Get In Touch
Falsely Accused of Crime

Post Office Scandal

Mike Schwarz
Mike Schwarz
Aneka Thirurajah
Aneka Thirurajah
Brenel Menezes
Brenel Menezes
Senior Associate
Chun Wong
Chun Wong
Cormac McDonough
Cormac McDonough
Michael Ackah
Senior Associate
Finley Levell
Finley Levell
Sasha Barton
Sasha Barton
Susie Labinjoh


The government has announced that it is exploring measures to clear the names of numerous sub-postmasters and mistresses (SPMs) who were convicted in the Post Office Horizon IT scandal and to pay adequate compensation to the 1000s more affected by it.

Our team of expert solicitors are representing SPMs who have fallen victim to the Post Office Horizon IT scandal. HJA are representing SPMs in the ongoing public inquiry, assisting them to overturn wrongful convictions and claiming compensation.

Speak to our legal experts Mike Schwarz, Chun Wong or Cormac McDonough for legal representation and help with compensation claims. Call us on 0808 278 8389 or

About The Inquiry

Between 700 and 1000 individuals were prosecuted and may have been wrongly found guilty of criminal offences caused by the failings of the Fujitsu system, used by SPMs and sub-post office (SPO) staff around the country. The computer system wrongly indicated discrepancies in funds and SPO accounts. SPMs were convicted of or pleaded guilty to theft and false accounting, as a result of the failure of the Post Office, who prosecuted most of them, to disclose serious problems with its computer system and fatal flaws in its evidence.

Others were sued in the civil courts, lost their cases, ordered to ‘pay back’ money they had ‘taken’ and the Post Office’s legal costs and made bankrupt. Many others were wrongly forced to pay back money they did not in fact owe. SPMs were suspended from their jobs and then dismissed. Some sadly took their own lives and others have died without seeing justice.

The tide, however has been turning as a result of the dogged commitment of SPMs and those supporting them.

In Alan Bates and Others v Post Office Limited, the High Court confirmed that there were serious problems with the Horizon IT system.

In Hamilton v Post Office, 93 convictions for theft and false accounting were quashed by the Court of Appeal.

A public inquiry, chaired by Sir Wyn Williams, continues its examination of the scandal.

Now the government has announced plans and schemes to improve the SPMs’ position.

Back to top

Scope of the Post Office Inquiry

The Post Office Inquiry’s terms of reference are comprehensively to review what went wrong with Horizon and the Post Office’s misconduct, and make recommendations for the future.

Mike Schwarz and the crime team represent a number of SPMs who are ‘core participants’ in the Inquiry, including a significant proportion of core participants whose experiences are being treated as ‘case studies’ by the Inquiry to examine and illustrate what went wrong.

“I welcome the good news, however the fight for justice still continues. Every one of us Sub Postmasters, prosecuted and persecuted, need to be restored to where we would have been had the scandal not happened. All three schemes should be treated equally. Justice delayed is justice denied.”

Sathyan Shiju, sub-postmaster

Sathyan Shiju

Back to top

Criminal Convictions

Mike Schwarz and the crime team represent in the Inquiry some of the key appellants in the Hamilton Court of Appeal case, who had their convictions quashed.

We are thrilled to announce a significant triumph in the Post Office Horizon scandal. Kathleen Crane, expertly represented by Hodge Jones & Allen and barrister Flora Page from 23ES chambers, has successfully overturned her fraud conviction in a landmark decision at the Royal Courts of Justice on January 25, 2024.
Read more here.

The team continue to represent others who have had successful criminal appeals to the Crown Court and others who are seeking to challenge existing convictions, based on Horizon ‘evidence’.

For assistance with legal representation in the inquiry or overturning convictions please contact Partner, Mike Schwarz.

Mike Schwarz

Call our legal experts today on 0808 278 8389 or email us.

Back to top

Compensation Schemes

1. Overturned convictions

If you have had a criminal conviction overturned where the reliability of the Horizon IT system was essential to the prosecution you can apply for compensation under the overturned convictions scheme. Eligible applicants are entitled to an interim payment of £163,000 pending assessment of a final compensation sum.

2. Group Litigation Claimants

If you were one of the 555 Group Litigation claimants who reached a settlement with the Post Office in December 2019 then you may be entitled to make an additional claim to the ex-gratia compensation scheme.

3. Horizon Shortfall Scheme (previously known as Historic Shortfall Scheme)

This scheme is for current and former Postmasters (who had a contract directly with the Post Office and were not involved with the above group litigation), who believe they experienced shortfalls relating to previous versions of the Horizon IT system.

4. The Suspension Remuneration Scheme

This scheme is for current and former Postmasters, who before March 2019, were not paid during the period of any contract suspension.

The Post Office changed their policy in March 2019 and Postmasters are now paid during a period of suspension. If you are a former or current Postmaster who were not paid during a period of suspension the Suspension Remuneration Review offers redress for those affected by the previous suspension remuneration policy

Back to top

Legal Costs under the Compensation Schemes

To ensure that you are advised and supported throughout the process it is strongly recommended that you seek independent legal advice. The Post Office will contribute towards your reasonable legal fees and expert fees (e.g. medical reports, accountancy reports or property/business valuations) in addition to any compensation awarded.

We are offering funding options to also cover any shortfall in legal costs recoverable from the Post Office which means:

  1. There is no upfront costs to any client
  2.  There are no costs if no compensation is recovered

"This long ongoing saga created by the Post Office needed this intervention from the Government to resolve the continued unwarranted persecution and agony inflicted to innocent law abiding honest Postmasters".

Parmod Kalia, sub-postmaster
Parmod France Rugby

Back to top

Contact our Post Office Inquiry Claims team

If you have been affected by the Post Office scandal and wish to share your experience, please reach out to our HJA Post Office Inquiry team promptly. You can get in touch via email or request a callback at your convenience.

For assistance with legal representation in the inquiry or overturning convictions please contact Partner, Mike Schwarz

For help with compensation claims contact Partners Chun Wong and Cormac McDonough

Call our legal experts today on
0808 278 8389

or email us

Media Enquiries

For media enquiries call 0808 239 4011 or email our  PR team



Back to top

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the scheme open to?

Please refer to the compensation schemes above.

Can I make a claim on behalf of a deceased postmaster?

Yes, if the deceased meets the eligibility requirements and you demonstrate that you have legal standing to bring a claim on their behalf, such as being an executor, personal representative, attorney, or deputy acting on behalf of the applicant.

Please be aware that documentation verifying this legal relationship must be provided. If you are in the process of acquiring the necessary legal documents, such as probate documents, you can still proceed by submitting a registration form and application form. However, it’s essential to ensure that the relevant legal documents are obtained and available before any monies are distributed.

How long is the claim process expected to take?

There is no set timeframe provided by the Post Office. The Post Office state that the duration for investigating and evaluating each claim will significantly rely on the specifics of the claim and the amount of documentation associated with it.

I have no documentation – can I still make a claim?

Yes, if you meet the eligibility criteria, you’re encouraged to apply and to provide as much information in support of your claim as you can.

It has been recognised by the Post Office that many applicants will have difficulties in evidencing their claims due to missing records or the passage of times. Claims will not be dismissed solely due to insufficient information. It has been stated that “where the postmaster is unable to satisfy the burden of proof in relation to their claim, their claim may nonetheless be accepted in whole or in part if the Scheme considers it to be fair in all the circumstances”

What is a Public Inquiry?

A public inquiry is an independent investigation, established by the Government and conducted normally by a judge, in response to major failures in systems or services that have shaken public confidence on issues of significant public concern. The inquiry is a fact-finding exercise which may assist restore public confidence, and be part of a process of ensuring accountability for those culpable. It is a public record of past failings, and makes recommendations for the future, so that the events under examination are – hopefully – not repeated.

A public inquiry does not have the authority to determine liability or to sanction those responsible, or to make the Government adopt its recommendations. Often, however, an inquiry will unearth evidence which may be taken forward by prosecuting or regulatory authorities, and its recommendations may become policy and/or law.

Further Reading
View all