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The Post Office Scandal – the need for the details

After years of trials, a public inquiry and thousands of newspaper column inches, it took for a television drama to prompt the Government into "urgent" action in the Horizon Post Office scandal.

The Government announced on the 10th January that:

  • Legislation would be introduced within weeks overturning wrongful convictions of hundreds of postmasters
  • Exoneration would ensure innocent people receive swifter compensation
  • Compensation payments would be expedited for trailblazers who took first legal action against the Post Office

Rishi Sunak said that, “This is one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in this country’s history, with hundreds of people having their lives ruined and reputations dragged through mud.

“Too many still have wrongful convictions tied to their name, and we cannot continue to fail them.

“We must do everything we can to exonerate and compensate these innocent people, and make sure they finally get the justice they deserve.”

At Ward Hadaway, we are privileged to have worked for a number of years with clients affected by this scandal, and remain committed to helping them in their plight to clear their names and receive the compensation they deserve.

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Neil Armitage, who leads on these matters, commented: “Whilst no amount of money will ever be able to fully compensate the sub-postmasters or their families for the individual ordeals that they have been through, we are delighted that the Government has committed to dealing with these matters quickly, as these painful and ruinous matters go back a number of years, and the process to date has been extremely slow.”

However, in spite of this sweeping decision, there are a number of issues which continue to require further clarification.

For instance, what is going to happen to:

  • Those who have settled already, when all the facts and the scale of the issue were not at large
  • Employees dismissed as the finger of blame was pointed in the wrong direction, who have lived with the cloud of “dishonesty” over their heads for so many years
  • Those who have paid their own legal bills from damages received
  • Families who used savings and sold assets to try and avoid bankruptcy
  • The relatives of people who died before they had the peace of knowing that they were believed.

This scandal has incredibly wide-ranging consequences which are not yet clearly addressed by the most recent announcements.

Our team, led by experienced litigators, Neil Armitage and Emma Digby, are working with clients to:

  • Review all of those claims which settled before the latest developments
  • Pursue settlement for all those who have claims currently on-going
  • Lobby for further developments in legislation to provide justice for all of those affected

If you have been affected by this scandal, and are unsure of your next steps, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

This page may contain links that direct you to third party websites. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.

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Emma Digby

Partner | Commercial Litigation

+44 (0) 330 137 3308

+44 (0) 774 040 5743

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Neil Armitage

Associate | Commercial Litigation

+44 (0) 330 137 3336

+44 (0) 770 379 6254

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