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 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.”