Sub-postmasters who launched Horizon scandal legal fight secure extra compensation

The Treasury has revealed that sub-postmasters who helped uncover the Post Office Horizon IT scandal are to secure additional compensation after their payouts were dwarfed by legal fees.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the move in the wake of a story by Sky News on Monday that the so-called ‘forgotten’ 555 victims would benefit from a new scheme.

Members of the group, who first took the Post Office to court on the grounds they were wrongly prosecuted due to the faulty IT system, only received a fraction of the sum awarded by the High Court in a 2019 settlement.

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That was because of a “no win, no fee” arrangement with lawyers who funded the action.

The Treasury said the new scheme, to be set up in the coming months, would ensure they received the same level of compensation as other sub-postmasters who had their convictions for financial crimes quashed.


The chancellor said: “The Horizon IT dispute has had a devastating impact on postmasters and their families, with many losing their livelihoods or being wrongly convicted for crimes they didn’t commit.

“Without the efforts of these postmasters, this terrible injustice may have never been uncovered so it is only right that they are compensated fully and fairly.

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“That is why we have set up this new compensation scheme for those who played a crucial role in bringing this scandal to light, which I hope provides a measure of comfort.”

There was no detail on exactly how much additional cash would make its way to the victims but it will add to the £1bn already set aside to compensate over 700 Post Office branch managers who were wrongly accused of theft or fraud.

The scandal is currently the subject of a public inquiry while the Court of Appeal is also still hearing bids to have convictions quashed.