This Privacy Notice was last changed in January 2020.

  • Who we are; how to contact us

We are Queen’s Counsel Appointments Limited, referred to in this Privacy Notice as QCA, we, us or our.

We are a company, registered in England and Wales under with number 05423088. Our registered office is at 3rd Floor, 73 Farringdon Road, London, England, EC1M 3JQ.

We are the “data controller” as regards the processing of personal data described in this Privacy Notice, and are responsible for ensuring that the processing is conducted in accordance with data protection law.

If you have any queries about this Privacy Notice, please contact us by writing to the above address, emailing us at enquiries@qcappointments.org or telephoning us at 0207-831-0020.

  • Our obligations

Our processing of personal data is regulated by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018. The Data Protection Act 2018 contains certain exemptions from obligations under that Act and the GDPR. These exemptions apply to personal data processed for the purposes of assessing a person’s suitability for the office of Queen’s Counsel, and also to personal data processed for the purposes of the conferring by the Crown of any honour or dignity. We explain below some of the effects of these exemptions.

  • Your information

Your privacy is important to us and we aim to be open about we use individuals’ personal information, although, as said above, our use of information is subject to certain exemptions from regulation.

We describe in this section what personal information we collect, how we use it, why we use it (the legal basis), and how long we keep it.

Where we base our use of personal data on our legitimate interests, as indicated in the table below, this will apply only where we consider that our legitimate interest is not overridden by the individual’s interests or rights which require protection of their personal data.

Where we collect personal data through our websites, as mentioned below, this means through any of the following sites, access to which is protected by suitable security measures:

https://assessors.qcappointments.org/

https://grading.qcappointments.org/

https://qcappointments.org/

https://applications.qcappointments.org

Information about applicants

Information related to applications

What? – We collect applicants’ information:

  • provided by them in their application forms submitted via our website or through other means, including name, title / salutation, contact details, career and professional details, self-assessment of their suitability for appointment as Queen’s Counsel, and other information they wish us to take into account;
  • provided when registering with us, such as log-in credentials;
  • contained in their communications with us;
  • contained in or generated from assessors’ assessments, including submitted through our websites, and notes of moderation meetings of our panel members, and correspondence with assessors and panel members about the applications.

How? – We use this information for the purposes of assessing the applicants’ suitability for appointment as Queen’s Counsel. Without the provision of this information, we would be unable to consider the application.

Why? – We consider it necessary in our legitimate interests to use this information for the purposes of the assessments.

We also consider that our use of this information to conduct the assessments is necessary for our performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of our official authority to assist the Lord Chancellor and the Crown in deciding on the appointments.

How? – We also use this information for statistical analysis related to applications and their results, and for reporting to the Lord Chancellor.

Why? – We consider it necessary in our legitimate interests to use this information in these analyses in order to manage, plan and improve our processes and the administration of our functions.

We also consider that our use of this information to operate our office is necessary for our performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of our official authority to assist the Lord Chancellor and the Crown in deciding on the appointments..

How? – We display on our website professional information about those applicants who have been appointed Queen’s Counsel.

Why? – We consider it necessary in our legitimate interests to so display this information to inform the public about appointments of Queen’s Counsel.

How long? – We will keep this information for a reasonable time for the assessment process.

Special categories of personal data

Special categories of data are personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or trade union membership; genetic and biometric data used for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person; and data concerning a person’s health, sex life or sexual orientation.

What? – Our application form contains a questionnaire on disability, ethnic origin and sexual orientation (as well as on age and gender).

How? – We use this information for diversity monitoring purposes. We do not use this information as any part of the assessment process.

Why? – We consider that collecting information on diversity is necessary in our legitimate interest of administering an assessment process which is fair. We also consider the use of such information for equal opportunities monitoring to be justified for reasons of substantial public interest. We will not use this information if the applicant objects. To object, please contact us through one of the methods in paragraph 1.

We anonymise (so that it ceases to be personal data) so that we can use it for statistical purposes or destroy this information within a reasonable time of receiving it, which would usually be on conclusion of the next competition following the one in which the information was provided.

What? – Where applicants include any special categories of information elsewhere in their applications, this is on an entirely voluntary basis. We do not seek such information.

How? – Where the application includes information on disability, we use this to accommodate the applicant’s needs in the interview process. We also use the information for the assessment process if it is something the applicant has asked us to take into account.

Why? – We only use this information with the applicant’s consent, which may be withdrawn at any time.

How long? – If the applicant does not withdraw consent, we will retain it for a reasonable time for the assessment process.

Information about offences

What? – Our application form asks the applicant about offences they may have committed and findings of professional misconduct. Assessors may also provide this information about applicants. It is anonymised before the information goes to the panel.

How? – We use this information to determine whether, regardless of the degree to which they meet the other competencies, the applicant is suitable for appointment as QC..

Why? – We consider that our use of this information to conduct the assessments is necessary for our performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of our official authority to assist the Lord Chancellor and the Crown in deciding on the awards.

How long? – We will keep this information for a reasonable time for the assessment process.

Applicant surveys

What? How? We use applicants’ contact information to conduct surveys about how we run the assessment process. Applicants provide this information on a voluntary basis.

Why? – We consider that our use of such information is necessary in our legitimate interests of assuring the quality of the assessment process.

How long? – We anonymise (so that it ceases to be personal) this data so that we can use it for statistical purposes or destroy this information within a reasonable time of receiving it, which would usually be at the conclusion of the next competition following the one in which the information was provided.

Information about assessors, panel members and suppliers

What? – We collect business contact details, such as name, role, business addresses, and log-in credentials, of assessors, panel members, representatives of our suppliers, and other persons with whom we have a business relationship. We also use their personal information where supplied in their professional correspondence with us.

How? We use this information for the assessments, for administering our relationships with those persons (paying expenses, arranging appointments, etc.), and/or for performing our contracts with them.

Why? – We consider that our use of such information is necessary in our legitimate interests of carrying out our function of operating the Queen’s Counsel appointment process.

How long? – We keep this information for the length of our relationship with the person in question plus six years in case a problem arises.

Legal requirements and professional advice

We may process personal information if necessary, on reasonable request by a law enforcement or regulatory authority, body or agency, or in the conduct or defence of a legal claim. We will not delete personal information if relevant to an investigation or a dispute. It will continue to be stored until those issues are fully resolved.

We may also use personal information when obtaining professional (including legal advice) in relation to audits and our business and consider this in our legitimate interests in managing our business.

  • Information we share

We disclose applicants’ personal data to assessors, panel members, and the Lord Chancellor’s officials.

We may also provide information of applicants, assessors, panel members and our professional business contacts to the suppliers of the systems we use for the assessment process or carrying out our functions. Those suppliers process the data on our behalf. They include Probase, DPC and Raycon, but the identity of our suppliers may change.

We may also provide the above personal data to our professional advisers (such as lawyers, accountants, auditors, IT consultants, management consultants).

  • Transfers of your information abroad

We do not store personal data outside the European Economic Area. We will only send it outside the European Economic Area where we have put in place adequate safeguards or as permitted by the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2019.

  • Security

The security of your information is important to us. We have established appropriate physical, electronic, and managerial safeguards to protect the personal information we collect. These safeguards are regularly reviewed to protect against unauthorised access, disclosure, and improper use of your information, and to maintain the accuracy and integrity of that data.

  • Your rights

You have the rights listed below as regards our processing of your personal data except where we are processing the data for the purpose of assessing an applicant’s suitability for appointment as Queen’s Counsel. Please note that, in addition, these rights may be qualified, for example, where your information is being used in legal proceedings.

You may exercise these rights by contacting us through the methods described in paragraph 1.

  1. Where our legal basis for using your information is consent, you may withdraw that consent at any time.
  2. You can ask us to confirm if we are processing your information. You can also ask to access your information. We do not have to provide this information if this would adversely affect the rights and freedoms of others. If a request is manifestly unfounded or excessive, in particular because of its repetitive character, we may charge a reasonable administrative fee or refuse to act on the request.
  3. You can ask to correct your information if it is wrong.
  4. You can ask us to delete certain of your information in certain circumstances, including where you have withdrawn consent to our using it; we no longer need it for the purposes described in section 3 or other purposes for which we collected it; or our reasons for using your data were based on legitimate or public interest and we have no overriding legitimate grounds to use the data.
  5. You can ask us to stop using your personal information where based on legitimate or public interest and we have no overriding legitimate grounds to use the data.
  6. You can ask us to restrict how we use certain of your information, including where you think it is inaccurate or you have objected to our using it.
  7. You can ask us to provide your information to you or another person in an easily readable format where our use of your information is based on consent or contract we process the information by automated means.
  • Complaints

If you have any complaints on how we use your personal data, or would like further information, we would ask you to first contact us. However, you can also always make a complaint about how we process your personal data with the UK Information Commissioner or the authority where you live, work or where the alleged infringement has occurred. The Information Commissioner may be contacted as posted on www.ico.org.uk.

  • Changes to the policy

This policy will be changed from time to time.

If we change anything important about this policy (the information we collect, how we use it or why) we will indicate this at the tope of this Privacy Notice.

  • Cookies

We use cookies and similar technologies that identify your browser or device. They collect and store information when you visit our website about how you use it.

Our websites use these technologies to make our websites work, or work more efficiently, as well as to provide web services and functionalities for the users.

We use only essential cookies or other technologies to store sessions in the user’s browser which tell out site if the user has logged in. We also use essential session cookies (which expire when the user leaves the site) to enable our websites to function properly.

Our websites do not use any third party cookies.

To disable cookies

Most web browsers allow control of cookies through the browser settings. By adjusting your web browser, you may avoid receiving cookies. However, this might result in the services on the website not functioning optimally. The method used to block cookies will depend on the web browser used. Consult the “Help” or corresponding menu in your web browser for instructions.

To find out more about cookies, including how to see, what cookies have been set and how to manage and delete them, visit www.aboutcookies.org or www.allaboutcookies.org.

Purpose

The purpose of this Privacy Policy is:

  • to assure you that we recognise and fully respect the privacy and personal data of the visitors to these websites; and
  • to explain what personal information we collect from the websites and how we ensure its best protection.

This Privacy Policy governs QCA websites as follows:

https://assessor.qcappointments.org

https://grading.qcappointments.org

https://qcappointments.org/

https://applications.qcappointments.org

This Privacy Policy covers only information which is collected by the QCA from the websites.  It does not cover information which the QCA may have gathered from other sources.

Data protection

QCA complies with the Data Protection Act 1998 (the “Act”).  For the purposes of the Act, QCA is the data controller and sole owner of the personal data collected on the websites.  QCA does not sell, share or transfer this information except as set out in this Privacy Policy.

We use up-to-date industry procedures to keep personal data as safe and secure as possible and to protect against loss, unauthorised disclosure or access.  Unfortunately, the transmission of information via the internet is not completely secure.  Although we will do our best to protect your personal data, we cannot guarantee the security of your data transmitted to the websites; any transmission is at your own risk.  Once we have received your information, we will use strict procedures and security features to try to prevent unauthorised access.

The Act gives you the right to access details that we hold about you.  Your right of access can be exercised in accordance with the Act.  A small fee may be payable in respect of any access request.

Information we may collect from you

It is necessary for you to register with us in order to access the website https://applications-2019.qcappointments.org all our other website do not require registration. However, we may collect some information from interactive features such as online surveys, contact and registration forms.  The basic personal information about you which we may collect and process is:

  • your name
  • your user type (eg applicant, prospective applicant, assessor, member of the legal profession, member of the public)
  • your e-mail address
  • your user ID and password
  • information to enable an applicant to apply (complete application form)
  • information about an applicant (complete an assessor from)

Depending on what you are registering for, additional information may be collected from you.  We may also collect and process information provided by you at the time of posting material to the websites, as well as details of your visit to the websites (including, but not limited to, traffic data, location data, weblogs and other communication data), and the resources that you use.  Further, if you contact us, we may also keep a record of that correspondence.

Uses made of the information

We may use information held about you in the following ways:

  • to ensure that content from the websites is presented in the most effective manner for you and for your computer
  • to allow you to participate in any interactive features of our service, when you choose to do so, and
  • to notify you about changes to our service.
  • To ask you about QCA and its procedures.

If you do not want us to use your data in this way, please update your details at QCA by contacting us at enquiries@qcappointments.org 

Cookies

Cookies are small text files stored on your computer while you are visiting a website.  Cookies help make websites work.  They also provide aggregated information about how users interact with our site.  We do not currently use this information to try to improve your experience on our websites.

The law about cookies changed in May 2011.  Websites must get your agreement before they set certain types of cookie on your computer or handheld device.

Changing the information we hold about you

If you would like to change any information we hold about you that has been collected via use of the Websites or want to it to be removed from our database, you should contact us at enquiries@qcappointments.org

Third Parties

QCA do not forward the information collected about you to third parties.

Consent

By using the websites, you consent to the collection and use of your personal information in the manner set out above.

Changes to Privacy Policy

The internet and data privacy best practice are both developing.  We therefore reserve the right to revise this Privacy Policy at any time.  If this Privacy Policy changes in any way, we will place an updated version on this page.  Regularly reviewing this page ensures you are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it and under what circumstances, if any, we will share it with other parties.

Questions, comments and requests regarding this Privacy Policy are welcomed and should be addressed to enquiries@qcappointments.org