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Plymouth-based solicitors specialising in criminal defence work across Devon and Cornwall.

Call 01752 717555

Data, Privacy & Complaints

Our Privacy Policy

In accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), this Data & Privacy Notice explains, in detail, the types of personal data we may collect about you when you interact with us. It also explains how we'll store and handle that data and keep it safe.

We know that there's a lot of information here, but we want you to be fully informed about your rights, and how our firm uses your data. We hope the following sections will answer any questions you have but if not, please do get in touch with us.

Conditions for Processing Data

We are only entitled to hold and process your data where the law allows us to. The current law on data protection sets out a number of different reasons for which a law firm may collect and process your personal data. These include:

Contractual obligations

The main purpose for our holding your data is to provide you with legal services under the agreement we have with you. This agreement is a contract between us and the law allows us to process your data for the purposes of performing a contract (or for the steps necessary to enter in to a contract). We may also need to process your data to meet our contractual obligations to the Legal Aid Agency where you receive legal aid to fund your case or advice.

Legitimate Interests

In specific situations, we require your data to pursue our legitimate interests in a way which might reasonably be expected as part of running our business and which does not materially impact your rights, freedom or interests. This may include to satisfy our external quality auditors or our Regulators.

Legal compliance

If the law requires us to, we may need to collect and process your data. For example, we can pass on details of people involved in fraud or other criminal activity.


In some situations, we can collect and process your data with your consent. For example, when you tick a box to receive email newsletters. When collecting your personal data, we'll always make clear to you which data is necessary in connection with a particular service.

When do we collect your data?

We normally collect your data when you provide it to us or when it is provided to us by others (your opponent's solicitors for example) during your case. You may give us your data by email; through an online web form; over the telephone; face to face; or by post.

What sort of data do we collect?

We collect your name and contact details. This may include asking for and keeping a copy of your passport/driving licence and proof of address.

We may gather details of your age; ethnicity; gender etc. if required to do so by the Legal Aid Agency where you are in receipt of Legal Aid. Where you have Legal Aid, we may also gather financial information from you.

We also collect and hold information about your case or legal problem.

How do we use your data?

We only use your data for the purposes of providing you with legal advice, assistance and where appropriate, representation and for reasons directly associated with those services (i.e. providing information to quality auditors; the Legal Aid Agency etc.).

We may use your data to notify you of our other services but only where we have your consent to do so.

How do we protect your data?

We take protecting your data very seriously. The data you give us may be subject to Legal Professional Privilege and is often extremely sensitive and confidential.

With this in mind we will treat your data with the utmost care and take all appropriate steps to protect it. We have clear data protection and information security policies and procedures in place (along with Regulatory and other legal obligations to keep your data safe) and these are regularly assessed as part of our Quality Standards and compliance processes.

We protect our IT system from Cyber Attack. Access to your personal data is password-protected, and sensitive data is secured by encryption.

We regularly monitor our system for possible vulnerabilities and attacks, and we carry out penetration testing to identify ways to further strengthen security.

How long will we keep your data?

We only keep your data for as long as is necessary for the purpose(s) for which it was provided. Normally this is for 6 years after your case or matter ends (enquiries where we do not take on your case are kept for only 18 months).

This is because we are required to keep client files for that period by our Regulator and/or by the SRA. This also protects you should you be unhappy with our services and want to complain or even due us after your case ends.

For some cases we may decide that it is proper and appropriate to keep data for longer than 6 years, but we will notify you if we believe that your case falls into this category.

Who do we share your personal data with?

We sometimes share your personal data with trusted third parties. We only do this where it is necessary for providing you legal services or for the effective operation of our legal practice.

For example, we may share your data with barristers; experts; translators; costs draftsmen; process servers; secure file storage and destruction companies; auditors; the company that securely hosts our off-site cloud storage servers.

Here's the policy we apply to those organisations to keep your data safe and protect your privacy:

- We provide only the information they need to perform their specific services.

- They may only use your data for the exact purposes we specify in our contract with them.

- We work closely with them to ensure that your privacy is respected and protected at all times.

- If we stop using their services, any of your data held by them will either be deleted or rendered anonymous.

Where is your data processed?

Your data is stored and processed within the EEA. If we ever have to share your personal data with third parties and suppliers outside the European Economic Area (EEA) we will seek your specific consent to do so.

The EEA includes all EU Member countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

What are your rights?

You have rights under the General Data Protection Regulation and these include the right to be informed what information we hold about you. In particular, you have the right to request:

- access to the personal data we hold about you, free of charge in most cases

- the correction of your personal data when incorrect, out of date or incomplete

- that we stop any consent-based processing of their personal data after they have withdrawn consent, or object and we have no legitimate overriding interest, or once the purpose for which we hold the data has come to an end

You also have the right to request a copy of any information about you that we hold at any time.

If we choose not to action your request, we will explain to you the reasons for our refusal.

Contact Details

For information on how your information is used, how we maintain the security of our information, and to exercise your rights to access information we hold on you, please contact us. Similarly, if you believe that the information we hold is wrong or out of date, please let us know and we will update it. The person in this firm responsible for data protection is Hannah Turner, our Managing Director, and enquires and requests can be sent to her by telephone on 01752 717555, by emailing or in writing to our main office.

Your right to withdraw consent

Whenever you have given us your consent to use your personal data, you have the right to change your mind at any time and withdraw that consent.

Where we rely on our legitimate interest

In cases where we are processing your personal data on the basis of our legitimate interest, you can ask us to stop for reasons connected to your individual situation. We must then do so unless we believe we have a legitimate overriding reason to continue processing your personal data.


A cookie is a small file which asks permission to be placed on your computer’s hard drive. Once you agree, the file is added and the cookie helps analyse web traffic or lets you know when you visit a particular site.

You can choose to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies if you prefer. This may prevent you from taking full advantage of the website.

By law, we may not place cookies on your computer without your consent, unless they are strictly necessary to the operation of the service that we provide on the Website.

[insert details of cookies used or used – or use services such as which lists cookies and to ensure users have ability to opt out

e.g. We use traffic log cookies to identify which pages are being used. This helps us analyse data about web page traffic and improve our website in order to tailor it to customer needs. We only use this information for statistical analysis purposes and then the data is removed from the system.

We use Google Analytics to monitor how our website is being used so we can make improvements. Our use of Google Analytics requires us to pass to Google your IP address (but no other information) - Google uses this information to prepare site usage reports for us, but Google may also share this information with other Google services. In particular, Google may use the data collected to contextualize and personalize the ads of its own advertising network. Related information:

- Google's privacy policy

- How Google uses this information

If you have any queries about the cookies that we use, or would like more information, please contact

Links to other websites

Our website may contain links to other websites of interest. However, once you have used these links to leave our site, you should note that we do not have any control over that other website. Therefore, we cannot be responsible for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide whilst visiting such sites and such sites are not governed by this policy. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement or policy applicable to the website in question.

The Regulator

If you feel that your data has not been handled correctly, or you are unhappy with our response to any requests you have made to us regarding the use of your personal data, you have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner's Office.

You can contact them by calling 0303 123 1113.

Or go online to

Complaints Procedure

We want to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service, we have provided then you should inform us immediately, so that we can do our best to resolve the problem.

In the first instance it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss your concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues [delete if not required]. If you would like to make a formal complaint, then you can read our full complaints procedure. Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.

Complaints Handling

We aim to deal with any complaints promptly, fairly, openly and effectively. It is the policy of the firm that:

• every complaint made by a client is reported and recorded centrally

• every complaint received is responded to appropriately

• the cause of the problem is identified á appropriate redress is offered, and

• unsatisfactory procedures are corrected.

Definition of complaint

Our definition of a complaint is: "any written or verbal expression of dissatisfaction referred to any person in our organisation by a client".

A complaint can be identified through a letter, telephone call, email and fax or in the course of a face-to-face conversation. A complaint may involve:

• dissatisfaction with the handling of a case

• disappointment with an alleged lack of communication

• frustration with an alleged lack of case progress

• an allegation of discrimination, or

• dissatisfaction with the outcome of the case.

However, issues of a very minor nature, for example, not returning a non-urgent telephone call until the following day will not necessarily need to be recorded as a complaint.

Complaints may be received from other parties who are not our clients. Although we are not obliged to handle these complaints in the same way, we would ordinarily look to respond to them and investigate the complaint in a similar manner and in similar timescales. We will however make the complainant aware that some elements and timings in our complaints handling procedure are aimed at our clients and may not be appropriate and will be adapted accordingly. Depending on who it is who has complained and the nature of the complaint, the complainant will be made aware that they may not have the same recourse to raise issues with the Legal Ombudsman.

Complaints handling information

• We inform clients in writing on our website and at the outset of their matter of:

• their right to complain and that the complaint will be dealt with promptly, fairly and free of charge

• how complaints can be made and to whom

• how the complaint will be handled

• in what timescale they will be given an initial and/or substantive response

• their right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman, the time frame for doing so and full details of how to contact the Legal Ombudsman

• the role of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and how they may raise concerns about behaviour or ethics to the SRA, the time frame for doing so and full details of how to contact the SRA.

Where the complaint relates to the processing or handling of personal data, there may be additional steps to follow or additional information to disclose. There may also be a need to escalate our standard timescales. In these circumstances, the Complaints Handling Representative must also be mindful of our obligations as a data controller and ensure they follow our Personal Data Complaints Procedure as set out in our Data Security and Information Governance Manual.

Complaints Handling Representative

We have appointed Hannah Turner who is our COLP, as our Complaints Handling Representative. They are responsible for:

• recording centrally all complaints received from clients

• identifying the cause of any problem of which the client has complained

• overseeing our investigation and response to any complaint

• offering appropriate redress, where appropriate

• reviewing our complaints and ensuring any unsatisfactory procedures are identified and notified in accordance with our Compliance Policy, and

• ensuring compliance with the requirements of 8.4 and 8.5 of the SRA Code of Conduct for Solicitors.

Handling a complaint

When a client makes a complaint, it is handled in accordance with our complaints handling procedure. This sets out the key stages of the process and all relevant timescales. Where appropriate, we shall ensure that our procedure is tailored in response to the needs of our individual clients, especially those who are vulnerable. We report and record every complaint made centrally. All complaints are referred to our Complaints Handling Representative in the first instance, who:

on receipt of a complaint, sends the client our standard letter which sets out our complaints handling procedure, outlining the relevant stages and timescales. A copy of this letter is at Appendix 13

reviews the matter with any staff member involved

identifies the cause of any problems of which the client has complained

determines what degree of validity the complaint has, and

decides how the complaint should be resolved.

Any complaints made where our Complaints Handling Representative had conduct of the matter are referred to Jane Wills or Elizabeth Bailey. We are permitted a maximum of eight weeks to investigate, consider and respond fully to the complaint. If for any reason we are unable to resolve the problem within that timeframe or the complaints procedure has otherwise been exhausted and the complaint has not been settled or dealt with to a client's satisfaction, we advise the client in writing of:

• our final position on their complaint

• their right to pass the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, the time frame for doing so and full details of how to contact the Legal Ombudsman

• the name and website address of an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) approved body which would be competent to deal with the complaint but that we are not compelled and do not agree to use the scheme operated by that body.

If we are able to resolve the complaint, our Complaints Handling Representative will ensure that any redress or compensation offered to the client is provided within the agreed timescale. They will send a final letter outlining the resolution but also making clear that the client may still have the ability to raise the matter with the Legal Ombudsman and reference the time frame for doing so and full details of how to contact the Legal Ombudsman.

Our Complaints Handling Representative will:

• offer the client appropriate redress, and

• recommend amendments to unsatisfactory procedures to our COLP, where appropriate in accordance with our Compliance Policy.

Legal Ombudsman and SRA

Where we are notified that a complaint is made to the Legal Ombudsman or that a report has been made by a client to the SRA, our Complaints Handling Representative will review the matter and oversee our response(s).


During a matter, should a fee earner identify any act or omission which could give rise to a claim by them against us, they must refer any such cases to their supervisor for initial advice. If the supervisor agrees that the circumstances of the case could give rise to a claim, the case must be referred immediately to our Complaints Handling Representative who will:

decide, in conjunction with our insurers, what information should be provided to the client

determine and oversee any other action as is required.

If during the investigation of a complaint, the Complaints Handling Representative identifies a matter which could give rise to a potential negligence claim or where a client claims financial loss, compensation or threatens legal action, Hannah Turner will decide, in conjunction with our insurers, whether we should continue with this complaints procedure or adopt some other course of action.

Record and Review

Our Complaints Handling Representative has overall responsibility for handling complaints and keeps details of all complaints received in a central record. Copies of any documents/correspondence showing how each complaint is resolved are also retained on the central record.

If, whilst reviewing any particular complaint, our Complaints Handling Representative highlights that there are aspects of our practice that need to be corrected or there are any unsatisfactory procedures requiring amendment, they will ensure that any unsatisfactory procedures are corrected.

Our Complaints Handling Representative carries out an analysis of the Central Register of Complaints annually. Following this review they decide whether any action can be taken to improve our services or if any action is required to ensure ongoing compliance with the requirements of 8.4 and 8.5 of the SRA Code of Conduct for Solicitors. The results of the review (i.e. any trends identified and action proposed) are documented and provided to Key Personnel and will be reviewed by our COLP as part of our Annual Review of Risk.

Our Complaints Handling Representative maintains overall responsibility for the operation of this procedure. They will review it annually to verify that it is in effective operation.

What to do if we cannot resolve your complaint

The Legal Ombudsman can help you if we are unable to resolve your complaint ourselves. They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your case.

Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:

• Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint


• No more than six years from the date of act/omission; or

• No more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.

If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, please contact them:


Call: 0300 555 0333 between 9.00 to 17.00.


Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ

What to do if you are unhappy with our behaviour

The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic. Visit their website to see how you can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.