New Times,
New Thinking.

The Post Office scandal: Lessons from one of the UK’s greatest miscarriages of justice

What can we as a nation can learn?

Between 2009 and 2015 more than 700 people who ran Post Offices, also known as sub-postmasters, were wrongly accused of embezzling money and subsequently prosecuted. The fault was actually that of a dodgy computer accounting system.

In addition to having to pay back the money from their own pockets, the strain, stress and stigma of this wrongful conviction destroyed the livelihoods of many of the sub-postmasters who were subject to criminal convictions, imprisonment, and bankruptcy. In some cases this also led to illness, divorce, and suicide.

In 2019, the High Court ruled that the Horizon system was faulty and in 2020 the government set up a public inquiry. But this has had renewed national interest thanks to the ITV drama Mr Bates vs the Post Office which aired in the new year week, and has resulted in a major intervention by the government – which will introduce a blanket law to exonerate all those who were convicted.

What can we as a nation can learn from one of the country’s greatest miscarriages of justice?

Subscribers to the New Statesman can listen ad-free in our app. Download it on iOS or Android.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

Not a regular podcast listener? Read our guide on how to listen to New Statesman podcasts.

Content from our partners
The power of place in tackling climate change
Tackling the UK's biggest health challenges
"Heat or eat": how to help millions in fuel poverty – with British Gas Energy Trust