and Pseudonymity
While the Australian Privacy Principles do allow you to deal with us anonymously or by use of a pseudonym, where reasonable, we will be unable to provide detailed services without confirming your identity. We may, however, be able to discuss our services in a general nature, including costs and charges which we might ordinarily charge for those services, prior to obtaining your identity. Until such time as we have been provided sufficient information to provide detailed and accurate services any communication will be general in nature and can not be guaranteed for accuracy or completeness.

Complaints
If you wish to make a complaint about our collection, use or disclosure of any personal information, or about any potential breach of an APP, you may contact our Privacy Officer by use of the contact details at the end of this document.

When making a complaint you should include as many details as possible, including the nature of the personal information concerned, how it is believed to have been misused, which APP is believed to have been breached (if relevant), the details of any employee or representative involved and any other information which may be relevant. Our Privacy Officer may request additional information to enable the Privacy Officer to properly investigate your complaint and take such reparatory action as necessary.

Once a complaint is received our Privacy Officer will investigate the circumstances of the complaint and determine whether a misuse of personal information has occurred and if so how it may be rectified and whether/what action should be taken in relation to any employee or representative involved. We will endeavour to keep you informed regarding the process of your complaint and any action taken.

Should you not be satisfied with our handling of your complaint then we will generally agree to the complaint being referred to mediation and/or arbitration. Should the matter remain unresolved then an individual is entitled to refer their matter to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. You may also be entitled to take your complaint to the Law Society of NSW and/or the Legal Services Commissioner.

Links to other Websites
This site may contain links to other websites. Atkinson Vinden does not endorse these other sites and is not responsible for the content or accuracy of the information contained on them. Atkinson Vinden is also not responsible for the privacy practices of these other sites.

Copyright
The information contained on this website remains the copyright of Atkinson Vinden. You need to ask our permission to use or copy this information for any purpose other than for private use.
For further information please contact our Privacy Officer by one of the following methods:

Phone: (02) 9411 4466,

Email: email@avlawyers.com.au