Hundreds more seek to join legal action against Post Office Ltd
The Justice For Subpostmasters Alliance (JFSA) announced that since March this year, over 300 further current and former subpostmasters have come forward to apply to join a legal action against Post Office Limited. This increases the total number of applicants to in excess of 1,300.
The 1,300 allege they suffered at the hands of Post Office Ltd through a campaign of withholding information, bullying and intimidation as well as Post Office Ltd alleging some subpostmasters had engaged in criminal behaviour. The action – a Group Litigation Order (GLO) approved by the High Court earlier this year – will focus on Post Office Ltd’s treatment of subpostmasters, managers, agents and employees in relation to problems associated with its Horizon system.
A sample analysis of information supplied by people applying to join the action reveals that:
• 85% have been pursued for money by Post Office Ltd in relation to alleged shortfalls
• Over 85% of claimants believe they have suffered ill health or reputational damage as a result of Post Office Ltd’s behaviour
• 69% of those who resigned said they felt pressured to do so by Post Office Ltd or its agents
The deadline for applications to join the legal action is 26 July 2017
From 1999, when Post Office Ltd rolled out its Horizon system, and continuing to date, hundreds of subpostmasters have experienced unexplained shortfalls in their financial accounts. In many cases, Post Office Ltd is alleged to have pressurised subpostmasters to make good the shortfalls with their own money and in some cases admit to false accounting or other criminal activity. The shortfalls, in some cases, run into tens of thousands of pounds.
Post Office Ltd is defending the claim.
Alan Bates of the JFSA said: “The treatment of these men and women by Post Office Ltd is a national disgrace. Hundreds of dedicated subpostmasters have suffered, and continue to suffer, at the hands of these corporate bullies in order, we believe, to cover up flaws and errors within Post Office Ltd’s Horizon system. These problems, compounded by a blame culture in which postmasters were bullied and scapegoated, have cost our people their savings, their jobs, their livelihoods, their health, their reputations and in some cases their freedom.
“Our evidence will show how subpostmasters were kept in the dark by Post Office Ltd about the scale and frequency of the problems and were made to feel like isolated cases. This misinformation deterred many from challenging Post Office Ltd. However, as a united group, we can see the patterns of behaviour. Acting together we have the chance to take on this injustice and hold Post Office Ltd to account for its actions.”
Any subpostmaster who was in post after 1999 and experienced issues with Post Office Ltd and its Horizon system, including alleged shortfalls or discrepancies, may be eligible to join the case.
Call 0800 304 7727