The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union requires the EU legislature to lay down rules relating to the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data. These rules were originally contained in the Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC) which forms the foundation of Irish data protection law. May 2018 will witness the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (2016/679) (GDPR) which will replace the Data Protection Directive. The GDPR is more onerous than the Data Protection Directive because unlike its predecessor, the GDPR is a regulation and accordingly leaves no discretion to national legislatures as to how it is transposed into national law. The GDPR is going to have a significant impact not only on Members State but also on non-Member States.
The geographical scope of the GDPR is startling. It not only applies within the EU but it also applies to data controllers and processors outside the EU whose processing activities relate to the offering of goods or services to, or monitoring the behaviour of, EU data subjects. Worryingly, companies’ legal compliance departments may not have the capacity or competence, particularly if located outside the EU, to ensure their company is in conformity with the Regulation.
For the first time direct obligations are placed on data processors. These include an obligation to maintain a written record of processing activities carried out on behalf of each controller; to appoint a data protection officer; to designate a representative when not established in the EU; and to notify the controller on becoming aware of a personal data breach without undue delay.
When the GDPR comes into force it will have quite severe penalties for those who are deemed non-compliant. In some instances fines of up to 4% of annual worldwide turnover or €20 million, whichever is higher, can be imposed. This certainly makes compliance an imperative.
This brings into sharp focus the crucial role of legal process outsourcing (LPO) and data protection review services. LPO is a cost effective way of ensuring compliance with the new rules. Instead of spending huge amounts of cash on establishing operations and procedures to meet the strictures of the GDPR the most efficient and effective course is to outsource this task to compliance professionals. LPO providers, through their skill and expertise in data protection review, can guarantee that a company wherever located is in compliance with the Regulation. Engaging LPO providers allows companies to focus on their core business without having to worry about data protection laws.
Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) is one of the best services available not only to law firms but to all businesses that have any kind of legal compliance obligations. Essentially, it involves obtaining legal support services from an external legal support service provider. LPO incorporates a wide range of services, principal among these are data review, document review, data protection compliance, eDiscovery, compliance assistance, litigation support, and Freedom of Information support.
In today’s highly competitive and changing legal markets firms are constantly looking for ways to reduce costs and become more efficient. LPO provides just that. It creates significant costs savings as firms no longer have to expend resources on non-profit generating activities. This allows for a more effective use of time which can be spent on more specialised and revenue generating projects. LPO enables firms to continue to offer their clients an excellent standard of service while at the same time making significant time and cost savings.
LPO is a flexible process and can be tailored and adapted to meet a firm’s and their client’s specific needs. The diverse range of services LPO offers, coupled with its skilled professionals means LPO providers are uniquely equipped to deal with whatever service a modern law firm demands.
LPO providers offer a high level of expertise and operate to the highest standards of professionalism where confidentiality is guaranteed. LPO enables firms to remain competitive. It generates huge efficiencies and allows for more efficient resource allocation.