The New South Wales Bar Association (the Association) is committed to complying with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (the Privacy Act) and the Australian Privacy Principles contained in the Privacy Act when managing personal information.
COLLECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION
The Association collects and holds personal information of prospective, current and former:
- members of the Association;
- holders of New South Wales Barristers’ Practising Certificates;
- clients and suppliers;
- Legal Assistance Referral Scheme (LARS) participants; and
- other persons who interact with the Association (e.g. by registering to attend events, receive materials or otherwise engage with the Association and its activities).
The kinds of personal information that we collect and hold comprises (depending on your relationship with the Association):
- your personal details (e.g. name, contact details, date of birth, signature, employment history and qualifications, titles, whether you identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander);
- your practice details (e.g. your chambers contact details, practising history);
- your membership information (e.g. membership history, details related to the Association’s committees, Bar Council and senior counsel nominations);
- your financial or billing information (e.g. bank account, payment information and billing address);
- details about your conduct and fitness to practise as a barrister (including your criminal record, information about any professional conduct complaints or disciplinary actions, bankruptcy status and other matters that we are required or authorised to collect under relevant legal profession legislation);
- other sensitive information such as health information (e.g. special dietary needs, disabilities and other); and
- opinions about you (whether related to the kinds of personal information listed above or otherwise).
The Association generally collects your personal information directly from you. For example, we collect personal information from our members and holders of New South Wales Barristers’ Practising Certificates through our annual practising certificate renewal process. We collect personal information from other persons who interact with us through telephone calls, emails, written correspondence, online registration forms and other communication channels that the Association makes available from time to time.
In some circumstances, we may collect your personal information from a third party (e.g. if we receive a complaint relating to your practice as a barrister), from a public record, or by some other indirect means if we are authorised to do so by law or if it would be unreasonable or impracticable to collect it from you directly.
If we are unable to collect some or all of the personal information that we require from you, we may not be able to deal with your query, process your application, provide you with our product or service or otherwise carry out our functions or activities.
PURPOSES OF COLLECTING, HOLDING, USING AND DISCLOSING PERSONAL INFORMATION
The Association collects, holds, uses and discloses personal information to:
- fulfil our functions and responsibilities under the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW), the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014 and the regulations and rules made under those Acts (‘the legal profession legislation’), and otherwise undertake our regulatory functions through the work of the Bar Council and its committees.
- fulfil our obligations under, and ensure compliance with, other laws (such as the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)) and applicable regulatory, accounting, reporting and other professional standards by which the Association is bound.
- undertake the activities and functions of a professional association and membership body for NSW barristers, which includes:
- maintaining databases of members and holders of practising certificates;
- supporting the work of the Association’s committees, working groups and the Bar Council;
- co-ordinating pro bono or reduced-cost legal services to underprivileged sections of the community through the Association’s Legal Assistance Referral Scheme (LARS);
- operating the ‘Find a Barrister’ platform;
- undertaking policy and law reform work aimed at promoting the administration of justice;
- conducting research and projects aimed at promoting, maintaining and improving the interests and standards of members and NSW barristers generally;
- operating the Bar Library;
- appointing as senior counsel (SCs) barristers who have demonstrated outstanding skill as advocates and advisers in the administration of justice;
- nominating and responding to nominations of members for awards, honours and other forms of professional recognition (including external awards);
- organising the Bar Exams and the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) program, including maintaining a CPD online catalogue and running CPD conferences;
- supporting the standards of practising barristers by running the Bar Practice Course, the Ethical Guidance Scheme and the Mentoring Program;
- assisting and supporting the Bar Council in carrying out its regulatory functions under the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW) and associated legislation, in compliance with the statutory framework, including complaints against barristers, and certification of barristers in NSW;
- maintaining a Professional Standards Scheme;
- preparing fee recovery letters (assisting members to recover unpaid fees from solicitors and, where a direct-access brief has been accepted, clients);
- assisting Bar Council to accredit mediators under the National Mediator Accreditation System;
- supporting the wellbeing of our members, including by conducting webinars, seminars and collegial, sports and other events;
- preparing and distributing publications such as Bar News, InBrief, the Association’s Annual Report and social media content;
- providing members of the public with practice details of practising barristers on request, and providing practice details to other organisations for the purposes of publications
- liaising with courts, tribunals and alternative dispute resolution providers regarding their operation;
- providing information to other organisations that represent the legal profession including the Law Council of Australia, Australian Bar Association and other state-based bar associations and law societies; and
- providing information to subsidiaries and related entities such as the Indigenous Barristers Trust Fund ‘The Mum Shirl Fund’, the Benevolent Association, BarCare and BarBrief Pty Ltd.
- develop and provide members and other individuals with services and benefits that may be offered by the Association from time to time; and
- conduct such other activities, or perform such other functions, as may be notified to you from time to time.
Further details about how the Association manages personal information in relation to certain functions and activities are set out below.
Holders of Practising Certificates
Some of the personal information that the Association holds in relation to holders of practising certificates is collected and held pursuant to the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW), the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014 and the regulations and rules made under those Acts.
This information is recorded in the Association’s database kept in accordance with section 149 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014, which requires the Bar Council to keep a register of the names of Australian lawyers to whom it grants local practising certificates. Clause 60 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Regulation 2015 also sets out the information to be kept on the register.
‘Find a Barrister’ Webpage
If a member holds a current practising certificate, their practice contact details and other information relating to their practice appears on the Association’s ‘Find a Barrister’ webpage contained on the Association’s website. This search facility enables members of the public and solicitors to search for a barrister suited to their particular need.
If you hold a current practising certificate and do not wish to have your details published on the Association’s ‘Find a Barrister’ webpage, please contact the Association’s Privacy Officer in writing using the details below.
Legal Assistance Referral Scheme (LARS)
The Association’s Legal Assistance Referral Scheme (LARS) collects personal information from individuals who seek legal assistance. Personal information collected as part of the Legal Assistance Referral Scheme (LARS) is held, used and disclosed for the purpose of administering that scheme.
Solicitors and other staff members who handle personal information as part of the Legal Assistance Referral Scheme (LARS) are bound by their professional obligations, including obligations of confidentiality and legal professional privilege.
DISCLOSURE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION
The Association may disclose your personal information to various third parties if it is reasonably necessary for any of the purposes listed above, or if disclosure is otherwise permitted or required under the Privacy Act or some other Act (including the legal profession legislation).
We may also share your personal information with our subsidiaries and related or associated entities.
Otherwise, the Association will not disclose your personal information without your consent.
Overseas Disclosure of Personal Information
In limited circumstances, the Association may disclose personal information overseas.
For example, where an applicant nominates prior overseas registration in their application for a Practising Certificate, we may disclose personal information provided by the applicant to a jurisdiction nominated by the applicant in order to obtain information about that individual’s prior qualifications, membership or legal practice. This information would be provided and obtained in accordance with Australian Privacy Principle 8.2(c), the legal profession legislation and/or the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997.
Additionally, if you practise in a foreign country (or apply to do so) we may send your personal information overseas in response to an inquiry from the relevant authority in that place.
If the Association retains the services of third-party service providers that are based overseas, your personal information may be disclosed overseas to those providers. In these cases, we will take such steps as are reasonable in the circumstances to ensure that the overseas recipient does not breach the Australian Privacy Principles in relation to the disclosed information.
SECURITY OF PERSONAL INFORMATION
The Association is committed to keeping your personal information secure.
As we may hold your personal information in either electronic or hard copy form, we use a variety of physical and electronic security measures to keep your personal information secure from misuse, interference, loss or unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. These include:
- restricting physical access to our offices;
- restricting access to our electronic systems;
- password protecting our IT systems;
- employing firewalls, anti-virus software and secure databases;
- requiring our staff and third-party providers to take steps to keep personal information secure and treat it as confidential; and
- conducting regular audit and data security checks (and updating security measures where necessary).
ACCESSING AND CORRECTING YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION
Access to personal information
Any person about whom the Association holds personal information may request access to that information by written request to the Association’s Privacy Officer. Such requests will be dealt with in accordance with Australian Privacy Principle 12 (which includes some situations in which we may not be able to provide access to personal information).
Correction of Personal Information
Any person who believes that personal information which the Association holds about them is not accurate, complete and up to date is invited to seek correction of that information by written request to the Association’s Privacy Officer. Such requests will be dealt with in accordance with Australian Privacy Principle 13.
If you request access to your personal information or ask us to correct or update information about you, we may need to verify your identity. In some circumstances, there may be a valid reason for us to deny your request to access or correct your information. If we do this, we will tell you why.
COMPLAINTS AND FURTHER INFORMATION
If you think we have breached the Australian Privacy Principles or you would like further information about the Association’s privacy policies and procedures, you should contact the Association’s Privacy Officer in writing in the first instance. Please include your name, email address and/or telephone number and clearly describe your complaint or question so that we can investigate internally.
We will respond to your complaint or question within a reasonable time. Generally, unless the circumstances justify additional time, we will endeavour to respond to your complaint or question within thirty (30) business days.
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your query or complaint, you may contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner at email@example.com or on 1300 363 992. More information is available on the OAIC’s website at https://www.oaic.gov.au/
For further information about the Association’s privacy practices, to seek access to or correction of your personal information, or to make a complaint, please contact the Association’s Privacy Officer at:
The Privacy Officer
The Privacy Officer
New South Wales Bar Association
B/174 Phillip Street
SYDNEY NSW 2000
Fax: (02) 9221 1149