Post Office Horizon IT Scandal
Hudgell Solicitors and Doughty Street Chambers are representing a further 30 former subpostmasters who are seeking to have convictions of theft, fraud and false accounting quashed following the overturning of the initial 33 in October 2020.
The Post Office Horizon scandal saw hundreds of sub-postmasters wrongly convicted of crimes when accounts showed unexplained shortfalls and discrepancies.
Many were forced to ‘repay’ thousands of pounds and told they’d likely face jail unless they admitted to taking the money out of Post Office funds.
However, in 2019 the High Court ruled that many of the accounting shortfalls and discrepancies were likely to have been caused by the faulty Horizon IT system which had been installed into thousands of branches as long ago as 2000.
That paved the way for the first six successful appeals last December, and today a further 42 former subpostmasters were beginning their cases at the Court of Appeal, having being referred by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC).
For more information on how we can help in making an appeal you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
"Subpostmasters cleared of convictions – now Post Office officials must face criminal investigation for ‘maliciously ruining lives’ by ‘prosecuting innocent people in pursuit of profits’"Read Full Story
"Statement from legal team representing 30 former subpostmasters challenging Post Office convictions at Court of Appeal"Read Full Story
"Hudgell Solicitors represents another 30 subpostmasters to challenge Post Office Horizon convictions at Court of Appeal"Read Full Story
The team at Hudgell Solicitors have been absolutely awesome in what they have done for us to have our convictions overturned. Neil Hudgell and Abby Taylor were brilliant in the way they explained everything in plain English, not legal talk. They were straight-talking and honest, never over promising but always very passionate about getting us justice in the end. They have a really strong team, reflected in how they brought Tim Moloney QC on board, who is exceptional.
Jo Hamilton, Post Office chose not to oppose appeal against conviction, October 2, 2020
Hudgell Solicitors have really pulled together a top team to represent former subpostmasters, especially given they are working with people like Ron Warmington and Ian Henderson of Second Sight, who really know everything about the case. It was also really nice to deal with a legal firm who talk to you in real language, and not legal speak you can’t understand.
They are plain speaking and know their stuff and have done a wonderful job for us.
Wendy Buffrey, Post Office chose not to oppose appeal against conviction, October 2, 2020
Neil and Abbey provided excellent support and advice at all times and their confidence always made me feel that I’d get a good result. I think the most important thing was the way they were always available and in touch, and able to explain everything clearly. As part of a large group of people being represented, you can worry that you are just one of the many, but it didn’t feel like that at all with Neil and Abby. They were always in touch and responded to me immediately.
Pauline Thomson, Successfully appealed to overturn conviction for false accounting
A leading team to challenge unsafe Post Office Horizon conviction
Hudgell Solicitors represented 33 of the 44 people successful in overturning their convictions in October 2020.
Importantly, those convicted by the Post Office of crimes relating to the Horizon scandal can turn to not only a highly-experienced legal team, but also one which uniquely benefits from unrivalled knowledge of the problems sub-postmasters faced, and of the Horizon system and its many issues.
Specialist forensic accountants – Second Sight – who were at one stage hired by the Post Office to investigate discrepancies in the branch accounts of sub-postmasters – now assist our legal teams when considering cases and gathering evidence to submit to the court for convictions appeals.
Ron Warmington and Ian Henderson were tasked with reviewing approximately 150 claims by sub-postmasters as part of a mediation scheme in 2013, after sub-postmasters had faced allegations of false accounting and theft.
However, when their investigation highlighted problems with Horizon which could cause accounting discrepancies, and suggested that legal action had been taken too quickly against many sub-postmasters, the Post Office dismissed their findings and dropped the investigation.
We also have an excellent relationship with the Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance (JFSA), who were instrumental in securing the High Court ruling in December 2019, which concluded that a number of “bugs, errors and defects” had caused “discrepancies” in sub-postmasters’ branch accounts, paving the way for conviction appeals to begin.
Our work is also supported by campaigning MP Karl Turner, who has repeatedly raised the issue of justice for wrongfully convicted subpostmasters in Parliament and called for a Public Inquiry.
Post Office paves way for compensation claims
In a statement on its website, the Post Office says: “Post Office wishes to ensure that all postmasters entitled to claim civil compensation because of their convictions being overturned are recompensed as quickly as possible. Therefore, we are considering the best process for doing that.”
As an experienced civil claims firm, Hudgell Solicitors is able to pursue compensation cases on behalf of all those who have their convictions overturned.
Claims will look to seek damages for loss of reputation, liberty, property and financial loss.
There may also be other heads of claim in any damages action, such as false imprisonment, breach of human rights, or misfeasance in public office.