A LAW CENTRE in Dublin, Ireland, has been rubbished over the handling of hundreds of clients’ confidential records which ended up in a dump without being shredded.
Clients’ documents, which included copies of bank records, passports, medical reports, wills and other personal information, made up the 24 bags found in waste collection after being disposed of by the Ormond Quay Law Centre, The Irish Times reported.
The law centre also put out for waste collection documents relating to a candidate in the last general election and a number of people who are taking proceedings against the centre.
Apparently coincidently, the law centre is now being closed down, but the Legal Aid Board denies any connection between the loss of records last July and the decision to discontinue legal aid services in the centre.
Chief executive of the Legal Aid Board, Moling Ryan, said an investigation into the incident had been ordered, and would be completed in several weeks. He acknowledged that “some documents were, unfortunately, put out with the rubbish,” The Irish Times reported. He added, however, that the lost material contained nothing of significance in relation to case files and did not involve issues of confidentiality.
The lost records are said to include completed anti-money laundering forms with clients’ personal details, as well as social worker reports on childcare cases. Additionally, copies of court orders, payslips and children’s medical reports have been found.
Officials were alerted to the issue last year when a “concerned member of staff” sent a letter to the chairman of the Legal Aid Board, Anne Colley, in which they expressed concern that clients’ records have been “strewn about the street”.
An investigation followed just a month later, headed by the retired director of the Courts Service in Dublin, Jim McCormack. Ryan has rejected the idea of publishing the report when it is completed.