Privacy Policy & Business Statement

Privacy Policy

  1. Introduction
  2. Information we collect about you
  3. Telephone Calls
  4. How will we use the information we collect?
  5. How long do we keep your data?
  6. Sensitive Personal Data
  7. When do we share your information?
  8. How do we protect your personal data?
  9. Marketing
  10. Your Rights
  11. Automated individual decision-making, including profiling
  12. Data protection for Employment and Recruitment Procedures
  13. How to exercise your Rights
  14. How to complain about the use of your data

1. Introduction

Stockdale Legal Limited is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. We take your privacy very seriously and it is important to us that you can use and enjoy our website without having to compromise your privacy in any way.

This privacy policy (together with our terms of use) sets out the basis on which any personal data we collect from you, or that you provide to us, will be processed by us. Please read the following carefully to understand our views and practices regarding your personal data and how we will treat it. By visiting www.stockdalelegal.com you are accepting and consenting to the practices described in this policy.  This policy applies to information we collect about people who use our services and our website.

For the purpose of data protection legislation (which includes the Data Protection Act 1998, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and any other subsequent data protection legislation in force from time to time), the data controller is Stockdale Legal Limited, First Floor, Healthaid House, Marlborough Hill, Harrow, Middlesex, HA1 1UD.

2. Information we collect about you

When you use our website

Like most websites, there is certain information that is automatically tracked by the internet service provider, including the website you just came from, which URL you go to next, the browser you are using and any searches you have done. This information is used for internal purposes to monitor activity on the website only and is kept in a form which does not identify individuals.

We also collect information from you through our website when:

  • you complete our on-line forms or when you provide personal information in the recruitment section of the website;
  • you book and/or pay for the services that we provide; and
  • you complete any “contact us” forms or claim forms.

The information collected may include; your name, data of birth, contact information including email address, further information to be added, and other information relevant to your enquiry.

When you become a client by any other method

We will need to collect information in order to provide our service to you.

The information collected may include; name and job title, Date of birth, contact information including email address or other information relevant to your matter.

3. Telephone Calls

We reserve the right to monitor and or record telephone calls subject to and in accordance with law. All recordings belong to us and any records so kept shall be conclusive proof of instructions given or alleged to have been given in the event of a dispute. Any information or any such recordings are subject to disclosure under the data protection legislation.

4. How will we use the information we collect?

The information you provide to us will be used for the following reasons:

  • to manage our relationship with you and our clients
  • to provide you with the best service possible
  • to improve our services
  • provide information relating to us if you indicate that you want to receive marketing material or similar communications
  • provide aggregate information and statistics for the purposes of monitoring website usage in order to help Stockdale Legal develop their Website and services. These statistics will not include information that can be used to identify any individual

5. How long do we keep your data?

We will retain records after our business relationship has ended in accordance with our Data Retention Policy, which can be accessed on our website. This is usually for a period of six years. After this time your data will be securely deleted.

Where data is processed solely for marketing purposes, any information we use for this purpose will be kept until you notify us that you no longer wish to receive this information.

6. Sensitive Personal Data

It may benefit you to notify us of any health condition or disability you have so that we are aware of these conditions and how they affect you.  This will allow us to take any reasonable steps to accommodate specific needs or requirements you have when providing our services to you.  This type of information is known under the law as ‘special category information’ (or ‘sensitive personal data’).  We may also need you to provide us with this type data in order to provide our service to you.  We will only share this type of data where it is necessary to progress your legal matter or with your specific consent.

7. When do we share your information?

We reserve the right to pass any or all of your personal information to the police or any other relevant body for the purposes of crime protection or prevention or for any purpose associated with your misuse, or suspected misuse of the website or in relation to any legal proceedings or prospective legal proceedings. We may also disclose any or all of your personal information to our auditors for audit purposes from time to time or other organisations with whom we are jointly organising an event such as a legal seminar.

Third parties may process information on our behalf, such as our IT service providers, and will have incidental access to your information. However, they will be obliged to act only on our instructions and to keep your information secure. Independent suppliers, such as experts, Counsel, enquiry agents and costs draftsmen, who may handle your information as our client in the course of legal proceedings are required to respect and preserve as confidential your personal information. If you are a client of the firm, please see your client care letter and terms of business for further details of third parties to whom we may disclose your personal information.

The personal data that we collect from you may be transferred to, and stored at, a destination outside the European Area (EEA). Where this is necessary we will put in place appropriate protection to make sure your personal data remains adequately protected.

8. How do we protect your personal data?

We take the security and protection of your personal data very seriously and have a number of technical and organisational measures in place to ensure that your data is protected at all times.

9. Marketing

Our marketing e-mails will contain an opt-out button. Please use this button if you would like us to stop sending you marketing material. Alternatively, you can ask us to stop sending you marketing material at any time by writing to our marketing department at office@stockdalelegal.com. Please specify whether you wish to stop receiving e-newsletters/bulletins or details of our seminars or both.

10. Your Rights

Under data protection legislation, you have several rights regarding the use of your personal data, as follows:

a) The Right of Confirmation and Access

As a data subject you have the right to obtain confirmation from the data controller as to whether or not personal data concerning you is being processed.  You also have the right to obtain from us free information about your personal data stored at any time and a copy of this information.  Furthermore, you have the right to obtain information as to whether personal data is transferred to a third country or to an international organisation.  Where this is the case, you also have the right to be informed of the appropriate safeguards relating to the transfer.

b) Right to Rectification and Erasure (Right to be Forgotten)

You have the right to ask us to rectify inaccurate data or to complete any incomplete personal data that we hold.

You have the right to ask us to erase your personal data without delay where one of the statutory grounds applies, so long as the processing is not necessary.  If you request us to erase your personal data, then this means that our business relationship will end as we cannot provide our service without processing your data.

c) Right of Restriction of Processing/Right to Object

You have the right to restrict the processing of your personal data under certain circumstances, including if you have contested its accuracy and while this is being verified by us, or if you have objected to its processing and while we are considering whether we have legitimate grounds to continue to do so. You have the right to object, on grounds relating to your particular situation, at any time, to the processing of personal data concerning you.

d) Right of Data Portability

You also have the right for certain data you have given us to be provided to you in a structured and commonly used electronic format (for example, a Microsoft Excel file), so that you can move, copy or transfer this data easily to another data controller.  You may also request that we transmit this data directly to another organisation where it is practical for us to do so.

11. Automated individual decision-making, including profiling

You have the right not to be subjected to a decision based solely on automated processing, including profiling.  We do not process any personal data in this way.

12. Data protection for Employment and Recruitment Procedures

Details of how we process data for recruitment or employment procedures are covered separately and will be provided to applicants/employees as part of the HR process.

13. How to exercise your Rights

If you wish to contact us in respect of any of the Rights described above, please get in touch with our Data Protection Officer, Telephone: +44(0)207 3627 3533. Email: office@stockdalelegal.com. We will respond to your request free of charge and usually within one month.

14. How to complain about the use of your data

If you wish to raise a complaint about how we have handled your personal data, including in relation to any of the rights outlined above, you can contact us on the details below at the start of this notice and we will investigate the matter for you.

If you are not satisfied with our response, or believe we are processing your data unfairly or unlawfully, you can complain to the Supervisory Authority – Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wimslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.  You can find further information about the ICO and their complaints procedure here: https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/

This notice was last updated on 22/06/2020.  We may change this notice by updating this page to reflect changes in the law or our privacy practices.  However, we will not use your Personal Data in any new ways without your consent.  The most up to date version of the notice can be viewed on our website www.stockdalelegal.com.

Cookies Policy

  1. Introduction
  2. How we use Cookies
  3. Links to other websites
  4. Managing Cookies
  5. Changes to this Cookies
  6. Policy
  7. Contact

1. Introduction

In this Cookies Policy, any use of the words “you”, “yours” or similar expressions shall mean any user of this website whatsoever. Terms such as “we”, “us, “our” or similar expressions shall mean the Stockdale Legal Limited website.

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 us know when you visit a particular site. Cookies allow web applications to respond to you as an individual. The web application can tailor its operations to your needs, likes and dislikes by gathering and remembering information about your preferences.

2. How We Use Cookies

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.

Overall, cookies help us provide you with a better website, by enabling us to monitor which pages you find useful and which you do not. A cookie in no way gives us access to your computer or any information about you, other than the data you choose to share with us.

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.

Opting out of Google’s use of cookies can be done by visiting their advertising opt-out page:

For other third-party vendors you can opt out at: http://www.youronlinechoices.com/uk/.

3. 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 privacy statement. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website in question.

Cookies on our website are used for a variety of different purposes, but generally speaking their use breaks down into the following categories:

a) Strictly Necessary Cookies: These are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

b) Analytical/Performance Cookies: These allow us to recognize and count the number of users of our website and see how such users navigate through our website. This helps to improve how our website works, for example, by ensuring that users can find what they are looking for easily.

c) Functionality Cookies: These improve the functional performance of our website and make it easier for you to use. For example, such cookies are used to remember that you have previously visited the website and asked to remain logged in to it.

The following table lists the cookies use on our website:

http://www.stockdalelegal.com

4. Managing Cookies

Cookie Name Purpose
_ga
_gat
_gid
These are third party cookies placed by Google that allow us to use the Google Analytics service.These cookies enable us to anonymously track how visitors access and browse our website, thereby enabling us to optimise and improve our service. Further information is available at:  www.google.co.uk/intl/en/analytics/privacyoverview.html

5. Changes To This Cookies Policy

Our policies and procedures are under continual review. We may, from time to time, update our cookies policy. Any such changes will be posted on this page.

6. Contact

Comments and requests regarding this Cookie Policy should be addressed to john.stockdale@stockdalelegal.com.

Terms of Use

Contents

  1. What’s in these terms?
  2. Who we are and how to contact us
  3. By using our site, you accept these terms
  4. There are other terms that may apply to you
  5. We make changes to these terms
  6. We may suspend or withdraw our site
  7. How you may use material on our site
  8. Do not rely on information on this site
  9. We are not responsible for websites we link to
  10. Our responsibility for loss or damage suffered by you
  11. We are not responsible for viruses and you must not introduce them
  12. Rules about linking to our site
  13. Which country’s laws apply to any disputes?

1. What’s in these terms?  

These terms tell you the rules for using our website.

  1. Who we are and how to contact us

Stockdale Legal Limited is a site operated by Stockdale. We are registered in England and Wales under company number: 11507716. Our registered office is First Floor, Healthaid House Marlborough Hill, Harrow HA1 1UD and our VAT number is 309 8992 51.

We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (“SRA”). The SRA’s Rules can be found in its Code of Conduct which is available through the following link.

www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/handbook/code/content.page

Stockdale are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, however we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Conduct Authority. This is to allow us to carry on insurance mediation activity in the UK, which is broadly advising on, selling and administration of insurance contracts. In certain circumstances, we are also able to offer a limited range of investment services provided they are complementary and incidental to the professional service you have asked us to provide. This part of our business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong is regulated by the SRA. The register can be accessed via the FCA website.

The Law Society of England and Wales is the designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial Services and Market Act 2000, however the responsibility for regulation and complaints handling has been separated from the Law Society’s representative function.

To contact us please email john.stockdale@stockdalelegal.com or telephone + 44 207 3627 3533

  1. By using our site, you accept these terms

By using our site, you confirm that you accept these terms of use and that you agree to comply with them.  If you do not agree with these terms, you must not use our site.

  1. There are other terms that may apply to you

These terms of use refer to the following additional terms, which also apply to the use of our site.

Privacy Policy

Cookie Policy

  1. We may make changes to these terms

We reserve the right to amend these terms. Each time you wish to use our site we would advise you to check these terms to ensure that you understand the terms applied at that time.

  1. We may suspend or withdraw our site

This site is available to users free of charge. We do not guarantee that our site, the content within the site will always be available. We may suspend or withdraw the availability of all or any part of this site for business and operational reasons. In the event suspension or withdrawal, a notice will be provided on the site.

You are responsible for ensuring that any individuals accessing this site via your internet connect should be aware of the terms of use and that they comply with them.

  1. How you may use material on our site

We own all the intellectual property rights on this site and the material published within it. All such rights are reserved and protected under copyright laws and treaties around the world.

You may print off and download extracts from our site for your personal use and you may draw the attention of others within your organisation to the content posted on our site. You must not modify the materials you have printed off or downloaded. You must not use any part of the content on our site for commercial purposes without obtaining permission from us to do so.

  1. Do not rely on information from this site

The content on our site is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to legal or other professional advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional advice before taking or refraining from any action based on the content on our site.

Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the site up to date, we make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressly or implied.

  1. We are not responsible for the websites we link to

We may provide links to other sites and organisations provided by third parties. These links are for information only and are not directly approved by us. We do not exercise any control over external sites and take no responsibility for the information you obtain from them.

  1. Our responsibility for loss or damaged suffered by you.

Whether you are a consumer or a business user:

  • We do not exclude or limit in any way our liability to you where it would be unlawful to do so. This includes liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence or the negligence of our employees, agents or subcontractors and for fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation.
  • Different limitations and exclusions of liability will apply to liability arising as a result of the supply of any services to you, which will be set out in our Terms of Business which you will receive when you engage us.

If you are a business user:

  • We exclude all implied conditions, warranties, representations or other terms that may apply to our site or any content on it.
  • We will not be liable to you for any loss or damage, whether in contract, tort (including negligence), breach of statutory duty, or otherwise, even if foreseeable, arising under or in connection with:
  • use of, or inability to use, our site; or
  • use of or reliance on any content displayed on our site.
  • We will not be liable for:
  • loss of profits, sales, business, or revenue;
  • business interruption;
  • loss of anticipated savings;
  • loss of business opportunity, goodwill or reputation; or
  • any indirect or consequential loss or damage.

If you are a consumer user:

  • Please note that we only provide our site for domestic and private use. You agree not to use our site for any commercial or business purposes, and we have no liability to you for any loss of profit, loss of business, business interruption, or loss of business opportunity. If defective digital content that we have supplied, damages a device or digital content belonging to you and this is caused by our failure to use reasonable care and skill, we will either repair the damage or pay you compensation. However, we will not be liable for damage that you could have avoided by following our advice to apply an update offered to you free of charge or for damage that was caused by you failing to correctly follow installation instructions or to have in place the minimum system requirements advised by us.
  1. We are not responsible for viruses and you must not introduce them

We do not guarantee that our site will be secure or free from bugs or viruses. You are responsible for configuring your information technology, computer programmes and platform to access our site. You should use your own virus protection software.

You must not misuse our site by knowingly introducing viruses, trojans, worms, logic bombs or other material that is malicious or technologically harmful. You must not attempt to gain unauthorised access to our site, the server on which our site is stored, or any server, computer or database connected to our site. You must not attack our site via a denial-of-service attack or a distributed denial-of service attack. By breaching this provision, you would commit a criminal offence under the Computer Misuse Act 1990. We will report any such breach to the relevant law enforcement authorities and we will co-operate with those authorities by disclosing your identity to them. In the event of such a breach, your right to use our site will cease immediately.

  1. Rules about linking to our site

You may link to our home page, provided you do so in a way that is fair and legal and does not damage our reputation or take advantage of it. You must not establish a link in such a way as to suggest any form of association, approval or endorsement on our part where none exists. You must not establish a link to our site in any website that is not owned by you.  Our site must not be framed on any other site, nor may you create a link to any part of our site other than the home page.  We reserve the right to withdraw linking permission without notice.

  1. Which country’s laws apply to any disputes?

If you are a consumer, please note that these terms of use, their subject matter and their formation, are governed by English law. You and we both agree that the courts of England and Wales will have exclusive jurisdiction except that if you are a resident of Northern Ireland you may also bring proceedings in Northern Ireland, and if you are resident of Scotland, you may also bring proceedings in Scotland.

If you are a business, these terms of use, their subject matter and their formation (and any non-contractual disputes or claims) are governed by English law. We both agree to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England.

Website Management Policy

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Definition
  3. Hosting, design and Security
  4. Responsibility
  5. Permitted and Prohibited use
  6. Links to third party websites
  7. Compliance
  8. Authority to make changes and update or delete content
  9. Regular Review of the Website
  10. Consideration of accessibility requirements for disabled clients
  1. Introduction

Website is of strategic importance to the reputation and operation of the firm.  We use it to provide clients with information about the firm, our partners and staff, the services we provide, our experience and relevant news and updates. It is also a selling tool to inform potential clients about us.

Our website contains pages of contents. It may also contain numerous external links with graphics, pictures, video and social media embedded within it.  It is therefore essential that the website is at all time accurate, up to date and compliant with all relevant legislation and codes of practice including the SRA code of Conduct.  This policy sets out how this can be achieved.  

  1. Definition

The firm’s main website is www.stockdalelegal.com. This domain name is owned on a long-term basis with ownership renewed at appropriate intervals. The firm may operate other websites for tactical or complain purposes and this policy also applies to any such websites.

Materials and information contained on the website(s) are expressly deemed to be for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal or professional advice. This is made clear to users in the Terms and Conditions.

  1. Hosting, design and Security

The website is designed and hosted by:

They are responsible for fundamental changes to the look and structure of the website under the supervision and instruction of the Marketing Department. The website has been moved to an “https” sign to heighten security, given the increase in online forms and overall website traffic.

The website sits on a dedicated server and is backed up to prevent any loss of content and potential spam attacks.

There is also in place, a downtime alarm that notifies key personnel in the event that the website was to drop, thus minimising the potential effect on the business and new clients using the website at the time.

Only John Stockdale has physical access to the website. Passwords are changed every 8 weeks to heighten security. In the event that a member of Stockdale Legal (who hold access to the website) leave either business, passwords are changed automatically.

  1. Responsibility

John Stockdale has overall responsibility for the website within the firm. It is his responsibility to ensure:

  • All content is accurate
  • Content does not infringe copyright
  • The site complies with the SRA Code of Conduct Section 7 and the Disability & Equality Act 2011
  • There is a privacy notice that explains how data collected from visitors is managed by the firm. This should include a Privacy Policy, a Cookie Policy and Terms & Conditions of use
  • Content is up to date at all times allowing a reasonable time to implement updates
  • Conditions for both uploading material and making external links have been clearly specified
  • SEO strategy including Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns including spend are agreed with departments in advance
  • The website is hosted securely and uptime levels exceed 99%
  • Passwords for the Content Management System (CMS) are effective and protect unauthorised access to making changes on the site
  • The website reflects Stockdale Legal’s brand values
  • Website performance is measured through [Google Analytics and KPIs] regularly reported
  • Website availability and security issues are constantly monitored and any issues raised are immediately reported to the hosting company, marketing team and IT manager with appropriate recovery action taken immediately
  1. Permitted and Prohibited use

The firm’s website should be used to promote the firm’s brand. Any content should seek to further these aims.

Examples of content includes:

  • General information regarding the firm such as its history and profile
  • Services provided by the firm
  • Staff profiles
  • Positive news stories regarding the firm
  • Recruitment and training contracts
  • Contact details

Content which is not permitted includes:

  • That which does not comply with the SRA Code of Conduct
  • Personal staff details
  • Libellous content
  1. Links to third party websites

The firm is not responsible for the content of third party websites, however any links must meet the following conditions:

  • Be relevant and appropriate
  • Operate effectively
  • Where appropriate, reciprocated
  • Not in breach of Stockdale Legal prohibited content rules, as specified above.
  1. Compliance

The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) regulations specify that all websites must have a requirement for user consent to any information being stored or accessed on their computer. Users must be provided with clear and comprehensive information on any such material. This does not apply where such access or storage is necessary for a service requested by the user.

  • The SRA Code of Conduct dictates that the website must include (but is not limited to) the following content:
  • the words “authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority”
  • the firm’s registered name and number
  • Links to SRA Code
  1. Authority to make changes and update or delete content

John Stockdale will use the skills and experience as appropriate to implement changes to the website whilst retaining overall responsibility as set out above.

  1. Regular Review of the Website

A full review of the website is conducted annually.

  1. Consideration of accessibility requirements for disabled clients

Much consideration has been given to the website accessibility requirements for disabled persons. Some practical points that we have covered during the design and build of the website and in our day to day website management includes:

  • We have not made the website dependant on colour and we underline important links where possible;
  • Where there is important information we have tried to use black text on a white background;
  • We have made the text on each page larger enough to read;
  • We ensure our images have ALT text;
  • We have not made the website pages dependent on images;
  • We have not used CAPTCHA filters on call back forms;
  • We have put the main content from each page first in the HTML code
  • We have divided the website into sections with appropriate headings &
  • We have limited Flash objects

Social Media Policy

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Scope
  3. Relevant Social Media
  4. Applicable use
  5. Consequences of breaches
  6. Responsibility for Implementation
  7. Compliance with related policies and agreements
  8. Procedure for business use of social media
  9. Use of social media in recruitment
  10. Personal use of social media
  11. Responsible use of social media
  12. Monitoring of use
  13. Review

 

  1. Introduction

1.1 Stockdale Legal Limited uses social media to support our clients and raise awareness of the firm. 

Stockdale does use social media sites, e.g. Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.  John Stockdale is responsible for reviewing the firm’s participation in and use of social media in our firm. He must be informed of any issues, problems or developments concerning social media and will conduct a review of our participation or use at least annually.

Stockdale recognises that employees may wish to participate in or use social media for personal use. No employee must in any way bring the firm, its clients or its business partners into disrepute. You must not publish any information particularly any confidential or sensitive information relating to them when using social media.

Any breach of these rules will be dealt with through the firm’s disciplinary procedures.

1.2 John Stockdale leads our firm’s social media work. No other employee or person is authorised to participate in the firm’s social media activities without agreement.

1.3 Stockdale participates in the following social media site(s):  Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook.  Information posted or viewed on social media sites may constitute published material. Therefore, reproduction of information posted or otherwise available over the internet may only be done by John Stockdale who has delegated with authority to do this on behalf of the firm.

1.4 Employees must not act in such a way as to breach copyright or the licensing conditions of any internet site or computer program. Any breach of our social media rules or guidance will be dealt with through our disciplinary procedures.

2 Scope

2.1 This policy covers all individuals working at all levels and grades, including partners, senior managers, officers, directors, employees, consultants, contractors, trainees, home workers, part-time and fixed-term employees, casual and agency staff and volunteers, collectively referred to as staff in this policy.

2.2 Third parties who have access to the firm’s electronic communication systems and equipment are also required to comply with this policy.

3 Relevant social media

3.1 This policy deals with the use of all forms of social media, including, though not exclusively and exhaustively:

  • Facebook;
  • LinkedIn;
  • Twitter;
  • Wikipedia;
  • all other social networking sites and all internet postings, including blogs.

4 Applicable use

4.1 The policy applies to business and personal use of social media whether:

(a) during office hours or otherwise;

(b) it is accessed using the firm’s IT facilities and equipment;

(c) it is accessed using equipment belonging to members of staff.

5 Consequences of breach

5.1 Breaching this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. Disciplinary action may be taken regardless of whether the breach is committed during working hours, and regardless of whether the firm’s equipment or facilities are used for the purpose of committing the breach.

5.2 Any member of staff suspected of committing a breach of this policy will be required to co-operate with the firm’s investigation, which may involve handing over relevant passwords and login details.

5.3 Staff may be required to remove internet postings which are deemed to constitute a breach of this policy, and failure to comply with such a request may in itself result in disciplinary action.

5.4 John Stockdale has the responsibility for ensuring that any person who may be involved with administration or investigations carried out under this policy receives regular and appropriate training to assist them with these duties.

6 Responsibility for implementation

6.1 John Stockdale has overall responsibility for the effective operation of this policy.  Responsibility for monitoring the operation of this policy lies with John Stockdale.

6.2 Questions regarding the content or application of this policy should be directed to John Stockdale.

6.3 All partners and managers have a responsibility to maintain compliance with this policy by ensuring that all members of staff understand the standards of behaviour expected of them, and by taking action when behaviour falls below what is required. Relevant training will be provided to enable individuals to do this.

6.4 Every member of staff has a responsibility to comply with this policy and must ensure that they take the time to read and understand it.

6.5 Any misuse of social media should be reported to John Stockdale.

7 Compliance with related policies and agreements

Prohibited use and content

7. 1 Social media should never be used in a way that breaches any of the firm’s policies. If an internet post were to breach any of the firm’s policies in another forum, it would also breach them in an online forum. For example, partners and staff are prohibited from using social media to:

  • breach the firm’s electronic information and communications systems policy;
  • breach the firm’s obligations with respect to the rules of relevant regulatory bodies;
  • breach any obligations they may have relating to confidentiality;
  • breach the firm’s disciplinary rules;
  • defame or disparage the organisation or its affiliates, clients, business partners, suppliers, vendors or other stakeholders;
  • harass or bully other staff in any way;
  • breach the firm’s anti-harassment and bullying policy;
  • unlawfully discriminate against other staff or third parties;
  • breach the firm’s equality and diversity policy;
  • breach the firm’s data protection policy (for example, by disclosing personal information about a colleague online);
  • breach any other laws or ethical standards (for example, using social media in a false or misleading way, such as by claiming to be someone other than themselves or by making misleading statements);
  • provide references for other individuals on social or professional networking sites, because such references, either positive or negative, can be attributed to the firm, and create legal liability for both the author of the reference and the firm.

7. 2 Breaches of any of the above policies will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

8 Procedure for the business use of social media

8.1 Anyone who is required to use social media on behalf of the firm must seek approval for such communication from John Stockdale, who will ensure that the following conditions are met:

(a) The communication has been approved by the appropriate head of department.

(b) Client confidentiality is maintained.

(c) Any information relating to the firm is accurate and can be used without breaching or jeopardising the firm’s ability to maintain confidentiality of its strategic and business information.

(d) The firm’s logo and/or colour scheme(s) is/are used in compliance with firm wide protocols for their use.

(e) The SRA Code of Conduct and all legislative and regulatory requirements and restrictions are complied with.

8.2 The firm will ensure that individuals who are authorised to use social media on its behalf are trained to do so.

8.3 Anyone who is contacted for comments about the firm with a view to publication anywhere, including in any social media outlet, must direct the enquiry to John Stockdale and only act in accordance with his subsequent instructions.

9 Use of social media in recruitment

9.1 The firm may use internet searches to perform due diligence on candidates in the course of recruitment. Where this is done, the firm will act in accordance with its data protection and equality and diversity obligations. The Information Commissioner has published guidance on the use of social media in recruitment which should be followed.

10 Personal use of social media

10.1 Stockdale recognises that employees may wish to participate in or use social media for personal use. No employee must in any way bring the firm, its staff, its existing or prospective clients or third-party individuals/entities connected to the firm into disrepute or publish any information, particularly anything confidential or sensitive, relating to them when participating in, using or publishing content on any social media site or channel.

10.2 Any breach of our social media rules or guidance will be considered a disciplinary matter to be dealt with through our disciplinary procedures.

11 Responsible use of social media

11.1 Given below are common sense guidelines and recommendations for using social media responsibly and safely.

11.2 Protecting the firm’s business reputation:

(a) Staff must not post disparaging or defamatory statements about:

• the firm;

• the firm’s clients;

• suppliers and vendors;

• other affiliates and stakeholders.

(b) Staff must avoid social media communications that might be misconstrued in a way that could damage the firm’s business reputation, even indirectly.

(c) Staff must make it clear in social media postings that they are speaking on their own behalf; write in the first person; and use a personal email address when communicating via social media.

(d) Staff are personally responsible for what they communicate in social media and should remember that what they publish might remain available for reading for a long time by anyone, including people inside or outside the firm, future employers and social acquaintances.

(e) If any social media communication discloses affiliation as an employee of the firm, individuals must make it clear that their views do not represent those of the firm. The following phrase must be inserted at the beginning of the communication:

  • The views in this policy do not represent the views of my employer.  Individuals must also ensure that their profiles and any content they post convey an image similar to that presented to clients and colleagues.

(f) Comments about sensitive business-related topics, such as the performance of the firm, must not be posted even if it is made clear that the individual’s views on such topics do not represent those of the firm. They could still damage the firm’s reputation.

(g) Any uncertainty or concern about the appropriateness of any statement or posting, must be discussed with John Stockdale prior to use.

(h) If a member of staff sees content in a social media posting that disparages or reflects poorly on the firm or the firm’s stakeholders, he/she should contact one of the partners. Everyone is responsible for protecting the firm’s business reputation.

11.3 Respecting intellectual property and confidential information:

(a) Staff must not do anything to jeopardise the firm’s business and other confidential information and intellectual property through the use of social media.

(b) Staff must avoid misappropriating or infringing the intellectual property of other companies and individuals, which can create liabilities for the firm, as well as the individual author.

(c) Staff must not use the firm’s logos, brand names, slogans or other trademarks, or post any of the firm’s confidential or proprietary information without prior written permission.

(d) In order to protect individuals and the firm against liability for copyright infringement, where appropriate, sources of particular information posted or uploaded must be accurately cited. If there are any questions about whether a particular post or upload might violate copyright or a trademark, John Stockdale must be consulted before making the communication.

(e) The contact details of business acquaintances made during the course of employment are regarded as the firm’s confidential information, and as such, individuals will be required to delete all such details from their personal social networking accounts upon termination of employment.

11.4 Respecting colleagues, clients, partners and suppliers:

(a) Individuals must not post anything:

(i) that colleagues or the firm’s customers, clients, business partners, suppliers, vendors or other stakeholders would find offensive, including discriminatory comments, insults or obscenities;

(ii) relating to colleagues or the firm’s clients, business partners, suppliers, vendors or other stakeholders without their written permission.

12 Monitoring of use

12.1 The contents of the firm’s IT resources and communications systems are the firm’s property. Therefore, staff should have no expectation of privacy in any message, file, data, document, facsimile, telephone conversation, social media post, conversation or message, or any other kind of information or communications transmitted to, received or printed from, or stored or recorded on the firm’s electronic information and communications systems.

12.2 The firm reserves the right to, and will from time to time, monitor, intercept and review, without further notice, staff activities using the firm’s IT resources and communications systems, including, but not limited to, social media postings and activities, in order to ensure that this policy is being complied with, and for legitimate business purposes.

12.3 Individuals consent to such monitoring by their acknowledgement of this policy and their use of such resources and systems. This might include, without limitation, the monitoring, interception, accessing, recording, disclosing, inspecting, reviewing, retrieving and printing of transactions, messages, communications, postings, log-ins, recordings and other uses of the systems, as well as keystroke capturing and other network monitoring technologies.

12.4 The firm may store copies of such data or communications for a period of time after they are created and may delete such copies from time to time without notice.

12.5 Members of staff must not use the firm’s IT resources and communications systems for any matter that they wish to be kept private or confidential from the firm.

13 Review of this policy

13.1 John Stockdale will review this policy at least annually to ensure that it:

(a) meets legal requirements;

(b) reflects best firm; and

(c) is in effective use throughout the firm.

LEGAL NOTICES

Client satisfaction and complaints management

Stockdale Legal is a company authorised and regulated by the SRA.  As such, Stockdale Legal adheres to the SRA’s procedures and policies on handling any client complaints and, in accordance with SRA requirements, publish our approach to complaints on our website, as set out below.

For obvious reasons, we strive to maintain client satisfaction at all times.

Where this cannot be achieved and you, as a client, are unhappy or concerned about the service we provide, please let us know – we’ll do our best to resolve the issue.  And if you wish to make a formal complaint, please refer to our complaints procedure, available on request. (Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your work.)

The Legal Ombudsman can help you if we are unable to resolve your complaint. They will look at your complaint independently. (Again, it will not affect how we handle your work.)

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 6 months of receiving a final response to your complaint

and

  • no more than 6 years from the date of act/omission; or
  • no more than 3 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:

www.legalombudsman.org.uk

0300 555 0333

enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ The SRA 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