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HJA Responds To Post Office Exoneration Bill Announcement

HJA’s legal team for 121 Post Office Inquiry Core Participants responds to exoneration bill announcement

The Government today announced details of new legislation to overturn the wrongful convictions of sub postmasters/mistresses implicated in the Post Office Horizon scandal, widely described as the biggest miscarriage of justice in UK history.

Mike Schwarz, Partner and Head of Public Inquiries (crime) at Hodge Jones & Allen, who represents 12 Core Participants in the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry comments:

“It’s a measure of how badly the Post Office have behaved over the past two decades that the Government has been bounced into such unprecedented and wide-reaching legislation.

“Two particular failings, probably both of which are deliberate, have contributed. Post Office Ltd have failed to disclose all relevant material – and so courts, including I’m sorry to say, the Court of Appeal, have been duped into incomplete rulings, the consequences of which the Government feels obliged to fix itself. Post Office Ltd has also contrived enormous delays and continues to do so – meaning that the Government, as a result of public pressure, feel obliged to act quickly and bypass conventional processes by promoting the wholesale quashing of convictions.

“Like many lawyers I would be concerned were the legislation to take the judiciary and criminal justice system out of the process of clearing sub postmasters and mistresses’ names. I can see a procedure whereby all potential miscarriages of justices could be referred to the Supreme Court, and it could decide, unfettered by past Court of Appeal rulings and unimpeded by the dead weight of the Post Office, on all questioned convictions. It could examine and quash convictions, on a case-by-case basis, promptly and smoothly, without leaving the lingering taint, that the odd sub postmaster/mistress, whose conviction it quashes, still has a question mark against their good name.”

The Sir Wyn Williams’ Inquiry, set up in 2020 to look at issues of governance in the Post Office, is expected to continue its vital work until at least summer 2024 and provide a full public record of how this miscarriage of justice was able to take place.

Following the Government announcement today, Hodge Jones & Allen will also be representing additional clients in miscarriage of justice/overturning conviction proceedings and compensation claims. Further details of these services are available here.


1Colin Savage, Janet Skinner, Lee Castleton, Mhairi McDougall, Nichola Arch, Oyeteju Adedayo, Parmod Kalia, Sathyan Shiju, Seema Misra, Tracy Felstead, Vijay Parekh and Vipin Patel.

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