This policy applies to all our current and previous clients, our subcontractors, the attorneys for whom we act as correspondents, all persons or entities who send us an email and all visitors to our website (“you”).
The purpose of this policy is to describe the way we collect, store, use and protect information that can be associated with a specific natural or juristic person and can be used to identify that person (“personal information”), as defined in the Protection of Personal Information Act, No 4 of 2013 (“POPIA”).
1. INFORMATION OFFICER
We have registered Henry Shields as information officer for Shields Attorneys. His contact information is as follows:
Telephone: 021 421 18 18
2. PERSONAL INFORMATION
2.1 Personal information includes the following:
2.1.1 Information collected on completion of our new-client form and the signing of our Terms of Engagement;
2.1.2 All other information necessary to perform our obligations in terms of our Terms of Engagement, or as required by law, regulations, codes or treaties; and
2.1.3 Any optional information that you voluntarily provide to us.
2.2 Personal information excludes:
2.2.1 Information that has been made anonymous so that it does not identify a specific person;
2.2.2 Permanently de-identified information that does not relate to or cannot be traced back to you specifically;
2.2.3 Non-personal statistical information and any other information that you have provided voluntarily in an open, public environment or forum, including (without limitation) any blog, chat room, community, classifieds or discussion board. Because the information has been disclosed in a public forum, it is no longer confidential and does not constitute personal information subject to protection under this policy.
3. ACCEPTANCE OF TERMS
You must accept all the terms of this policy when you make use of any legal service or platform that we provide. If you do not agree with everything in this policy, then we may refuse you to make use of any of our legal services. By accepting this policy, you are deemed to have read, understood, accepted and agreed to be bound by all its terms.
We may change the terms of this policy at any time. We will notify you of any changes by placing a notice in a prominent place on the website, or by email. If you do not agree with the changes, you must advise us and we may recommend you stop using our services. If you continue to use the services following notification of a change to the terms, the changed terms will apply to you and you will be deemed to have accepted such terms.
5. COLLECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION
5.1 Once you become a client of ours, you will no longer be anonymous to us as you will provide us with all your personal information, which we require in terms of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act 38 of 2001 (“FICA”) and which is necessary to perform our obligations in terms of our mandate provided by you. This personal information will include (if applicable), but is not limited to:
5.1.1 Name, surname, identity number, company name, company registration number, VAT number, tax number;
5.1.2 Physical address, postal address, email address, telephone number, postal code;
5.1.3 Next of kin information;
5.1.4 Banking details;
5.1.5 Credit will be searched where necessary; and
5.1.6 All other necessary documentation or records.
5.2 We may further collect your personal information from any other source to confirm and supplement the personal information which you have provided to us, as stated in clause 5.1. above.
5.3 In order to perform our obligations in terms of our mandate provided by you, you will be asked to provide us with necessary information on a voluntary basis (“voluntary information”).
5.4 You may also be asked to provide optional information on a voluntary basis (“optional information”). This includes information from any promotions, responses to surveys, registration and subscriptions for certain additional services or other optional services we provide.
5.6 When you access our website, we may send one or more cookies (small text files containing a string of alphanumeric characters) to your computer to collect certain usage information. We make use of session cookies (which disappear after you close your browser) and persistent cookies (which remain after you close your browser, and which can be removed manually), which may be used by your browser on subsequent visits to our website. We use information gathered by cookies to improve the website.
5.7 We may use any website information and optional information provided by you for such purposes as indicated to you at the time you agree to provide such optional information.
6. CONSENT TO COLLECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION
6.1 We will obtain your consent to collect personal information in accordance with applicable law, should such collection of personal information not be required by law; and
6.2 At the time you provide us with any voluntary, optional and website information.
7. USE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION
7.1 Other than the uses set out in clauses 5.4., 5.5. and 5.6., we will use your personal information in the following ways:
7.1.1 As required by law in terms of FICA;
7.1.2 For the purposes of performing our obligations in terms of our mandate as instructed by you;
7.1.3 The processing of your personal information in the course of complying with the requirements of the applicable legal process;
7.1.4 For purposes of collection of debt in the case of non-payment of fees;
7.1.5 For the ceding of debt in the case of non-payment of fees; and
8. DISCLOSURE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION
8.1 We may disclose your personal information to any of our employees, our subcontractors, or any third party that includes, but is not limited to, counsel, correspondents, sheriffs, court staff, Master of the High Court, banks, South African Revenue Service, tax practitioners, taxing consultants, consulting attorneys, tracing agents or Company and Intellectual Property Commission search works, as is required by law, or for the performance of our obligations in terms of our mandate or as is required for the applicable legal process.
8.2 If you contact us regarding your experience with using our service or for any complaints relating to our invoices or statements of accounts, we may disclose your personal information as required by law, governmental audit or taxing of accounts.
8.3 We may further disclose personal information if required:
8.3.1 by a subpoena or court order;
8.3.2 to comply with any law;
8.3.3 to protect the safety of any individual or the general public; or
8.3.4 to prevent violation of our terms of engagement.
8.5 We may disclose your personal information in the case of substitution and accession of attorneys of record.
9. SECURITY OF PERSONAL INFORMATION
We protect your personal information using computer safeguards such as firewalls and data encryption to protect personal information, and we authorise access to personal information only to those employees who require it to fulfil their job responsibilities. Should you have any concerns regarding the security of your personal information, you are welcome to request our security certificate.
10. ACCURATE AND UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION
We will try to keep the personal information we collect as accurate, complete and up to date as necessary. From time to time, we may request you to update your personal information. You are able to review or update any personal information that we hold on you by emailing us or phoning us. Please note that in order to better protect you and safeguard your personal information, we do take steps to verify your identity.
11. RETENTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION
11.1 We will retain your personal information for as long as it is necessary to fulfil our obligation in terms of the mandate provided by you.
11.2 We will further retain your personal information as is required or authorised by law.
12. REQUESTS FOR ACCESS TO RECORDS IN TERMS OF THE PROMOTION OF ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT 2 OF 2000 (“PAIA”)
Should your personal information be part of a request for access to records in terms of PAIA, we will obtain your consent first by requesting you complete a sharing of personal information form before providing such information to the requester.
13. TRANSFERS OF PERSONAL INFORMATION OUTSIDE SOUTH AFRICA
We may transmit or transfer personal information outside South Africa to a foreign country. You consent that personal information may be stored on servers located outside South Africa and processed in a foreign country whose laws protecting personal information may not be the same as the laws in South Africa.
14. UPDATING OR REMOVING PERSONAL INFORMATION
14.1 You may choose to correct or update your personal information by informing us of such changes either by email or by phone.
14.2 You may further request that we remove your personal information by contacting us either by email or by phone, if such a removal is not prohibited by law.