Confidentiality & Conflict of Interest Policy
EYE-LAW CHAMBERS, hereinafter referred to as ‘the Organisation’ is committed to providing a confidential service to its users. No identifiable personal information given to the Organisation will be shared with any other organisation or individual without the user’s expressed permission.
The purpose of the Confidentiality Policy is to ensure that all staff and members understand the Organisation’s requirements in relation to the disclosure of personal data and confidential information. It will be published on our website for clients to see.
For the purpose of this policy, confidentiality relates to the transmission of personal, sensitive or identifiable information about individuals or organisations (confidential information), which comes into the possession of the Organisation through its work.
The Organisation holds personal data about its clients which will only be used for the purposes for which it was gathered and will never be disclosed to anyone outside of the organisation without prior permission from the relevant party unless we are obliged to do so by a Court order.
All personal data will be dealt with sensitively and in the strictest confidence internally and externally. All EYE LAW CHAMBERS medical experts are registered medical practitioners and are governed by the General Medical Council and the mandates of Good Medical Practice (2013) and particularly Domain 4 paragraphs 55 80.
Confidentiality is also applicable to Optometrists as per section 14 of the General Optical Councils Standards of Practice which all Optometrists must adhere to. This is the link. No case specific information of any sort provided to one Expert is visible to any other Expert in Chambers without the prior explicit written agreement of the relevant instructing party or a Court order. This is sometimes called a “Chinese wall”.
- All personal paper-based and electronic data must be stored in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and GDPR, and must be secured against unauthorised access, accidental disclosure, loss or destruction. We will securely destroy paper records when no longer required, or can be returned to instructing parties on request (at cost).
- All personal paper-based and electronic data must only be accessible to those individuals authorised to have access.
- INFORMATION BARRIER: For the avoidance of doubt, any information provided to any member of chambers will never be shared with another member whether or not both are on opposing sides of a single case. When both Members of Eye Law Chambers are on the same case, all external documents (reports or letters) must disclose that the members are both part of EYE-LAW CHAMBERS using the following wording or similar: “STATEMENT OF POTENTIAL PERCEIVED CONFLICT OF INTEREST. Mr. XX and Mr. YY are both members of EYE-LAW CHAMBERS, an administrative organisation. All members act in the best interest of their clients and owe their duty to the Court; therefore we do not believe that this interferes with our independence and over-riding duty to any Court.”
The Organisation is committed to effective statistical recording of the use of its services in order to monitor usage and performance.
Any statistical records given to third parties, such as to support funding applications or monitoring reports for relevant national authorities shall be produced in anonymised form, so individuals cannot be recognised.
All physical records are kept in locked premises. All electronic records are password protected.
Breaches of Confidentiality
Eye Law Chambers is a relatively small enterprise, however it holds sensitive personal data; any breach of confidentiality will be assessed and if detrimental to individuals, it will be reported to the ICO and the respective individual(s) as per GDPR requirements. All breaches will be logged and monitored adequately.
Any breach of confidentiality will be dealt with under GDPR regulations. In view of the medical nature of our work, the Organisation recognises that very rarely occasions may arise where members feel they need to breach confidentiality. Confidential or sensitive information relating to an individual may be divulged where there is risk of danger to the individual, or the public at large, or where it is against the law to withhold it. In these circumstances, information may be divulged to external agencies e.g. police or social services on a need to know basis. Such a decision will be authorised by a minimum of 2 directors.
We do not consider an expert member writing to a treating doctor (general practitioner or specialist ophthalmologist) advising new findings or suggesting treatment with the patient’s knowledge to be a breach of confidentiality.
The Organisation will ensure this policy meets statutory and legal requirements including the Data Protection Act, Children's Act, Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and Prevention of Terrorism Act.
Ensuring the Effectiveness of the Policy
All Members of Chambers and staff (including existing and new workers) will receive a copy of the confidentiality policy and comply with it. We welcome any comments on improving this policy document.
Breaches of this policy will be dealt with under statutory mechanisms as required.