To carry out our work, we collect and use information about the people we deal with and the work done under legal assistance.
Most of the information is about:
Individual people and their applications for legal aid
The solicitors and advocates who carry out legal aid
How the legal aid system is working – what help people are receiving and how much it costs
How we run the legal aid system.
The General Data Protection Regulation
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) sets out how organisations should use and protect personal information. As part of the GDPR you have the right to ask if we process any personal information about you and receive a copy of it.
GDPR refers to you as a Data Subject, and to the information we hold about you as personal data. Your request is known as a subject access request.
Information we keep about legal aid applicants and applications
By applying for legal aid, you permit us to discuss the information within the SLAB and, where necessary, with other people outwith the organisation.
For example, we may check your earnings with your employer, or the benefits you are claiming with the Department for Work and Pensions.
Solicitors representing the Law Society of Scotland may also see information in your application as part of the random quality assurance checks that the Society makes.
By law, we have to be very careful about how we use information that people give us. We will normally only pass on information to do with an application for legal aid if the person who gave us it has given their permission, or if the law says we must.
However, if you ask someone like your MSP to contact us about your case, we will assume that, by doing so, you permit us to discuss it with them.
We also have duties to keep certain information confidential, and to supply other information, under the data protection legislation and Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act.
For example, we can’t give you personal information about another person. But you have the right to ask us about information we hold on you, and some other information that we record about legal aid and how we work.
We sometimes use the information to check your identity, if you phone us. We also collect certain details to make sure that our ways of working do not discriminate unlawfully, and do allow equal opportunities and access for all.
If you are unhappy with the response you get from us, you can ask us to look again at your request.
You can write to our Data Protection Officer at SAR@slab.org.uk or use our postal address.
At any time, you are entitled to ask the Information Commissioner to review our decision or go to court to enforce your rights. The contact details for the Information Commissioner are:
Access to information
Website: www.ico.gov.uk (This website includes a complaints form that you can email to the commissioner.)
Scotland Regional Office Address:
Information Commissioner's Office
45 Melville Street
Tel: 0303 123 1115
First Contact Team
Information Commissioner’s Office
Tel: 0303 123 1113
If you want more information about data protection, you can contact the Information Commissioner or, to see our full policy on data protection, go to our Freedom of Information publication scheme on our website.