Privacy Policy

July 2019

Our Personal Data mission statement

These are the main points that we want you to take away from our privacy policy:

  1. We will try to get the least amount possible of the best, most accurate data from you at the outset. We will then use that data in ways which you would expect us to generally or as we explicitly describe to you in writing, including in this policy. We will share that data internally within Berwins staff members in order to provide you with the best value service in a cost effective way, unless sharing that data would clearly not be in your best interests. The less personal data we hold about you the better, and we try our best to minimise this where possible.
  2. We will never share your data with any third parties without your prior approval except where we have a strict legal obligation to do so and we will always tell you about this in advance where we are legally allowed to. 
  3. If you get marketing from us, it will be relevant to you or it will be about our services and it will never be about unrelated third parties unless we’ve agreed that with you in advance. We won’t send you the type of marketing that would need your consent, and we will always provide an “opt-out” or “unsubscribe” option. You can also opt-out of this at any time by contacting our DPO.

If you think that we haven’t done something we say we are going to do, please let us know as soon as possible. You can notify our DPO directly if you want to and we will respond to you as soon as we can to provide as full a response as we are able to.

Who We are

We are: Berwins Solicitors Limited (Trading as “Berwins” including “Berwins Digital”), a registered Company in England and Wales with number 06874412 with its address at 2 North Park Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 5PA (“We”, “Us” or “Berwins”).

Our websites

  • Berwins Solicitors
  • Berwins Digital

ICO Registration number 

We are the Data Controller as defined under the Data Protection Legislation in relation to the personal data collected by Berwins in whatever professional capacity it acts in and we are registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK (the ICO) with number Z1821877 

Our Data Protection Officer

Our Data Protection Officer (DPO) is Paul Berwin who can be contacted on 01423 509000 and at If you do not understand this document, please contact him; he will be able to help you.


We are required to manage the way we hold personal data about actual persons in order to meet our legal, regulatory and operational obligations. We want to reassure all our clients and contacts that we take our responsibilities seriously.  We aim to be as transparent as possible in our processing of personal data and this policy is the main way in which we do that.

FYI - The Data Protection principles

The Data Protection Legislation regulates the use of personal information generally. This means everyone must comply with six data protection principles which say that personal data and its processing needs to be:

  • Fair, lawful and transparent;
  • for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes (purpose limitation);
  • adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary (data minimisation);
  • accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date (accuracy);
  • not kept longer than necessary (storage limitation); and
  • processed using appropriate security (integrity and confidentiality).

What laws apply to the personal data we hold?

As lawyers, we have always held personal data about our clients, staff, suppliers and others. This personal data, whether it is held on paper, on computer or other media, is subject to certain legal safeguards as specified in the Data Protection Legislation.

Data Protection Legislation means:

  • the UK’s Data Protection Act 2018 and the relevant parts of the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/279).
  • The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/524); and
  • other data protection rules, policies, directions and regulatory guidance that we are subject to from time to time.

Accessibility - Obtaining a copy of this Policy 

Copies of this policy can be supplied by email, on paper, on our website and in person at our offices: just ask. 

If you need to have this information in another format (for example, in a larger font or in another language) to understand it, please let our Data Protection Officer know. 

Who is affected by this policy?

This policy applies to any personal information we collect about:

  • clients including prospective, potential and former clients;
  • business contacts or those we come across at networking events, or work collaboratively with;
  • job applicants and our current and former employees, contractors, work experience personnel and providers of outsourced services;
  • people who make enquiries or requests under the Data Protection Legislation;
  • people who use our services, e.g. those who subscribe to our newsletter;
  • visitors to our website; and
  • anyone who sends us anything which constitutes personal data for any reason.

What information do we collect?

Personal data, or personal information, means any information about an individual from which that person can be identified. It does not include data where the identity has been removed (anonymous data).

We may collect, use, store and transfer different kinds of personal data about you which we have grouped together as follows:

  • Identity Data includes first name, maiden name, last name, passport number/driving license or similar identification (including photographic), marital status, title, date of birth and gender and also information regarding who you are to us (such as a client, employee or a member of the public) and sometimes (for conflict and professional reasons) how/whether you are related to another client or person;
  • Contact Data includes billing or home address, email address and telephone numbers.
  • Financial Data includes bank account and payment card details.
  • Transaction Data includes details about payments to and from you and other details of services or anything else you have purchased from or through us.
  • Technical Data includes internet protocol (IP) address, browser type and version, time zone setting and location, browser plug-in types and versions, operating system and platform, and other technology on the devices you use to access our websites.
  • Usage Data includes information about how you use our website, products and services.
  • Marketing and Communications Data includes your preferences in receiving marketing from us and our third parties and your communication preferences in relation to our newsletter and our agreed methods for contacting you generally.
  • Lifestyle Data including social circumstances data for certain types of legal work e.g.   Divorce. Some of this data is classified as special categories of personal data. To process this type of data we need your explicit consent and we will discuss this with you when appropriate. 
  • Staff Data: Next of kin, bank details and GP’s address if you are a member of staff; and: Your current (and occasionally) previous home addresses; CV, if you are a job candidate. We may also require background checks to be carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service and we will get your consent where these are required. We also capture details from internal key fobs for security purposes only.
  • CCTV images (if we monitor premises or where these are revived from law   enforcement agencies) both internal and external on and around our premises for the purpose of providing security and investigating crime.

In addition, because of the wide-ranging nature of our legal work, we may collect other information and data about you and any business you run and this information may be collated or shared across departments within Berwins in order for us to understand things like the potential for conflicts of interest or to provide you with better and more relevant legal advice generally.

Some information is defined in the Data Protection Legislation as falling under a special category of personal data. This is information about you which relates to racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, membership of a trade union, genetic and biometric data processing, health data, data about sex life or sexual orientation. Nor do we normally collect any information about criminal convictions and offences. We will only process this type of data with your explicit consent.  

Legal basis for processing

How we use your personal data

We will only use your personal data when the law allows us to. Most commonly, we will use your personal data in the following circumstances:

  • (Contract) Where we need to perform the contract we are about to enter into or have entered into with you (Contract). For example: to provide legal advice and related services to you.
  • (LI) Where it is necessary for our legitimate interests (LI)  (or those of a third party) and your interests and fundamental rights do not override those interests. For example: where we need to contact you to let you know about a legal claim or when we send you newsletters or other updates.
  • (Legal) Where we need to comply with a legal obligation; and
  • (Vital) Very rarely – where we have to act to protect your vital interests where you are unable to give consent. This usually applies to emergency services, but we want to help protect your vital interests as best we can and we will only use this legal basis in a real emergency.

Generally, we do not rely on consent as a legal basis for processing your personal data although we will get your consent before sending any third party direct marketing communications to you via email or text message. For example, and as further set out below, we will use the legitimate interests basis to send you our newsletter and similar updates. You have the right to withdraw consent to marketing at any time by contacting us.

The legal bases we rely on

We ensure that the data we collect is processed on a specific legal basis, as set out below. We do not transfer any data outside the UK without telling you first. If you have any questions about the legal bases upon which we say we are processing your personal data below, please contact our Data Protection Officer.

Type of data subject

Legal basis of processing

Whether this is shared and with whom

When it it destroyded

Clients and former clients Legal consent Not shared except as required with our Outsourced Service Providers

We have legal obligations to know who our clients are for money laundering/anti-bribery purposes and also so that we can ensure that we avoid any conflict of interest (Legal).

We also need to know who we are advising in order to give them the best advice (Contract/LI)

We collect personal information about people who wish us to act for them, (our clients), because we need to use that information to progress their work. For example, the type of personal data we normally need might be a client’s name, address, email address, identity documents, family members’ details, and bank details for processing payments. 

We will ask you for consent to use your personal data before we begin our work for you unless we are able to proceed using other bases for collecting data, such as the fulfilment of our contract with you. We will only ask for the details we need and nothing extra.   

People who use our services, e.g. those who subscribe to our newsletter or those we invite to our events LI, Contract Not shared except as required with our Outsourced Service Providers

Where we have made a connection with you and you’ve provided your contact details to us, we both have a legitimate interest in following up on that connection, and, because you can unsubscribe if you want to, we may also send you our newsletter. 

Our newsletter will be relevant to the area of law we work in and therefore you have a legitimate interest in being informed about changes and developments in the law.

Because the unsubscribe link gives you a choice in whether or not to continue to receive this, we consider that on balance it isn’t going to cause any harm to send this out when compared with the benefit you might gain from it. 

Of course, we also benefit from this because you are more likely to remember us the next time you need legal advice in that area.

Our current and former employees, contractors, work experience personnel   Contract, Legal Not shared except as required with our Outsourced Service Providers

We process our employee data in accordance with the law, our internal policies and each individual’s contract of employment.

We also have legal obligations to adhere to, such as maintaining adequate insurance and carrying out background checks, so we might process data for those purposes too.

We collect personal information about people who work with us because we need to use that information to run our business. For example, the type of personal data we normally need might be a person’s name, address, email address, identity documents, family members’ details, and bank details for processing payments. We will use this personal data to administer the contract we have with the people who work with us.  

When individuals apply to work with us, we will only use the information they supply to us to process their application. We would obtain their consent to do that. Where we want to disclose information to a third party, for example where we want to take up a reference or obtain a ‘disclosure’ from the Criminal Records Bureau we will not do so without informing them beforehand unless the disclosure is required by law.

Personal information about unsuccessful candidates will be held for 6 months after the recruitment exercise has been completed, it will then be destroyed or deleted. 

Once a person has joined us, we will compile a file relating to their employment. The information contained in this will be kept secure and will only be processed for purposes directly relevant to that person’s employment contract. Once their employment has ended, we will retain the file in accordance with the requirements of our Data Collection and Retention Policy and Procedure and then destroy it.

Job applicants and people who send us speculative employment letters and CV’s LI, Contract, Legal  Not shared except as required with our Outsourced Service Providers

LI – we have an interest in recruiting the best staff for the job and in order to make that determination we need certain information. 

We also have legal obligations to adhere to, such as maintaining adequate insurance, so we might process data for those purposes too.

We may also carry out the same processing as we describe above for employees. 

People who make enquiries or requests under the Data Protection Legislation Legal, Consent, Contract Not shared except as required with our Outsourced Service Providers

We will need to process your data in order to exercise your rights (Legal) and also in order for us to comply with any agreement we have with you (Contract).

We may require additional information and we may need your consent in some circumstances in order to process that data.

Visitors to our website (Cookies) LI, Consent The website  automatically stores information

In order for us to monitor and improve the Site, we may gather certain information about you when you use it, including details about your domain name and IP address (this is your computer’s individual identification number assigned to your computer when connecting to the Internet), operating systems, browser, version and the website that you visited prior to our Site. We may do this by way of a cookie as described below.

As at 04/07/2019 – we are currently working to update our cookies policy in line with recently published guidance from the ICO .

People for whom we hold or process data but which has not been obtained from the data subject themselves Please refer to the section: Holding data about others when we did not obtain it from them  Not shared except as required by our Outsourced Service Providers LI – our legitimate interest is in providing our services to clients. If we process your details it will be in order to provide services and we won’t use this data for our own purposes except in the capacity in which we act as lawyers.

Keeping our data up to date  

This is both your responsibility and ours. It helps us to keep your personal data up to date if you: 

  • Check that any personal data you provide to us is accurate and up to date when you give it to us. 
  • Tell us if anything changes e.g. a change of address as soon as possible after changing it
  • Check that any information we send you is accurate: if we get something wrong, please tell us straight away so that we can correct it.

How is your personal data collected? 

We use different methods to collect data from and about you including through:

Direct interactions. You may give us your Identity, Contact and Financial Data by filling in forms or by corresponding with us by post, phone, email, social media networking (such as LinkedIn) or otherwise. This includes personal data you provide when you:

  • apply for our products or services or instruct us to act for you;
  • email us directly for any reason;
  • meet us in person or speak with us over the phone;
  • provide/exchange business cards or connect with us on social media;
  • input your details on any of our websites;
  • subscribe to our service or publications;
  • request marketing to be sent to you;
  • enter a competition, promotion or survey;
  • give us feedback or contact us; or
  • leave or send data to or at our premises.

Automated technologies or interactions. As you interact with our website, we will automatically collect Technical Data about your equipment, browsing actions and patterns. We collect this personal data by using cookies, server logs and other similar technologies. We may also recieve Technical Data about you if you visit other websites employing our cookies. 

Third parties or publicly available sources. We will receive personal data about you from various third parties and public sources as set out below:

Technical Data from the following parties:

  • analytics providers such as Google based outside the EU;
  • advertising and social media networks such as LinkedIn Ireland Unlimited Company based inside the EU and the LinkedIn Corporation based in the USA; and
  • search information providers based inside the EU

Identity and Contact Data from publicly available sources such as Companies House, Land Registry and the Electoral Register based inside the EU.

Identity and Contact Data from tracing service providers in order to locate you in order to carry out legal or contractual rights and obligations.

How and why do we process data? 

How we store and review data

We operate a central database, which stores all our client, financial, and contact list  data. It is maintained by us. Our Data Protection Officer is responsible for ensuring all data entry is accurate, that the database is secure, confidential and that back-ups are made and appropriately secured. The firm will also regularly complete data cleansing exercises to check our contacts are up to date e.g. when we are notified of a death, change of address, change of name, withdrawals of consents  and opt-outs of mailings.

Processing data via outsourced services that we use 

Outsourced Service Providers

We use outsourced providers to provide services that are required to run a legal business properly and particular to deal with overflow. This allows us to provide a cost-effective service to you and we will only pass data to these providers if we first make sure that we have a written contract in place with them. We set out what additional protections are provided below, but those are in addition to contractual measures.
The table below gives details. 

Outsourced service provider

What data is used?

Where is it stored?

Ist is shared further?

How is it protected?

When is it destroyed?

Overflow Telephony

We keep a record of our telephone calls. We record our telephone calls. Recordings are kept for two months although in some cases we keep recordings for longer to help with training our staff or where we receive a complaint about our service.

We may also use information to help inform the way we regulate and to check and improve our level of service.

By provider No Under provider's policies After two months
Compliance, auditing and external file reviews Sight of client files Onsite No By auditor’s obligations to us Not held by auditor
Our professional indemnity insurers Sight of claims By insurers No Under provider’s policies Under provider’s policies
ID checks on clients and others We may use personal information provided to carry out credit checks via online search providers On providers’ systems No Under provider’s policies Under provider’s policies
External complaints handling When we receive a complaint from a person we make up a file containing the details of the complaint. This normally contains the identity of the complainant and copies of the file documents which may name other individuals involved in the complaint. This data is shared with our external complaints handler who is under a strict contractual obligation to keep the data confidential and secure. Onsite on our own systems No. All data transferred to the outsourced complaints handler is either securely destroyed or returned to us. 

We will only use the personal information we collect to process the complaint and to check on the level of service we provide. We do analyse the complaints we receive, but not in a form which identifies anyone.

We usually have to disclose the complainant’s identity to whoever the complaint is about, so that it is generally not possible to handle a complaint on an anonymous basis.

We will keep personal information contained in complaint files in line with our retention policy. 

Under our own policies
Payroll We may also share personal information with others who provide services to us, but only where this helps us to fulfil effectively our statutory and regulatory functions On provider’s systems No Under provider’s policies Under provider’s policies
HR functions

To ensure we are an equal opportunities employer we collect information about age, disability, ethnicity, sex, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity. This information is not used in relation to the application itself and is treated with strict confidence. It does not form part of the job application and is used to monitor our recruitment. We may use the information to help us deliver equal opportunity measures.

Successful applicants who secure fixed term or permanent contracts are asked to agree to an appropriate criminal records check.

Once a person is employed by us, we compile a file relating to their employment. We keep this information secure and only use it for purposes directly related to their employment. When a person's employment ends with us we destroy the file in line with our Data Collection and Retention Policy and Procedure

On our systems No Under our policies Generally retained for 6 years after leaving for insurance purposes
Oversight bodies, regulatory inspections and audits Personal information may be disclosed to our regulators, the Legal Ombudsman, enforcement or government agencies, other regulators or others with a legitimate interest who may keep a record of that information. We only share information where it is lawful for us to do so, such where it is necessary to do so as part of our, or a third party's, statutory or public function or because the law permits or requires us to. In most cases, we will tell the person whose information we hold that we are sending their information somewhere else. On regulators’ etc systems No Under provider's policies Under provider's policies
Barristers and experts Providing advice on an expert basis On provider’s systems No

Under provider’s policies

(Barristers are also regulated and some data may attract legal privilege)

Under provider's policies

Holding data about others when we did not obtain it from them

If we hold personal data about you (for example it has been given to us by someone else, rather than by you directly), we have to provide you with some information, unless you hold that information already. That data will be stored in accordance with our Data Collection and Retention Policy and Procedure. It is processed on the basis of our legitimate interest: normally that will be for the purposes of progressing our legal work for the client concerned.  

You have a right to know what personal data we hold about you, for it to be corrected if wrong and you have a right to know where that data came from. In some circumstances you may have the right to request erasure of some or all of that data which identifies you. You have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioners Office at 

How we use cookies, search engines, blogs  and E-newsletters


We are currently in the process of reviewing and updating this section in accordance with recent guidance issued by the ICO – watch this space!

Cookies are small text files stored on your computer while you are visiting a website. Cookies help make websites work. They also provide us with aggregated information about how users interact with our site. We use this information to try to improve your experience on our website and the quality of service we provide. Cookies help us do this by allowing us to remember personal settings you have chosen at our website. We do not use cookies in any other way to collect information that identifies you personally. Most of the cookies we set are automatically deleted from your computer when you leave our website or shortly afterwards.

Complete information about the cookies we may set on your browser appears below. A hyperlink to this information about cookies appears prominently on most pages of our website.
Below is a list of cookies set by our website, along with a brief description of what each is used for. To obtain further information about cookies (including how to set your browser to reject cookies), you can visit the website 

Cookie name

Expiration Time Description


More information

CraftSessionId     Our website uses a CMS which anonymously tracks the user's movement around the site to allow us to improve the overall experience.  
__utma, __utmb, __utmc, __utmz, _ga, _gat_*     We will never use the statistical analytics tool to track or to collect any Personally Identifiable Information of visitors to our site. Google will not associate your IP address with any other data held by Google.  

Some services we use to add value and convenience to those who use our website. The browsers may set cookies on our behalf. These services fall into two broad groups: social media and web analytics (see below for details). 

How we deal with the data of people who contact us via social media

If people contact us via social media then we treat it just like if we had met that person in the real world, because in practise we live in a digital world. Our regulators might not take the same view and therefore sometimes only face to face will do!

How we ensure the security of our website

We use third party IT services providers to help maintain the security and performance of our website. 

People who email us

Any email sent to us, including any attachments, may be monitored and used by us for reasons including IT security, appropriate use and for monitoring compliance with our office email policy.  Email monitoring, system security and blocking software may be used.

When do we delete your data? Data Retention

We keep some data longer than others. We have a Data Collection and Retention Policy and Procedure which enables us to identify which data must be preserved and which data must be erased, to comply with the storage limitation requirements of GDPR.  

We will keep your personal data only for as long as is necessary to ensure we can fulfil our business requirements and to comply with our regulatory requirements and will then confidentially destroy that data in line with our Data Collection and Retention Policy and Procedure.

We can retain personal data if we need it to meet our legal, regulatory  and operational requirements in accordance with our Data Collection and Retention Policy and Procedure  a copy of which is available on request; just ask our Data Protection Officer

Knowing your rights under data protection

As an individual, you have these rights:

  • The right to be informed
  • The right of access
  • The right to rectification
  • The right to erasure
  • The right to restrict processing
  • The right to data portability
  • The right to object
  • Rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling

There is a lot more information on these rights on the Information Commissioner’s  website at 

Your rights in more detail…

Your right to be informed

You have a right to be informed as a data subject of the data we hold and process about you. This policy document is intended to do that. If you have any questions or if you feel that this Policy does not deal with your concerns or questions,  please contact our Data Protection Officer on the contact details below.  

Your right of access to personal information

We try to be as open as we can about giving people access to their personal information. Individuals can find out if we hold any personal information by making a request under the Data Protection Legislation. If we do hold information about you we will:

  • give you a description of it;
  • tell you why we are holding it;
  • tell you who it could be disclosed to and 
  • let you have a copy of the information

To make a request to us for any personal information we may hold you need to put the request in writing addressing it to our Data Protection Officer (contact details below). If you agree, we may try to deal with your request informally, for example by providing you with the specific information you need over the telephone. We will still need to verify your identity if we do this. We will need to satisfy ourselves as to your identity. Please therefore send us proof of who you are so that we know we are sending the information to the right person. We accept the following as proof:


  • a copy of your birth certificate
  • a copy of your passport
  • a copy of your driving licence

Please do not send original documents.

You will also need to let us have a postal or email address so that we can send you the information. We ask that you mark the covering envelope or email as 'Confidential'

Your right to rectification

This is a right to ask us to correct any wrong data we hold about you.  You can ask us to correct any mistakes by contacting the Data Protection Officer.

Your right to erasure

This is a right to ask us to delete any data we hold about you.  You can ask us to do this by contacting the Data Protection Officer. We will not be able to delete data in situations where there is a legal or regulatory need to retain it and we will explain this if it happens. We may also be unable to fully delete computer-held data because of system design restrictions and again we will explain this if it happens.

Your right to restrict processing

This is a right to ask us to restrict the processing of any data we hold about you.  You can ask us to do this by contacting the Data Protection Officer. 

Your right to data portability

You have a right to ask us to transfer certain data to another organisation. You can ask us to do this by contacting the Data Protection Officer

Your right to object

When and if we process your data based on our legitimate interests, you have a right to object to that processing. You can ask us to do this by contacting the Data Protection Officer. 

Your rights in relation to automated decision-making and profiling

You have rights where your data is involved in automated decision making and profiling. As we do not collect or process your data for that purpose, the right will generally not apply to data we hold on you. If it does, then you can ask us to do this by contacting the Data Protection Officer.

Changes to this privacy policy

We keep all our policies under regular review. This privacy policy was last updated on 4 July 2019

How to contact us

Our Data Protection Officer is Paul Berwin who may be contacted on 01423 509000 and at

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