This policy stipulates the way in which the Vstar Lawyers & Consultants (Vstar) collects, uses, stores and discloses personal information in compliance with its obligations under the Privacy Act, and any other rules contained in the Australian Privacy Principles.

Definitions

In this policy:

  • Under the Privacy Act, personal information, in short, means information or an opinion relating to an individual that can be used to identify that individual.
  • Privacy Act means Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), inclusive of the Australian Privacy Principles.
  • Sensitive information has the same meaning as under the Privacy Act.
  • Services means the services of a legal and commercial nature that we provide.
  • Website means vstarlawyers.com.au and other websites and forms of social media where you post comments or we interact with you.

The meaning of any general language is not restricted by any words or phrases, like ‘includes’, ‘such as’, ‘for example’ or any similar words or terms without no limitation nature.

What personal information do we collect and why do we need it

The purpose for collection of personal information is to provide you with our services. Should the information provided by you is incomplete or inaccurate, we may be unable to provide services or the quality of service may be compromised.

The scope of the personal information collection is determined by the nature of relation between you and Vstar, service content and any particulars in your matter. Personal information may include:

  • your name, email address, telephone number(s) and address;
  • Personal Information (including Sensitive Information) which is provided to us in the course of a matter by you or a third party;
  • bank details, credit card details and expiry dates;
  • information contained in a CV if you apply for a position with us; and
  • information relating to the matter in which we are acting for you.

How do we collect personal information

We will endeavour to collect your personal information directly from you via telephone, conference, email, mail, interview, our website submission and/or your business card.

Having regarding to the course of your matter, we are also likely to collect your information from following third parties:

  • from parties to whom we refer you, e.g. a medical professional or other expert;
  • from credit reporting and fraud checking agencies;
  • from debt collection agencies if you default in a payment to us;
  • from third parties, for example in the course of a matter in which we are acting;
  • from publicly available sources of information; and
  • when we are permitted or required to do so by law (including the Privacy Act).

How do we use your personal information

We may use your personal information as follows:

  • to comply with our contractual and other legal obligations;
  • for insurance purposes;
  • subject to you advising us otherwise (see Marketing below), to advise you of additional services or information which may be of interest to you; and
  • otherwise as permitted under the Privacy Act.

On the occasion of your default in paying our fee, we may seek recovery by using your personal information.

Marketing

Your personal information will not be provided by us to any other parties for marketing purpose without your prior permission.

We may use your personal information, from time to time, to provide you with information relating to legal issue or invite you to our briefings or events we are holding. However, sensitive information will not be used in this manner.

Should you not wish to receive such invitation or information from us, please contact our office and we will remove you from our marketing database.

Disclosing personal information

Legal Professional Privilege (LPP)

The personal information provided for the purpose of legal advice may be protected by LPP. Additionally, the nature of our relationship is lawyer and client, where your personal information is also protected by our obligation of confidentiality.

If LPP applies, your personal information is protected from disclosure, unless it is required by law, by an order of the court, or your instruction to disclose it otherwise.

Disclosure to third parties

We do not disclose your personal information to third parties, unless:

  • if you instruct or agree to disclose;
  • when we use it for the purpose for which it was collected, e.g. to provide you with Services;
  • in circumstances where you would reasonably expect information of that kind to be passed to a third party (e.g. as a result of disclosure in a court action, during court proceedings, briefing and instructing counsel or disclosure to an expert);
  • where disclosure is required or permitted by law (including under the Privacy Act), by court order, or is required to investigate suspected fraud or other unlawful activity; or
  • if disclosure will prevent or lessen a serious or imminent threat to someone’s life or health.

Disclosing personal information off-shore

We do not store personal information on off-shore serves.

Your personal information may be disclosed off-shore, on occasion(s), where matters involve proceedings in a foreign jurisdiction, you are involved in a transaction which involves another country or specialist advice is required from an overseas lawyer or expert.  In these circumstances you will be advised as part of the matter when and to whom personal information will be disclosed.

Please note that the overseas recipient may not be subject to the obligations under Privacy Act, rule of LPP. However, this recipient may also be compelled to disclose your personal information in accordance with foreign law.

Given your consent on the disclosure of personal information overseas where we have informed you that we will not take any steps to secure your personal information in the possession of the overseas recipients in accordance with the Australian Privacy Act, you will not be able to seek redress under the Privacy Act, and may not be able seek redress in the overseas jurisdiction and we will not be liable under the Privacy Act.

Considerations when you send information to us electronically

If you send any email to us (including any our general email address or staff email address), regardless we endeavour to ensure the safety of your personal information, however, please note that no data transfer over the internet is 100% secure.

The open nature of the Internet is such that information exchanged via the internet may be accessed and used by people other than those for whom the data is intended. If you send us any information, including (without limitation) Personal Information via the Internet, it is taken at your own risk.

While we are not in the position to give you advice on internet security, if you provide Personal Information to us electronically, there are some things you can do which may help maintain the privacy of your information, including:

  • always close your browser after you have finished your session; and
  • never provide Personal Information when using a public computer.

You should contact us immediately if you believe:

  • someone has gained access to Personal Information you have provided to us;
  • we have breached our privacy obligations or your privacy rights in any way; or
  • you would like to discuss any issues about our privacy policy.

How we act to protect and retain your personal information

Our staffs are well aware of the obligations of confidentiality. Our security measures to your personal information includes electronic and physical security measures, staff training and use of password protection software.

We will maintain the physical file for at least seven (7) years after the matter has been completed and file is archived. However, the digital information will be restored indefinitely.

Personal Information may also be retained if we consider it necessary to do so or to comply with any applicable law or our insurance, governance obligations in our IT back-up records, for the collection of any monies owed and to resolve disputes.

Personal information of job applicants

Your personal information will be collected if you seek a job vacancy in Vstar. Such information includes any information contained in your CV. The information we may collect varies according to the position you are applying for, which may include sensitive information, like previous criminal convictions.

Your personal information may be either directly collected from you or other third parties.  However, we will not collect your personal information via third parties without your consent or any legal ground to do so.

We will only use or disclose your personal information for following purposes:

  • considering your job application;
  • creating an employment relationship with you (if your application is successful); or
  • otherwise as permitted by law (including under the Privacy Act).

How you can update or correct your personal information

Should you wish to update or correct your personal information provided to us, for security purposes, you may be required to validate your identity prior to such change.

We will provide you with your personal information we collected from third party(s) at your request with no cost, unless such information is withheld under Privacy Act and other laws. If there is a reason under the Privacy Act or other law for us not to provide you with information, we will give you a written notice of refusal setting out the reasons for the refusal except to the extent it would be unreasonable to do so and the mechanisms available to you to complain about the refusal.

How to complain if you believe we have breached the Australian Privacy Principles

Should you believe your personal information has been used by Vstar or any staffs in a manner inconsistent with the Australian Privacy Principles, you may contact us immediately via the details provided in the ‘contact us’. If we are unable to resolve your complaint, you may contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (contact details are below).

Change to our privacy policy

This document sets out our current Privacy Policy. Our Privacy Policy will be updated periodically, with the updated version posted on our website, www.vstarlawyers.com.au.

Contact details

More information about your rights and our obligations in respect to privacy and information on making a privacy complaint are available from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner at:

Website: www.oaic.gov.au

Post: GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001

Email: enquiries@oaic.gov.au