Brooks Barristers & Solicitors (“Brooks”)
recognizes the importance of privacy and the sensitivity of personal
information. As lawyers we have a professional obligation to keep
confidential all information we receive within a lawyer-client relationship.
To ensure accountability, we have developed this policy, and trained
our professionals about our policies and practices. This document
explains how we use and disclose that information, the choices you
have regarding such use and disclosure, and how you may correct
and have access to that information.
1. WHY DOES BROOKS NEED PERSONAL INFORMATION?
Brooks provides legal services and products to a wide range of clients.
In doing so, we also produce direct marketing materials concerning
its services and developments in the law.
2. WHAT PERSONAL INFORMATION DO WE COLLECT?
Personal information is any information that identifies you, or
by which your identity could be deduced. If we did not collect and
use your personal information we could not provide you with legal
services. According to the Commissioner’s Guidelines, the
definition encompasses such information as name, age, weight, height,
medical records, income, purchases, spending habits, race, ethnic
origin, colour, blood type, DNA code, fingerprints, marital status,
religion, education, home address and telephone number.
3. HOW DO WE COLLECT YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION?
We collect information only by lawful and fair means and not in
an unreasonably intrusive way. Wherever possible we collect your
personal information directly from you, at the start of a retainer
and in the course of our representation.
Sometimes we may obtain information about you from other sources:
• your insurance company;
• your real estate agent in a property transaction;
• from a government agency or registry;
• your employer, if we are acting for you, at its request;
• your accountant.
4. WHEN AND HOW DO WE OBTAIN CONSENT?
In most cases, we shall ask you to specifically consent, if we collect,
use, or disclose your personal information. Normally, we ask for
your consent in writing, but in some circumstances, we may accept
your oral consent. Sometimes, your consent may be implied through
your conduct with us.
In certain circumstances, as permitted or required by law, we may
collect, use or disclose personal information without your knowledge
or consent. These circumstances include (where applicable): personal
information which is subject to solicitor-client privilege; information
on individuals which is publicly available where collection or use
is clearly in the interests of the individual and consent cannot
be obtained in a timely way; to investigate a breach of any agreement
or contravention of a law; to comply with a subpoena, warrant, court
order or as required or otherwise permitted by law.
When your consent is required, you can withdraw consent at any time
(unless withdrawing the consent would frustrate the performance
of legal obligations), and upon providing us with a 30-days notice.
However, the withdrawal of your consent may impact on our ability
to serve you and to maintain our relationship.
5. HOW DO WE MAKE USE OF YOUR INFORMATION?
Brooks only collects the personal information necessary to fulfil
the purposes identified to you prior to or at the time of collection,
or any other reasonable and legitimate purposes or as required by
Brooks does not, as a condition of supplying a service to you, require
consent to the collection, use or disclosure of personal information
beyond that reasonably required for such purposes, or to comply
with its obligations under applicable law.
Brooks usually collects and uses your personal information for the
i) collecting, recording and using the information
relevant to the performance of the services rendered to and for
ii) recording and determining your various services in your relationship
iii) administration, billing, accounting and collection in relation
to your business and relationship with us;
iv) protecting against fraud and error;
v) providing direct marketing materials to you regarding our services;
vi) communicating with you generally or to ensure your satisfaction;
vii) communicating the information to a sub-contractor (or other
agents or intermediaries) in the course of a contract or mandate
for the performance of any of the purposes listed above.
Brooks does not disclose your personal information
to any third party to enable them to market their products and services.
For example, we do not provide our client mailing lists to other
law firms. We ensure that third parties which are engaged to perform
services on our behalf and are provided with personal information
comparable levels of security protection or, when required, by ensuring
us (through a confidentiality agreement) that they will not use
or disclose the personal information for any other purpose that
for which the personal information was communicated.
6. HOW DO WE DISCLOSE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION?
Under certain circumstances, Brooks will disclose your personal
• when we are required or authorized by law to do so, for
example if a court issues a subpoena;
• when you have consented to the disclosure;
• when the legal services we are providing to you requires
us give your information to third parties (for example a lender
in a real estate mortgage transaction) your consent will be implied,
unless you tell us otherwise;
• where it is necessary to establish or collect fees;
• if we engage a third party to provide administrative services
to us (like computer back-up services or archival file storage)
• if we engage expert witnesses on your behalf;
• if we retain other law firms in other jurisdictions, on
• if the information is already publicly known.
8. HOW LONG WILL WE UTILIZE, DISCLOSE OR
RETAIN YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION?
We may keep a record of your personal information, including correspondence
or comments, in the applicable file specific to you. We will utilize,
disclose or retain your personal information for as long as necessary
to fulfill the purposes for which it was collected and as required
or otherwise permitted by law. We will establish minimum and maximum
retention periods and procedures for maintaining and destroying
your personal information.
9. WHY IS UPDATING YOUR INFORMATION IMPORTANT?
Since we use your personal information to provide legal services
to you, it is important that the information be accurate and up-to-date.
We will not routinely update your personal information, unless such
a process is necessary. If during the course of the retainer, any
of your information changes, please inform us so that we can make
any necessary changes.
10. HOW DO WE CORRECT ERRORS?
If Brooks holds information about you and you can establish that
it is not accurate, complete and up-to-date, Brooks will take reasonable
steps to correct it.
11. IS MY PERSONAL INFORMATION SECURE?
Brooks takes all reasonable precautions to ensure that your personal
information is kept safe from loss, unauthorized access, modification
or disclosure. Among the steps taken to protect your information
• premises security;
• restricted file access to personal information;
• deploying technological safeguards like security software
and firewalls to prevent hacking or unauthorized computer access;
• internal password and security policies.
12. HOW FAST WILL WE RESPOND TO YOUR WRITTEN
We will make every reasonable effort to respond to each of your
written requests not later than thirty (30) days after receipt of
such requests. When applicable, we will advise you in writing if
we cannot meet your requests within this time limit. When applicable,
you have the right to make a complaint to the appropriate Privacy
Authority in respect of this time limit.
13. HOW DO YOU ACCESS TO YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION?
Subject to the exceptions provided by the applicable law, we will
make available to you any specific personal information about you
that we have collected, utilized or disclosed, upon your written
Summary information is available on request. More detailed requests
which require archive or other retrieval costs may be subject to
our normal professional and disbursement fees.
14. CAN I BE DENIED ACCESS TO MY PERSONAL
Your rights to access your personal information are not absolute.
We may deny access when:
• denial of access is required or authorized by law (for example,
when a record containing personal information about you is subject
to a claim of legal professional privilege by one of our clients)
• information relates to existing or anticipated legal proceedings
• when granting you access would have an unreasonable impact
on other people's privacy;
• when to do so would prejudice negotiations with you;
• to protect our firm's rights and property;
• where the request is frivolous or vexatious.
If we deny your request for access to, or refuse a request to correct
information, we shall explain why.
Brooks does not use your Social Insurance Number as a way of identifying
or organizing the information we hold upon you.
16. CREDIT BUREAUS
To help us make credit decisions about clients, prevent fraud, check
the identity of new clients and prevent money-laundering, we may
on occasion, request information about you from the files of consumer
17. COMMUNICATING WITH US
You should be aware that e-mail is not a 100% secure medium, and
you should be aware of this when contacting us to send personal
or confidential information.
Since Brooks regularly reviews all of its policies and procedures,
19. REQUESTS FOR ACCESS
If you have any questions, or wish to access your personal information,
please write to our Privacy Contact at:
Richard M. Brooks
Brooks Barristers & Solicitors
261 Davenport Road, Suite 300
If you are not satisfied with our response, the Privacy Commissioner
of Canada can be reached at:
112 Kent Street
Our website (www.brookslaw.ca) contains links to other sites, which
other commercial websites, we may monitor traffic patterns, site
usage and related site information in order to optimise our web
service. We may provide aggregated information to third parties,
but these statistics do not include any identifiable personal information.