Belfast-based law firm Carson McDowell has created the first Information Law Team in Northern Ireland in a response to an increasing demand for work in the sector.
With new laws around data protection coming into effect next year, a number of Partners from the firm’s expert teams in fields such as healthcare, environmental, commercial and employment law, will come together to advise on all elements of data protection, from understanding privacy rights to the workings of Freedom of Information rules and Non-Disclosure Agreements.
Dawn McKnight, Partner in the Corporate Law Team commented: “At Carson McDowell, we have a specialist lawyers who are leaders in their field when it comes to this growing area of work. The new team is a way of bringing together those individuals, sharing knowledge and offering a better, more composite service to clients who are facing a range of new challenges around access to information and data.
“It’s clear that much has changed since some of the laws about data were passed. Advances in technology mean access to sensitive information is readily available, with our smartphones becoming compact computers storing increasing amounts of personal data. Compliance in this area has become even more time consuming and we’ve seen many high profile cases of hacking and data breaches in the past 12 months,” she added.
“A number of companies are now employing Data Protection Officers (DPOs) who are responsible for managing data security and minimising the risks of cyber-attacks. Businesses can be liable for data breaches and some companies are nervous about this, particularly because they know a barrage of new legislation is imminent.”
Claire Bates, Partner in the Healthcare Team added: “It has been nearly 20 years since the Data Protection Act was launched and many businesses will need to update and review policies before the new laws are enforced next May.
“Cyber security is a major issue and Carson McDowell’s new Information Law Team has all the right tools to reassure businesses about the best ways to protect themselves.”