What are the retention periods for legal documents?

Having a good records management strategy is essential for Law firms owing to the vast number of sensitive documents that they handle, which may include various forms of agreements, instructions, and case notes, among other things.

The general consensus is that the minimum legal document retention time for most types of records should be at least six years, as this is the primary limitation period under the Limitation Act of 1980. Other legal documents, on the other hand, must be retained for a period of at least 15 years or more.

Some businesses will keep all of their records in order to be prepared for any potential problems in the future. However, this strategy can take up a lot of physical space, and it can be time-consuming and expensive to properly sort and preserve documents. This is where having a working grasp of more specific legal records keeping laws can be extremely beneficial.

This short guide will emphasise some of the most important aspects of legal document preservation that you should be aware of, and it should serve as a reminder of the kind of papers that you should maintain.

Legal records that must be retained for a period of at least six years

As previously stated, many legal documents should be kept for a period of six years, as this is the principal limitation period under the 1980 Limitation Act. This includes records pertaining to the following:

  • Crime
  • Immigration
  • Litigation in County Court
  • Debt collection

Legal records that must be retained for a period of at least fifteen years

Certain files should be kept for a period of 15 years, in accordance with the long-stop provision of section 14B of the Limitation Act of 1980. These documents are pertinent in circumstances where claims may be asserted outside the principal limitation period. This includes records pertaining to the following:

  • Children and family matters
  • Commercial transactions
  • Financial Services
  • Matrimonial matters
  • Commercial property
  • Property sales
  • Residential property purchases
  • Probate
  • Sales of leasehold properties
  • Employment
  • Personal injury

Legal records that must be retained for longer than 15 years

Other more critical files should be retained for a longer period of time than 15 years – ideally, they will not be discarded at all. These records include the following:

  • Change of name
  • Company formation
  • Court of Protection
  • Declaration of trust
  • Patents/intellectual property matters
  • Pension schemes
  • Lasting power of attorney and enduring power of attorney
  • Wills

Deeds and Wills storage

Only original wills and deeds are legally binding, which is why it is critical to have the originals safely stored. Wills are subject to modification and updating over time, but the most recent version will be used in court to divide an estate. Additionally, original deeds may contain other information that may be beneficial in the event of a dispute, such as legal borders and the prior owner.

Different law firms will have varying practises on how long they retain an original will or deed, with some holding it permanently while others retain it for a finite period (30 years from creation, for example). Whatever the rule, it is critical that it is communicated clearly to the customer and organised in such a way that records retrieval is made simple when necessary.

Possession of legal files

Prior to destroying a legal document, it is necessary to ascertain who owns the document’s contents. The majority of records will contain documents that are yours and those that belong to the client or third parties. Documents in your custody on behalf of a customer or a third party must be handled precisely according to their instructions – not yours.

Safe storage

Working with a dedicated document storage specialist such as Flexible Storage Solutions third-party document storage provider can assume the responsibility for document retention on your behalf, ensuring that you are compliant with all applicable rules and have access to your papers at any time. To learn more about our services, visit our website. If you wish to learn more about storage solutions and related topics, visit our blog.

Space savings tips for paper storage

Whether you want to store personal paper records or professional paper records, setting up a storage solution can quickly turn into a nightmare if you are not prepared. Some will prefer digitalising everything while others will choose archive storage. If you plan to keep your files for a long period of time, consider storing them in an archive storage facility. This will make organising your office or home easier, as well as freeing up additional space while keeping your vital documents safe and secure.

If you decide to store your important files in an archive storage facility, there are a few tips you should follow in order to make the experience as smooth and painless as possible. In this article, we will give you all the keys you need to self-store you important papers efficiently.

Setting up for storage

Paper that will be stored long-term should be printed on acid-free paper whenever possible as acid-free paper has a much longer lifespan than regular paper. It is  also necessary to regulate the humidity levels and light and heat exposure in your unit. Taking all these precautions will allow you papers to stay in good condition on the long run.

Unexpected damage could occur despite taking all essential procedures to ensure the integrity of your documents. Accidents or natural catastrophes are examples of events that might cause significant damage. However this is not in your control. To avoid stress linked to this possibility, you should consider making multiple copies of originals and consider digitising everything, or at least the most important files.

Organisation

  • Make sure that each box or container is neatly labelled with a permanent marker pen or with stickers before you begin putting you documents in storage. This will make finding what you need much quicker next time you need to find a document.
  • Make a note of everything that you wish to store to ensure that you know exactly what is stored and where it is stored.
  • Creating a list while you pack for storage will allow you to keep track of everything and will help you see if anything has been forgotten or misplaced.
  • Make sure your boxes are evenly distributed. Boxes should not be overloaded. Your boxes should then be arranged evenly, with the largest on the bottom and the smallest on the top.
  • Put the most frequently used documents at the front of the box. Organise your storage unit by placing any items that you believe you will need in the near future at the front of the unit. You will then be able to conveniently access them without having to completely unload and repack your entire storage unit.

If you are interested in storing your important documents, we can help! We offer an archive service with free initial box collection, fireproof storage, storage to destruction service as well as document indexing, tracking & retrieval. Our facilities are fully compliant with GDPR and are

ISO 9001 & ISO 27001 certified. We offer business archive storage, financial storage, legal archive storage, medical archive storage, document indexing, document scanning, document storage boxes as well as an online file management service.

With our archive services, you are in control. We make the storage process very transparent so  you can keep an eye on everything. With our management service you can simply manage documents, index, search, and retrieve information from the convenience of your own home or workplace. For storage, you can use your own boxes or we can provide you with archive boxes.  You can contact us anytime for document retrieval or more. We will accompany you all the way to secure destruction of no-longer-needed documentation. We will assist you even step of the way! To learn more, visit our website or get in contact with us.

Why choose Flexible Storage Solutions

There are so many storage companies on the market. So why should you choose us over hundreds of other companies? As you are aware, selecting organisations with whom you can establish a long-term connection and rely on can be a challenging task. Here are some of the reasons why choosing us is a good decision for your business.

Our ethos

We consider our work to be more than simply a job; we take great pride in the solutions we offer for our customers. We endeavour to provide services to a high level of excellence to ensure client satisfaction. At Flexible Storage Solutions we strive to reach the highest standards of quality.

Our experience

Flexible storage was established in 2005. Since then, a lot has happened. We have served hundreds of clients at our state-of-the-art storage facilities. The level of service we offer has resulted in us building a great reputation and a strong client base. We have learnt a lot along the way which helps us provide you with the best possible services every day.

Friendly advice and assistance

We want your storage experience to be as stress-free and flexible as possible, which is why we’re always available to make sure you’re satisfied with your unit and that you’re getting the most out of your new storage facility. Our friendly customer service team are available to resolve any issues you face whilst utilising our self-storage, archive storage or confidential waste services. Issues are unlikely but if they do arise, we will solve them as soon as we possibly can.

Safety

At flexible storage solutions, we take safety very seriously. This why we have put in place many security protocols to make sure that our clients, our employees, and everything that we store are always safe. Our storage premises are fireproof, waterproof, and monitored by CCTV 24/7. But our security processes don’t stop there! We also care about your data. We are fully GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliant and make it our mission to be the securest option for all your needs. You may rest easy knowing that your belongings are in good hands thanks to our top-notch security.

Trust

Over the years we have created many strong relationships with clients in all sorts of industries. From healthcare to law firms to global freight, we have been chosen by the best professionals out there. When you sign up with Flexible Storage Solutions, you are in good hands.

Transparency

No hidden costs or charges. We believe in being upfront with fees and costs which is why we will always inform you of any changes to your account. You are in total control, always.

Simplicity

We are easy to work with. No fuss and no nonsense, we focus on providing you with exactly what you need. We are dedicated to delivering exceptional service. If you would like to find out more about how we could support your business, please contact our team.

Christmas Decoration and Seasonal Storage

As Christmas comes and goes, one of the biggest hassles can be storing Christmas Decorations and Seasonal goods! Using external storage solutions may be a way to help you optimise your space from year to year, only having your decorations around through the festive period. We have put this blog together to help you understand the benefits of using Christmas decoration and seasonal storage out with your property.

Christmas Decoration and Seasonal Storage for Businesses

If you are a business with a physical location, it is likely you will have a large tree. Along with this, there will be baubles and other ornaments to hang on the tree. Additionally, you might have other decorations around your office, store, restaurant, or other commercial property. These can take up a lot of space when it comes to storing them year-on-year!

As property prices in London and the South-East continue to rise, space becomes increasingly valuable. Using off-site self-storage solutions has become a popular way of optimising business space and storing Christmas decorations efficiently.

One of the most important factors to consider when looking into off-site self-storage solutions for Christmas decorations is flexible and cost-effective contracts. This helps keep margins as low as possible with the option to adapt as your business needs change. At Flexible Storage we give short-term rolling contracts which help keep costs to a minimum. You can also rent storage units when required, which is cost-effective for seasonal decoration storage. Our storage facilities also offer high levels of security, which gives you the peace of mind that all items are safe.

Christmas Decoration and Seasonal Storage for Personal Use

Christmas decoration and seasonal storage for personal use can become very difficult. This is especially true if you don’t have an attic or other large area for storage in your home because Christmas lights, artificial trees, garlands, and baubles can take up significant room. Many of us have experienced trying to cram everything into a cupboard at the start of January, hoping the pile won’t collapse and fall out on top of us!

One way that you can store Christmas decorations for your home is through flexible self-storage options. This means that you don’t need to think about decorations for the majority of the year, only having them in your property when they are required! You can then use your space efficiently, keeping hold of the items you need on a regular basis. Additionally, all items are held securely with effective measures in place to prevent damage or theft.

Another option you have for Christmas decoration and seasonal storage is grouping together with some friends or neighbours. You can then share the cost of a storage unit throughout the year. This is a great way of keeping your costs even lower!


If you are interested in Flexible Storage providing you with Christmas decoration and seasonal storage, please do get in touch. Our consultants will help you assess your storage needs and put together a cost-effective quote. 

A Guide to Storing Medical Files 

Storing medical files securely is essential, and there are a number of regulations which must be met. Mistakes can be damaging to your organisation and the patient. We have put together a guide to storing medical files in order to help you understand the best practices.

Length of Storage for Medical Files

The minimum length of retention for storing medical files can vary depending on their purpose.

In the UK, physical GP records must be kept for the patient’s lifetime and 10 years after the death of a patient. Furthermore, electronic patient records must not be destroyed or deleted for the foreseeable future.

The length of storage for hospital records in the UK has more variation. You need to store most hospital records for 8 years after the conclusion of treatment or death. Exceptions include maternity records, which must be kept for 25 years after the birth of the last child. Files for children and young people are to be stored until the patient’s 25th birthday or 26th if the young person was 17 at the conclusion of treatment, or 8 years after death. Furthermore, mental health records are stored for 20 years or 8 years after the patient has died.

It is important to note that there are different regulations for storing medical files in Scotland.

How to Store Medical Files

Most medical files are now stored online. However, there are many cases where storage of physical, paper copies are also a requirement. For example, the Lloyd George medical records.

Because the nature of medical files is highly confidential, strict procedures must be in place. One of the most important legal regulations to follow is the UK GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 which sets in law how to handle personal information. Other legal regulations include Public Records Act 1958 and Local Government Act 1972, Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Health and Social Care Act 2008. The Records Management Code of Practice 2021 provides comprehensive details on all requirements for storing medical files.

Where to Keep Medical Files

It is possible to store physical and digital medical files both on-site or off-site. Storing files off-site is often the most practical option, as you save physical space and file management is made very convenient. You can then easily access digital files from a secure digital platform.

Off-site solutions such as Flexible Storage must ensure that there is a full inventory of what is held off-site, and a disposal log is kept. They also must apply retention periods to each record and show evidence of secure disposal of records and information.

Protecting Medical Files

In order to meet legal regulations, precautions must be taken to keep files confidential. One of the major benefits of storing medical files off-site is the high level of security. At flexible storage solutions, we use steel storage units to store medical files. Protection against fire and water is important to ensure the files are not damaged. Additionally, files must have 24-hour security and surveillance to prevent theft and vandalism.


If you are looking for more information about securely storing medical files for your organisation, get in touch with one of our professional storage consultants today. We will create a quote based on your medical archive storage needs. 

Is Archive Storage a good option for Probate Lawyers

Archive Storage for Probate Lawyers

Despite much digitalisation of the legal professional, some aspects still require traditional letters and paper documents. Research by Exizent revealed that 80% of probate cases require a minimum of 10 letters to be sent whilst 33% of probate cases require up to 50 letters to be sent to parties involved. 

With so many letters and pieces of paperwork being sent backwards and forwards, it is no surprise that the probate industry is very paper heavy. Archive storage is a great solution for legal professionals in the probate industry, and here’s why.

Space-saving

Many legal professionals have made the decision to downsize their offices or move to remote working as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A smaller office, of course, means less storage space. This is a challenge for those working in probate as so many documents need to be stored during the probate process and with some probate cases taking years to resolve, this can cause a big problem. 

Our archive storage offers a secure facility to store important documents. Whether you are a small legal firm that requires a couple of boxes or a larger firm that requires many more, Flexible Storage Solutions can help. Our archive storage service also includes indexing of documents and file management, so should you require documents stored in our archive facility, we can access them quickly for you.

Regulatory compliant

For those working in the legal profession, compliance with data and privacy laws is of upmost importance. Our archive storage service complies with GDPR regulations as well as data protection laws. We pride ourselves on the safe and secure storage of any documents in our care when utilising our archive storage service, and to provide further peace of mind, all of our staff are security vetted.

A bespoke archive storage service

As a legal professional, your job is stressful enough without having to think about where to securely store your clients’ documents. Flexible Storage Solutions can take care of every aspect of archive storage. Our team can collect, index, and store all your records and documents in our secure archiving facility. We also offer an online file management service that will provide you with full access to manage and retrieve documents via our website. 

Archive storage is a great option for those working in probate, particularly as probate documents are required to be retained for a minimum of 16 years. To discuss how Flexible Storage Solutions can support your business with our archive storage service, please contact the team on 0800 52 1117 or use our online contact form. 

How do I know my documents and data are protected?

How do I know my documents and data are protected?

Here at Flexible Storage Solutions, we have years of experience storing and managing confidential, sensitive documents and items. To give you complete peace of mind your documents and belongings are in safe hands, we have detailed each of the steps we take to ensure the highest security standards below.

ISO 27001and ISO 9001 accredited 

What is the ISO 27001 accreditation? The ISO 27001 accreditation is an internationally recognised best practice framework for Information Security Management Systems (ISMS). The accreditation demonstrates that a business is run to the highest information security standards and has taken the necessary steps to protect against potential threats. ISO 9001 is a Quality Management System with clearly defined business processes. The ISO 9001 accreditation demonstrates that a company is committed to providing products and services to a defined, high standard.

Flexible Storage Solutions is proud to be ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 accredited, proving we have extremely high standards when it comes to safely storing and managing our customer’s documents and data.

Fully GDPR compliant

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDRP) came into effect in 2018, businesses are required to store and protect data in line with these regulations. We are fully GDPR compliant across all of our services including document storage, management and destruction. At Flexible Storage Solutions, we take all the necessary precautions and procedures to ensure your data is always protected.

Secure storage facility

Our storage facility is both water and fireproof, the units we use are made from 2mm thick steel and are protected by hardened steel locks. Our premises also have the highest security standards with security alarms, 24 hour CCTV surveillance and on-site staff to ensure protection 24/7 for all items in our care. We also use a secure code system that allows customers to access their storage units using a unique code that can only be used by them.

Vetted staff

To provide you with greater peace of mind, all of our staff have been security vetted and DBS checked. Every member of staff at our facility from our drivers to admin team, have been through rigorous background checks. We also provide our staff with full professional training in accordance with GDRP and security regulations.

If you would like to find out more about the protocols in place to protect your documents or items, or if you would like to enquire about our services, please call the team on 0800 652 1117 or use our online contact form.

Returning to the Office after Lockdown

2020 has been a time of uncertainty for most.  With the shock of the Covid-19 pandemic, nobody was prepared for what the year had in store, let alone business owners.

Although there are no guarantees, all we can hope is that we can start to get back to some kind of normality soon.  Most governments have started to re-open their countries and hope to improve the economy by easing the lockdown measures so businesses can start to function as they once did.

We are still being advised to work from home if we can, but that is not always possible for some businesses. Now is the best time to start preparing yourself for returning to the workplace.  Before you can do that, there are certain measures you will need to put in place.

Before allowing your staff to return to the office, you will need to make sure it is safe for them and any potential visitors who may attend your premises.

Steps you can take before returning to work

Here is a list of tasks you can carry out to ensure the safety of your employees and customers.

  • Carry out a full risk assessment and make sure you share this information with your employees to put their minds at rest. 
  • Ensure you have washing facilities readily available to make sure everybody adheres to the local health authority guidelines. 
  • If certain staff can work from home, try to make that possible for them where you can.  
  • Explain social distancing measures and ensure all of your staff follow the procedures. 
  • Advise your employees of the importance of healthy living to boost their immune system.

How can you use self-storage post lockdown?

During the lockdown period, businesses had to close, which no doubt had a huge impact on sales and the movement of stock.  When you return to the work premises, it may be beneficial to have a temporary place where you can store your goods.

It may be that you sell a product that is sensitive to harsh elements such as the cold, heat or dust.  By choosing to store your products in a secure storage facility, you will be keeping them safe until such time they are needed again.  An example of this could be leather items or other delicate materials.

You may also notice an increase in hand sanitisers, cleaning products and PPE that you didn’t have to store before now.  By keeping them in a self-storage facility, they will be out of the way but on hand as and when you need them.

Make more room for social distancing

If you have a small workspace, it can be difficult to put social distancing in place.  It may be that you have bulky furniture or too many filing cabinets.  This poses the risk of your employees accidentally bumping into each other.  Now would be time to have a clear out.  You don’t have to permanently remove the items, but by storing them in a self-storage facility, they will be on hand ready for when it’s ‘business as usual’!

Keeping secure data secure during and after lockdown

During the pandemic, it is likely you have been working from home.  It would be tempting to dispose of commercial waste in your own bins, avoiding cluttering up your home.  Not only is this a breach of data protection, but you are also risking the possibility of crimes such as fraud, and you could potentially be faced with fines. 

As a business owner, it is your responsibility to prove any confidential waste is destroyed of in a responsible manner, not only yours but your employees who are also working from home.

Offering your employees the option of temporary storage will prevent any possible data protection issues.  Confidential waste that is no longer needed could be taken to a secure facility where they provide an archive storage and confidential waste service.

At Flexible Storage Solutions, we can help you get back on track. We offer a reliable and professional self-storage and waste management service.

Should you wish to discuss your requirements in more detail, please don’t hesitate to contact us, and we will be happy to assist.

Storage Solution for when you are downsizing your business premises

If you are a business owner and own or rent your premises, you will understand how difficult these unprecedented times are at the moment with the current COVID-19 pandemic.  Office space can be costly, and perhaps you have reached a point that downsizing your business seems like the only realistic option.  It is not an easy decision to make!  The reality is, to keep your business running and stay competitive, downsizing your office or storage space will reduce costs in the long run.

Benefits of downsizing

Running a successful business is stressful at the best of times.  From worrying about cash-flow, keeping you and your employees safe and in some cases, being unable to borrow as and when needed.  Most businesses will agree that if they find themselves in financial difficulty, by reducing upfront costs is key.

Although downsizing isn’t always a choice, there are several benefits to gain.  Not only are you freeing up your financial resources, but you will also be allowing greater flexibility by generating an additional income. 

Another benefit is being able to relocate.  Due to lowering your costs, you are more likely to improve your operations and allow new customers to find you.

When is it time to downsize your business?

It is unlikely you will wake up one morning and decide now is the time to downsize.  Chances are you have probably noticed a change in your finances over time, and will need a plan of action. Ask yourself the following questions!

  • Have you noticed an increase in your overheads?
  • Are you paying suppliers more money due to recession?
  • Have you noticed your sales have decreased dramatically and you are struggling to restock?
  • Is it impossible to undercut your competitors?

If you answer yes to any or all of these questions, the best option is to reassess your finances. Once you have made that decision, put together a plan and be proactive.

How can self-storage help your business?

Every business will benefit from taking stock of what they need and anything that is simply collecting dust.  When choosing self-storage for your business, this will be the perfect opportunity to have a clear out, making more room to expand.

With that said, all businesses will have a collection of paperwork they have stored over the years.  Some may include confidential information such as invoices and private records for your employees.

Flexible Storage Solutions covers Central London and the home counties, offering a self-storage service that will take care of your requirements. Not only will we keep your furniture and equipment safe, but we also have a confidential waste disposal service, destroying any data you no longer need to keep.

We offer a bespoke archive storage solution and can give you a price based on your individual needs. 

You can rest assured that whilst you are concentrating on keeping your business thriving, your belongings will be in safe hands.  We have various size units available and allow easy access as and when needed. For more information on how we can help with your self-storage needs, please don’t hesitate to contact us, and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Reasons why students could benefit from self-storage

Are you a student and finding it difficult to make space for your extra books and equipment? Perhaps you have taken up a hobby for when you are not studying, and your sports equipment is slowly taking over your room. Below are just some of the reasons a student can benefit from using self-storage.

Space has run out

As you look around your room, have you noticed less floor and workspace?  If so, it is time to consider having a sort out. Trying to concentrate in a cluttered environment can be difficult.  By choosing self-storage, you wont need to throw anything away, simply store it until you need the item again.

Avoid moving belongings between properties

Students tend to go back home every academic year.  Sometimes they will return to their original accommodation, whilst other times they will be moving into a new home on return.  Either way, you will want to avoid constantly moving your belongings with you.  By choosing self-storage, you will have peace of mind that your possessions are safe.

Create space for a hobby

Being a student at University is a stressful journey, and you will no doubt need an outlet.  Taking up a sport you enjoy will help take the pressure off, and give you something to do when you need a break from your books.  Some hobbies come with bulky equipment.  For example, you might enjoy kayaking.  A kayak isn’t an item you can pop in the wardrobe.  By choosing self-storage, you can safely store your equipment and take it out as and when you need it.

Keep your possessions safe

It is a strong possibility that starting University is the first time you have had to share a living space with somebody other than family.  It is not unusual to be concerned about the safety of your property.  It takes time to get to know your fellow students, and in the meantime, it would give you peace knowing your valuables are safe in self-storage.

Running an online business

Being a student can leave little time for anything else.  Some students will have a part-time job to earn extra money.  Online selling is a popular choice.  Perhaps you sell on eBay or Etsy and have crafts that you make on-demand.  Self-storage is the perfect solution to storing your stock between sales.

International students

There are over 40 higher education institutions in London, all of which have a good reputation.  It is not unusual for students to travel from other countries to study, and on occasion want to return home for their holidays.  By storing your possessions, you can avoid having to ship them home.

Cost effective storage solution

We understand that being a full-time student at University can be draining on your finances.  Flexible Storage allows students to store their possessions at reasonable prices.  Another option is to share the cost with your friends.  They will also benefit from freeing up some space.

Students who have been affected by Covid-19

2020 has been an unprecedented time for everyone.  People have been unable to work, and students have been put into lockdown all over the world.  For some students, they were fortunate enough to return home, whilst others have had to remain in their student accommodation. This has been especially difficult for students who have travelled for their studies from overseas.

If you have decided to return home temporarily, by choosing self-storage, you won’t have to worry about transporting your belongings.  They will be kept safe and secure, ready for when life starts to return to some form of normality.

Flexible Storage is located in West Thurrock.  Our storage facilities make it convenient to access belongings for students from London and the South East.

Should you require more information on how we can help, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to help.