The Law Society of the ACT (the Society, or we, us or our) manages personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act), including the Australian Privacy Principles (the APPs) and our obligations under the Legal Profession Act 2006 (ACT) (the LPA).
What kinds of personal information do we handle?
The Society collects and maintains records which may contain personal information about:
- our members;
- legal practitioners and former legal practitioners;
- clients of legal practitioners and former legal practitioners;
- students; and
- other individuals using our website, contacting us, or accessing our services.
The kinds of personal information routinely handled by the Society will depend on how you interact with us, but will generally include:
In relation to our members and practitioners:
- your name and honorifics;
- your contact details, such as your office address, home address, telephone numbers and email address;
- biographical details, such as date and place of birth, gender and diversity information, qualifications, titles, whether or not you identify as an Aboriginal or a Torres Strait Islander person, and the languages you speak;
- your practice details, such as qualifications leading to admission to the Roll of Legal Practitioners, practising history, areas of practice, position in the current firm, information relating to any complaints received and any disciplinary investigation or other action taken by the Society;
- your practising certificate type, including any conditions attaching to the certificate;
- your membership information, such as your membership history and activities including details of service on Society Committees and/or the Council;
- records of Continuing Professional Development modules that you participate in or purchase through our website;
- criminal records or medical records to the extent that it is relevant to our functions and responsibilities under the LPA;
- complaints (if any) that relate to you;
- records of your communications and other interactions with us including the frequency of your enquiries; and
- the technology that you use to access our services.
In relation to members of the public making enquiries, accessing our services or making complaints to the Society:
- name and honorifics;
- contact details, including address, telephone numbers and email address and preferred means of communication; and
- nature of the inquiry or complaint.
The Society may collect other personal information from time to time, in accordance with the APPs and the LPA.
How do we collect and hold your personal information?
We most often collect your personal information directly from you. This includes:
- through your access and use of our website and online tools;
- during conversations between you and our employees or representatives;
- when you email us, visit us, or send correspondence to our office;
- when you register for an event offered, promoted or hosted by us;
- when you complete an application for a practising certificate or for membership; and
- in other instances where you contact us.
In some cases, where it is relevant to the Society’s statutory responsibilities under the LPA, the Society may collect members’ personal information from third parties (for instance, if we receive a complaint or inquiry relating to a legal practitioner). The Society may, from time to time, collect personal information about Complainants from third parties to the extent that the Society is authorised to do so, consistent with the Privacy Act and the LPA.
What would happen if we did not collect your personal information?
Without your personal information we may not be able to process your application or request, perform our statutory functions or provide you with some or all of our products and services.
What are the purposes for which we collect, hold, use and disclose your personal information?
Your personal information is collected, held, used and disclosed for the following purposes:
- to perform the functions assigned to us under the LPA together with associated administrative functions under the Legal Profession Regulation 2007 (ACT);
- to provide services to our members;
- to provide services and information to non-members related to our functions and activities;
- to provide education and training services;
- communication with the legal profession and other stakeholders that represent the legal profession in Australia such as the Law Council of Australia; and
- for activities reasonably related to these functions and services.
These purposes may include the specific functions of:
- maintaining membership records;
- providing contact and general practising information to the public regarding legal practitioners including those with specialist accreditation or particular experience;
- providing information on programs, services and benefits available to members, legal practitioners and the public;
- communicating regarding an inquiry, request for information or use of our services;
- conducting research and providing public representation and advocacy relevant to members, legal practitioners or the interests of justice generally;
- providing information to our professional advisors and contractors, and professional indemnity insurers; and
- providing information to third parties as authorised or required by law.
We do not use your personal information or disclose it to another party unless:
- it is reasonably necessary for one of the purposes described above;
- having regard to the nature of the information or the circumstances of collection we believe you would reasonably expect us to use the information or make the disclosure;
- it is required or authorised by law or a court or tribunal;
- it is necessary to protect the rights, property, health or personal safety of a legal practitioner or member, the public or our interests, and it is unreasonable or impracticable to obtain your consent;
- we have reason to suspect that unlawful activity, or misconduct of a serious nature, that relates to our functions or activities has been, is being, or may be engaged in, and we believe that the collection, use or disclosure is necessary in order for us to take appropriate action;
- the assets and operations of our business are transferred to another party as a going concern;
- it is necessary to obtain third party services, for example to carry out data analysis or provide information processing services, where the use of your information by third parties continues to be subject to the APPs and the Society has taken reasonable steps to ensure that the information is managed securely and only for the purpose of providing the relevant services to the Society; or
- you have provided your consent.
Members’ information may also be sent overseas if the member practises in a foreign jurisdiction and the information is required to respond to an enquiry from the relevant authority of that jurisdiction.
In addition, and in accordance with s 79 of the LPA, we may make certain personal information publicly available. For example, we publish on our website a list of legal practitioners to whom we have issued current Practising Certificates including limited personal information such as name, designation, areas of practise, practising certificate type, languages spoken and employer information.
We may use your personal information to communicate directly with you in the promotion of a product or service (Direct Marketing). By providing us with your personal information, you consent to us using your personal information for Direct Marketing. For example, we may use Direct Marketing to provide you with information about specific services such as CPD sessions or Society events that we believe you may be particularly interested in.
Our website provides users with the opportunity to opt-out of receiving certain communications. Members may access these options whilst logged into our site, from the Dashboard view. Alternatively, you can opt out of receiving Direct Marketing communications by:
- Sending us an email at email@example.com (please specify “Opt-out” in the subject line); or
- Contacting our Privacy Officer on (02) 6274 0300.
Storage and security of personal information
We take reasonable precautions to protect the personal information we hold from misuse, loss, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. Your personal information is stored in electronic and/or hard copy at the Society’s premises. We use data storage providers located in Australia. Where appropriate, we have agreements with the storage providers to keep all personal information they store secure, using reasonable and appropriate security methods.
You can assist us in keeping your personal information secure by maintaining the confidentiality of your account passwords and notifying us immediately if there is any unauthorised use of one of your accounts by another Internet user or any other breach of security relating to one of your accounts.
Our website utilises ‘cookies’. Cookies are small text files stored by your browser on your electronic device. Cookies allow websites to store various user preferences, track certain aspects of your behaviour for analytical purposes and to act as general memory for the website. Cookies allow our website to remember you and provide a tailored user experience.
Linked websites and external providers
Destruction of records
We will take reasonable steps to destroy or de-identify personal and sensitive information if it is no longer needed for any purposes for which the information may be used or disclosed.
Rights to access and correct your personal information or making a privacy complaint
You have the right to request access to, and correction of, personal information that we hold about you.
Members can update their account information on the Dashboard while signed into our website.
If you require any further information about the management of your personal information, including requests to access or correct your personal information, or if you have a privacy complaint about our management of your personal information, please contact our Privacy Officer at:
The Law Society of the ACT
Attention: Privacy Officer
Level 4, 1 Farrell Place, Canberra City ACT 2601
Telephone: (02) 6274 0300
We will endeavour to respond to your request within 30 days. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your privacy complaint please contact us to discuss your concerns. If we are unable to reach a satisfactory resolution, you can contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (www.oaic.gov.au).
Approved by Council: 20 February 2023 | Review date: February 2026