The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) regulates the use of personal information within all organisations, including the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
It also creates a legal right for individuals to request access to their personal information.
Data Protection Principles
The DPA states that any organisation that processes personal information must be open about how that information is used, and must comply with eight data protection principles.
These eight rules require personal data to be:
- Processed fairly and lawfully
- Processed only for specified and lawful purposes
- Adequate, relevant and not excessive
- Accurate and, where necessary, kept up-to-date
- Not kept longer than necessary
- Processed in accordance with an individual's rights under the Act
- Kept secure
- Not transferred to non-European Economic Area (EEA) countries without adequate protection
You can also find more information about the Data Protection Act from the Information Commissioner’s website.
Subject access requests
Under the DPA, you can ask to see any personal information that we hold about you. Such requests are subject access requests.
You can request this information by printing and completing our form (available in Word and PDF format below) and posting it to us.
Subject access request form (DOC 4 pages, 572K)
Subject access request form (Editable PDF 4 pages, 81K)
By law, we are required to ask you for proof of identification to ensure we are giving the information to the correct person. For this, we will accept a copy of one item from the list below and, in addition, proof of your residential address (such as a photocopy of a utility bill) as stated on your application form. This is the address where your information will be sent unless an alternative delivery address has been provided at the time of making your original application.
- a photocopy of your birth certificate
- a photocopy of your passport
- a photocopy of your driving licence
When sending in your application please include payment and proof of identity and mark the envelope 'Confidential'. Please do not send original identification documents.
There is an administrative charge of £10, payable by cheque. We are unable to process your request until the fee has been paid.
How will the information be provided?
We usually provide your information as a hard copy, sent by special delivery post, to your place of residence. We can make other arrangements in some circumstances.
Will I be able to see all the information held on me?
You may not be entitled to see all the information held on you if one of the data protection exemptions applies. We will tell you if we have removed any information from the copy provided to you where we are able to do so.
We will also explain the exemption used, for example:
- if the information is about another person (third party information) - because of the nature of some of our files, other people could be mentioned in them. This personal information about someone else would be withheld from you.
- if we have been given information in confidence - we would not release the details of the person who had given us the information without their consent to do so.
Who is entitled to make a request?
Anyone who believes we hold personal information about them.
In cases where a person is not capable of understanding or exercising their rights, because they suffer from a severe mental impairment, then persons who are legally able to act on their behalf can make access requests.
I have made a subject access request - what happens next?
By law, we must provide you with a copy of your information within 40 calendar days of receipt of your payment. We will however, endeavour to provide you with your information as soon as possible.
Please use www.sra.org.uk/dpa to link to this page.