Who we are
SWS Lawyers Pty Ltd ACN 613 064 681 (SWS Lawyers) is an Australian law firm operating as an incorporated legal practice in Newcastle, New South Wales. We provide legal services in a variety of practice areas including commercial, corporate, workplace relations, property, estate planning and litigation and dispute resolution. We primarily provide legal advice and representation in legal matters.
We comply with the Privacy Act 1988, including the Australian Privacy Principles. This policy describes the way that SWS Lawyers collects, holds, discloses and protects personal information.
The nature of our dealings with you influences the types of personal information that we collect and hold. We may collect personal information about you when you:
- request us to provide you with legal services
- contact us using the enquiry form on this website
- subscribe to a SWS Lawyers newsletter
- attend an event hosted or sponsored by us
- supply products or services to us, or
- apply for or register your interest in employment with us.
We generally collect personal information directly from you, but we may also collect it from clients or third parties such as regulatory authorities or other professional advisers. If we collect personal information about you from a third party, we will take reasonable steps to notify you.
Any unsolicited information (information we took no active step in collecting) received about you will be handled in accordance with the law. This may include destroying or de-identifying that information where required to do so.
The personal information we collect about you will usually include your name and contact details (address, telephone and e-mail address). In some situations, such as when providing legal services to you, we may also need to collect and hold:
- additional general information about you, such as your driver’s licence number, date of birth, employment history, educational qualifications, financial records, income details, asset listings, taxation records, bank account details, insurance policies, and
- sensitive information about you, such as your family composition, racial or ethnic origin, criminal record, court records, medical records, disability status, sexual preferences, religious belief, membership of political association, professional or trade association or trade union, political opinions or health information. Health information is information or an opinion about an individual’s health or disability, the health services provided or to be provided to the individual, his or her expressed wishes about the future provision of health services, genetic information and information collected in connection with the donation of body parts, organs or body substances.
We will only collect sensitive information about you with your consent or when permissible under Australian law and will only use this information for a legitimate purpose where it is reasonably necessary.
If you do not provide us with your personal information, it may not be possible for us to provide you with the services you request.
Use and Disclosure
We collect, hold and use your personal information for the purposes and related purposes for which it was collected, including to:
- provide legal services to you or our clients
- provide you with legal updates and information about events we are hosting or sponsoring
- manage our relationships with you and, where the information was given to us for another specific purpose (such as a job application), for that purpose, and
- comply with our legal and professional obligations.
We may use your personal information for a secondary purpose with your consent or where permitted or required to do so by law. We may also use your personal information to send you promotional material in relation to our services from time to time. If we do so, we will provide you with the option to opt-out of receiving this material.
On occasions, we may disclose your personal information to another person, such as experts, counsel and other professional advisers (usually to receive advice on your behalf), regulatory bodies or external service providers. Where we do so, disclosure will be as permitted under the Australian Privacy Principles and/or with your consent if required.
If the nature of services you request requires it, we may disclose your personal information to a person located in another country . Before we disclose personal information to an overseas recipient we will take reasonable steps to obtain your consent and to ensure that the overseas recipient does not breach the Australian Privacy Principles in respect of that personal information. The countries to which we are most likely to disclose personal information include Canada, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, United Kingdom and United States of America.
We do not sell or trade personal information about you to or with third parties.
Website and Cookies
When you visit our website, we collect general anonymous information (such as your browser type, information downloaded, pages visited and the domain name and country from which you request information) periodically for statistical and website development purposes.
Our website may use ‘cookies’ to identify the areas of our website that you have visited. Cookies are small text files stored on your computer or mobile device by your web browser. Cookies are used to personalise the content that you can see on our website.
We value the security and confidentiality of the personal information we collect and hold about you. We take all reasonable steps to protect all information we hold about you from misuse, interference and loss, as well as unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.
We protect the personal information we hold about you with physical, electronic and managerial procedures including:
- confidentiality agreements or undertakings for our employees and contractors
- security measures for our systems access, and
- periodic evaluation of information protection practices, and
- acceptable use agreement for our employees with respect to personal smart phones and tablets.
We will retain your personal information while it is required for our business functions, or for any other lawful purpose. For example, we necessarily retain records of client names and the names of opposing parties indefinitely, so as to avoid conflicts of interest.
When we no longer need to retain your personal information for the purposes outlined above or as required by law, we will destroy or de-identify the information.
Pursuant to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), we are required to notify the Office of Australian Information Commissioner of any notifiable data breaches. If we have reasonable grounds to believe there has been a notifiable data breach, we are required to undertake a reasonable and expeditious assessment within 30 days to ascertain whether a relevant breach has in fact occurred.
If it is determined that there has been a notifiable data breach, and we are unable to take remedial action to prevent the breach from causing serious harm to affected individuals, we are required to draft a statement to the Office of Australian Information Commissioner. This statement must provide a description of the breach, the kinds of personal information concerned, and recommendations about the steps affected individuals should take in response to the breach. We are also required to directly notify affected individuals of the content of the statement, or publish the statement publicly.
Access and Correction
We take reasonable steps to ensure that all personal information is up-to-date, accurate and complete. You may request access to, and request us to update or correct, the personal information we hold about you.
If you would like to do so, please contact our Privacy Officer, using the contact details below:
The Privacy Officer
SWS Lawyers Pty Ltd
47 Darby St, Level 1, Newcastle NSW 2300
Telephone: +61 2 4040 9640
We may refuse to provide access to personal information if the law allows us to do so.
If you wish to make a complaint about how we handle your personal information, please contact our Privacy Officer using the contact details above. When lodging a complaint, please include your name, contact details, details of your complaint and how you wish for the issue to be rectified. We will make every endeavour to respond to your request promptly.
If you are not satisfied with our response or we do not respond within 30 days, you may make a complaint in writing to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.