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July 22nd 2021

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Interim compensation offers of up to £100,000 ‘cautiously welcomed’ by lawyer representing those who have had Post Office Horizon convictions quashed

Dr Neil Hudgell

Dr Neil Hudgell

Executive Chairman

Interim compensation offers of up to £100,000 ‘cautiously welcomed’ by lawyer representing those who have had Post Office Horizon convictions quashed

A lawyer who represents dozens of people who have had convictions relating to the Post Office Horizon scandal overturned has ‘cautiously’ welcomed a Government promise of interim compensation payments up to £100,000.

A lawyer who represents dozens of people who have had convictions relating to the Post Office Horizon scandal overturned has ‘cautiously’ welcomed a Government promise of interim compensation payments up to £100,000.

The Government has said the payments will be made to ‘ensure affected individuals are not left out of pocket’ as they and the Post Office work towards full settlements for the ‘immense hardship’ they have faced.

A promise has also been made that The Post Office will continue to work quickly towards final settlements, to ensure postmasters are fairly compensated for the suffering and distress they have gone through.

Neil Hudgell, of Hudgell Solicitors, who already has 49 clients whose convictions have been overturned in court, described it as a ‘cautiously positive step”.

He said he expects fair compensation will run into ‘very significant sums’ in many cases.

“The dialogue we have been having with legal representatives instructed by the Post Office has been very positive to this date and there appears to be good intentions,” he said.

“This cautiously positive step is to be welcomed and suggests, hopefully, that the Post Office is now intending to do right by the many people it has harmed so badly.

“This cannot be a delaying gesture though. This is money to which these clients are entitled. With regards to how final settlements are agreed, we want them to come to the table and be meaningful in what they put forward.

“We don’t want to see any legal gymnastics, game playing or delaying tactics. We want to see words very quickly translate into actions, and hopefully this is a positive start that will ease some of the pressures our clients are facing.”

Offers of interim payments to be offered within 28 days of applications

The Government says the Post Office is contacting postmasters and will aim to make an offer for an interim payment within 28 days of receiving an application from those whose overturned convictions relied on Horizon evidence.

It says that if and when further convictions are quashed, those postmasters will also be eligible for the payments.

Postal Affairs Minister Paul Scully said: “The suffering and distress these postmasters and their families have gone through cannot be overstated.

“While nothing will make up for the years of pain they faced after this appalling injustice, I hope this initial step provides a measure of comfort.

“The Post Office has started to turn a corner in terms of dealing with its past mistakes – and this Government will support them in doing so wherever possible.”

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