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Most information and files stored in a barrister’s chambers is sensitive and highly classified. Chambers have a responsibility to their client to ensure that all information is kept confidential and free from the wrong hands.

A big part of our work is making sure that chambers have an IT system and data storage facility that will preserve the integrity of this classified information. The storage of confidential files and information with cloud providers can be a nerve-wracking and problematic procedure, and it’s important to know how to treat classified information responsibly and securely.

 

Data Protection

 

Lawyers are often required to keep large reams of classified information pertaining to representation of clients and often highly sensitive cases. Barristers have a duty of confidentiality when it comes to communications with their clients.

Confidentiality is a fundamental principle of the barrister-client relationship. It is essential that clients can confidently disclose all relevant information to the case without the threat of it being released to the public. This trusting relationship is essential to making sure that barristers hold all the relevant information when embarking on a case.

 

“…you [the Barrister] must protect the confidentiality of each client’s affairs, except for such disclosures as are required by law or to which your client gives informed consent”

The Bar Council

 

Any breach of this amounts to professional misconduct – and so it is in every barristers chambers’ interest to protect confidential information diligently.

 

Protect Your Classified Information

 

“Barristers contemplating using cloud computing services, in particular services targeted at consumers generally, should assure themselves that the service provides sufficient safeguards in relation to confidentiality, security, reliability, availability and data deletion procedures”

Bar Council Guidelines for Information Security

 

Barristers should take all necessary steps to protect confidential information. Laptops, mobile devices and tablets that contain previous convictions, commercial contracts and medical reports should be kept with you at all times. The loss of such information is considered a breach of the Code of Conduct and the Data Protection Act.

Appropriate antivirus, anti-spyware and firewall software should be used to protect against virus or information theft. Information stored on computers should be password protected and backed up as often as possible.

Cloud hosting is a relatively new phenomenon, and doubts around the security of cloud computing have meant that chambers are somewhat suspicious, especially given the confidential nature of their files. Cloud storage facilities offer different levels of encryption, so to be sure we use a cloud provider whose software encrypts before uploading.

For more information on the guidelines by which barristers treat your confidential information, read the Bar Council guidelines for information security, here.

We can offer advice and IT support for Chambers making the move over to the cloud. We can give you the peace of mind of knowing that your confidential information will be stored securely and within the guidelines of data protection.

Want to know more? Get in touch!