- Stacks/The Law Firm and its franchisees and related entities take great pride in applying The National Privacy Principles set out in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) ("the Act") as part of our overall quality service.
Personal and confidential information
- The Act broadly applies to organisations that during the course of
their business invariably come into contact with or collect personal
information from individuals.
- "Personal information" means information, or an opinion, and
whether recorded in a material form or not, about an individual in
circumstances where the individual's identity can reasonably be
ascertained from the information or opinion. Personal information also
includes information that can be described as "sensitive information"
but does not include information that is publicly available.
- "Confidential Information" means information about an
individual or organisation that is not publicly available, and that
which we reasonably consider an individual or organisation would not
wish us to disclose to third parties without express consent.
with other relevant definitions and the National Privacy Principles,
are included in the Act. In particular, we refer you to the definitions
of the following terms contained therein: "individual", "organisation",
"sensitive information", "breach", "credit", "credit provider", "credit
reporting agency", "employee record", "use", and "related
- We also take pride in maintaining confidentiality of clients' affairs in circumstances where the client is an organisation as opposed to an individual, and often in addition to our obligations pursuant to the Act.
How we come into contact with personal or confidential information
- While performing work as lawyers, financial advisers, or financiers
we will need to obtain details from clients such as their name,
address, telephone and other contact details. The clients often also
provide us similar details of other parties relevant to the matter or
- In order to provide appropriate advice we may also obtain
details in relation to our clients personal relationships; assets or
accounts held; information in relation to their business associations,
contractors, subcontractors, employees, and their clients. Occasionally
we will also come into contact with sensitive information; for example
information related to a medical condition to which a client, or friend
or relation of the clients', has suffered or has undergone
investigation, or in relation to our client's criminal history. Often
these details may be obtained directly from our client or indirectly
through third parties with our authority.
- We often come into contact with personal or confidential
information about individuals or organisations without their direct or
express authority. For example, when a client provides us information
about a third party or another party involved in the matter or
transaction in which we are instructed, or documents are produced by an
entity whether or not pursuant to a court order.
Security of personal or confidential information
- We ensure that we protect all personal and confidential information
from misuse, loss, unauthorised access and disclosure. We do this by
securing the personal and confidential information in files, computer
systems, safes, locked storage rooms, as we consider reasonable and
appropriate. We also take advantage of modern technology, including
firewalls and security databases, to ensure that only those whom an
individual or organisation would reasonably expect come into contact
with the information.
- We ensure that all of our offices are securely locked and
protected after hours. We also employ staff whose responsibilities
specifically include to ensure that systems are in place to ensure that
personal and confidential information held by us is maintained securely
and that only those whom the individual or organisation would
reasonably expect have access to the information.
- We endeavour to contact individuals or organisations if we come to hold personal or confidential information about them that they would not reasonably expect us to hold, in circumstances where we believe the information is of such a personal and confidential nature that they would reasonably expect us to inform them that we hold the information.
Use of personal or confidential information
- We primarily will use personal or confidential information that
comes into our possession for the purpose of the matter or transaction
in which we are instructed.
- We will also use personal information obtained for our own internal marketing purposes, for example to promote financial products, provide an update to individuals or organisations about legal developments, to suggest that an individual or organisation may wish to consider seeking advice from us in relation to their affairs, for our policy planning and research and development of our services, to perform credit and fraud and other checks, and to maintain and develop our business systems and infrastructure including the testing and upgrading of these systems.
Disclosure of personal or confidential information
- We often will need to disclose relevant personal or confidential
information for the purpose of obtaining opinions from experts,
including accountants, financial advisers, medical practitioners, and
so on. If a matter involves a dispute we may need to serve the personal
or confidential information on another party to the dispute or disclose
it to a tribunal or court to protect or advance that particular
- In circumstances where we are involved in a joint-venture or
other business project we may need to disclose, or the other
joint-venturer or entity involved in the business project may
invariably come into contact with, our clients personal or confidential
- Occasionally, the use of the personal or confidential
information may result in the disclosure taking place in another State,
Territory, or Country.
- We may also be compelled by a court, or other regulatory order
to disclose personal or confidential information. In these
circumstances, we will consider whether we are entitled to refrain from
making the information available on the basis that we can exercise a
right to exercise legal professional privilege over the personal
- We do not intentionally disclose personal or confidential
information unless it is incidental to the conduct a matter or
transaction in which we are involved or unless we have an individual or
organisation's express or implied authority to do so. In particular, we
do not disclose personal information, other than to related
organisations for the purpose of allowing them to directly market their
products and services to an individual or organization.
- We take reasonable steps to ensure that third parties deal with personal information according to the same standards that we subscribe to.
Access to your personal or confidential information that we hold
- An individual or organisation can write to our director of
knowledge management, to update or correct personal or confidential
information that we hold about them.
- Should an individual or organisation no longer wish for us to
use personal or confidential information that we hold about them for
our internal marketing purposes, they can write to us and request that
we refrain from using the personal or confidential information for that
purpose and we will take reasonable steps to ensure that this use no
- Should an individual or organisation wish to consider personal
or confidential information that we hold about them, they can make
written request to us and we will endeavour to make that information
available. We require identification from the individual or
organisation as we reasonably consider appropriate and for the
individual or organisation requesting the availability of the
information to pay the reasonable costs and expenses that we incur in
complying with the request.
- On occasions, we may consider that it is not reasonable or appropriate to comply with an individual's or organisation's request to make personal or confidential information about them available. For example, if we consider that the costs and work that we would incur in making personal or confidential information available would be disproportionate to the personal or confidential nature or importance of the information, or if we consider that it would invariably result in the disclosure of other entities personal or information and we reasonably consider that we may expose ourselves to risk of a breach of the National Privacy Principles, breach of fiduciary or other duty, or an allegation that it is inappropriate professional conduct to make the disclosure. If we deny access we will provide the reason for doing so.
In The Community
In May, Tony Mitchell was appointed to the Panel of Estate Planning Solicitors by AMP Financial Planning.
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