Post Office scandal: SRA unlikely to expedite lawyer prosecutions  

Avatar photo

By Thomas Connelly on

10

Likely wait until inquiry’s conclusion


The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is unlikely to make a decision regarding any potential prosecutions against lawyers involved in the Post Office scandal until after the inquiry has concluded, it confirmed today.

The regulator’s approach comes as media scrutiny around the scandal intensifies 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.

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.

The 2024 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

The SRA said it is keeping its approach under constant review and will take action sooner if it has sufficient evidence to do so.

An SRA spokesperson said:

“We are investigating the conduct of lawyers and firms involved in the Post Office Horizon scandal. If solicitors fall short of the standards the public expects, we will take action. We, however, need to make sure that action is based upon sufficient evidence, including the key evidence coming out of the ongoing public inquiry. We will not have access to the inquiry’s findings and all the relevant evidence until the inquiry is complete.”

“It is therefore likely that we will need to wait until the end of the inquiry before we can take action,” the spokesperson continued. “We are keeping our approach under constant review and will take action sooner if we have sufficient evidence.”

10 Comments

realist

Headline implies the SRA rushes to do anything other than strike-off trainees for simple mistakes.

SQE in shambles and Axiom et al – but thank god the SRA fined a solicitor for describing themselves as sole practitioner where on the facts it made no material impact.

N

It was £10k for that breach. Let’s hope other fines are assessed proportionately

Defund the SRA

Just wait until the SRA only takes action against the trainees involved in the scandal, rather than the main lawyers

Frooty McTooty LLB

Low hanging fruit is easy pickin’s!

Junior Leachman

The faulty Software company should carry the burden of the wrongful conviction of the postmaster and postmistress.

nick

absolute nonsense. If the exec and lawyers at post office acted improperly to pass the blame to the postmaters – then it is their fault, not that of the software company. The software company may be liable in contract to post office, but unless it was involved in misleading the courts, then the blame sits fairly with those pushing the buttons at PO (and their lawyers who were advising and implementing)

nick

presumably some of the lawyers involved have already self reported…..?

Anonymous

Absent knowledge of fabricated evidence / bad faith / failure to comply with prosecution guidelines / wrongful manipulation of the prosecution plea bargain process it cannot be the prosecution lawyers fault if any of the evidence is tainted by what the investigators did / the now discredited evidence of so called experts. Put another way CPS lawyers are not personally liable for the actions of corrupt police officers leading to wrongful convictions. Nor should Post Office lawyers be keelhauled without proof of personal misconduct.

This

This 👏

Anonymous

Oh well, at least there will be some lawyers squirming for a year or two to come. Hopefully they and their families are going through what the post masters had to for 20 years.
What goes around, comes around. Name and shame…..

Join the conversation

Related Stories

Post office inquiry: HSF admits using law grads in major disclosure task

Hearing postponed after thousands of documents not disclosed

Sep 6 2023 1:51pm
12