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Data Retention Policy Guidance

Purpose: To guide all barristers and chambers on good practice in data retention policy and practice
Scope of application: All practising barristers; Addresses the relevant laws in the United Kingdom
Issued by: The Information Technology Panel
First reviewed: 01/01/2017
Last reviewed: 05/07/2023
Status and effect: Please see the notice at end of this document. This is not “guidance” for the purposes of the BSB Handbook I6.4.

Many barristers retain information from old cases. Much of it is stored on computers. This information could be disclosed or leaked in the event of a cyber-attack on a Chambers’ server or a personal computer, or if data was left on the hard drive of an old PC or removable device after disposal. It may be necessary to report the fact that a data breach has occurred to persons identifiable from the information. This would be likely to be professionally embarrassing and may be costly.

Download: Data Retention Policy Guidance:

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This document has been prepared by the Bar Council to assist barristers on matters of IT. It is not “guidance” for the purposes of the BSB Handbook I6.4, and neither the BSB nor bodies regulating information security nor the Legal Ombudsman is bound by any views or advice expressed in it. It does not comprise – and cannot be relied on as giving – legal advice. It has been prepared in good faith, but neither the Bar Council nor any of the individuals responsible for or involved in its preparation accept any responsibility or liability for anything done in reliance on it. For fuller information as to the status and effect of this document, please see here.

This is a generic policy on the use of information technology. It should not be used before being reviewed and amended to cover the specific circumstances of any particular individual or chambers.

The policy refers to other policies which chambers should have in place.

The policy does not cover disciplinary procedures which might arise as a result of breach of the policy, which should be added to this policy or dealt with separately.

This policy was drafted in January 2017 and updated in July 2023. Chambers should regularly review their policies email policy to take account of legislative change, developments in best practice and the relevant sections of the BSB Handbook.

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