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Data Security In The Legal Sector - In The Spotlight

Data Security In The Legal Sector - In The Spotlight
  • Who Regulates The Sector?

    Who Regulates The Sector?

    There are a total of eight bodies which regulate all lawyers practising in England and Wales. The two most significant of the representative bodies both in terms of size and influence are the Law Society and the Bar Council.


    The Law Society, which represents all solicitors acting in England and Wales, recognises the burden that companies are now under to implement effective risk management strategies – offering its members a Risk & Compliance Service for anybody involved in managing regulatory compliance.


    The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It offers guidelines on information security to its members via its website. They advise members on the principles of the Data Protection Act 1998 and provide best practice guidelines on compliance.

  • What Do These Organisations Require In Terms Of Visual Data Security?

    What Do These Organisations Require In Terms Of Visual Data Security?

    The Law Society recognises that senior managers within a legal organisation have a “responsibility for embedding core risk management systems, policies, and procedures within their firms”. A ‘practice note’ from the Law Society also notes that data protection policies should outline Staff responsibility for personal data and Information security procedures.


    The Solicitors Regulation Authority, the regulatory body of the Law Society, publishes a Code of Conduct which states that “Protection of confidential information is a fundamental feature of your relationship with clients” and requires that companies “have effective systems and controls in place to enable you to identify risks to client confidentiality and to mitigate those risks.” (SRA Code of Conduct 2011, Chapter 4: Confidentiality and disclosure).

    The Bar Council’s best practice guidelines on compliance include the following:

    • ‘Confidential Material should not be left in a position where it might be read inadvertently by another person entering the room’.
    • ‘Confidential Material should not be read or worked on in public where it can be overlooked by members of the public.’
    • ‘Where possible, computers should not be placed so that their screens can be overlooked, especially in public places.’
    • ‘You should use appropriate security technologies suitable for the particular device or application.’
  • Fines For Breaching Regulations:

    Fines For Breaching Regulations:

    The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest. It has the power to fine firms up to £500,000 for data protection breaches.


    As the body with overall responsibility for data protection, the ICO provides guidelines on how to comply with the Information Security Principle of the Data Protection Act which states:

    ‘Appropriate technical and organisational measures shall be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data’.

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