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Confidential Legal Files Found Dumped On Street in Melbourne

A law firm in Melbourne could face investigation after an unsecured wheelie bin containing dozens of confidential legal files was found abandoned on a kerb near the intersection of William and Little Lonsdale streets in the heart of Melbourne's legal precinct.

The dumped wheelie bin was overflowing with private and highly sensitive documents such as police records-of-interview, copies of cheques, medical reports, income tax statements, land title records and settlement deeds from lawsuits.

A spokesman for acting Victorian Legal Services Commissioner Russell Daily said he was unable to confirm if the matter would be investigated.

"While our legislation prevents me from being able to discuss what we are doing about this particular matter, I can tell you that lawyers have an obligation to maintain their clients' confidentiality at all times.

"Disposal of client files containing personal and/or sensitive information in an unsecure manner, regardless of the age of the files, may be a breach of that obligation," the spokesman said.

The Legal Services Board has previously issued warnings to practitioners about their legal obligations regarding the disposal of files containing private information.

"Please discharge your responsibilities of confidentiality by handling documents with care and attention, and disposing of the personal information of your clients securely and lawfully. It is vitally important that the whole practice is aware of this responsibility, including administration staff. Their mistakes become the lawyers' responsibilities."

- The Age, October 29 2017.

The secure destruction of confidential documents is critical not only for your clients privacy but also to ensure your business's integrity and reputation.

The unsecured dumping of confidential client and/or customer information is every business's nightmare: that somehow confidential documents end up being “dumped” on the street, rather than securely collected and destroyed. And not only is this bad for your clients, but may actually lead to fines or industry penalties that will seriously harm your business. Paying for secured, wheelie bins that are collected regularly is a small price to pay to protect the reputation and future of your business.

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