Post Office scandal: Urgent action against lawyers not necessary, says regulator 

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By Thomas Connelly on


Public not at risk

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has said that there is no evidence indicating that any solicitor linked to the Post Office scandal poses an ongoing risk to the public that requires “urgent action”.

In update on Friday, the regular said it has been gathering evidence through various means, including obtaining a court order compelling the Post Office and Royal Mail Group to hand over relevant documents, and reviewing information shared publicly through the inquiry.

So far, the SRA says it has reviewed tens-of-thousands of pages of information and evidence.

Media scrutiny around the scandal has intensified in recent weeks following the airing of Mr Bates v The Post Office, an ITV drama which documents how hundreds of innocent sub-postmasters and postmistresses were wrongly accused of theft, fraud and false accounting due to a defective IT system known as Horizon.

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“We will take action where we find evidence that solicitors have fallen short of the standards the public expects,” the SRA said.

“Our investigation covers multiple, multifaceted issues where there may have been potential misconduct,” it continued. “New issues and evidence are coming to light on an ongoing basis, particularly from the public inquiry. We expect further relevant evidence from the inquiry in the coming months, when it will look at issues such as the conduct of the group litigation and governance.”

“We expect to be in the best position to take any meaningful action to get the right outcome after the full facts and all the relevant issues have been aired through the inquiry,” the SRA added.

The regulator said it’s keeping its position under constant review and that at present, “we do not have evidence to show that any solicitor presents an ongoing risk to the public that needs to be addressed through urgent action”.

The inquiry into what went wrong first launched in 2020 and is being led by retired High Court judge Sir Wyn Williams. A number of lawyers have already given evidence as to their role in the prosecutions. No end date for the inquiry has been set.

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