POST OFFICE: HORIZON TRIAL – COURT OF APPEAL REJECTION
Further to LTB 669/19 dated 21st November. Today, via the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Coulson dismissed the Post Office’s application to appeal against the judgment made by Justice Fraser on 15th March in relation to the first Horizon trial – the “Common Issues” trial. In making his judgment, Lord Justice Coulson stated the following:
“In my view, the judge dealt comprehensively with why he refused permission to appeal in his separate judgment of 17 June 2019 which itself runs to 91 paragraphs. The PO have made their further application to this court without taking on board any of the points made by the judge in that judgment. With one or two minor exceptions, I agree with the judge’s detailed reasons for refusing this application for permission to appeal, and regard them as an answer to the renewed application to this court.”
The Judge also noted:
“Many of the PO’s difficulties now are self-inflicted. For example, as happened during the trial and on the application for permission to appeal both to the judge, and to this court, the PO has consistently put its arguments much too high. It made sweeping statements about the trial and the judgment which were demonstrably wrong.”
In addition he was particularly scathing of the behaviour of the Post Office when he said:
“The PO describes itself as ‘the nation’s most trusted brand’. Yet this application is founded on the premise that the nation’s most trusted brand was not obliged to treat their SPMs with good faith, and instead entitled to treat them in capricious or arbitrary ways which would not be unfamiliar to a mid-Victorian factory-owner (the PO’s right to terminate contracts arbitrarily, and the SPMs alleged strict liability to the PO for errors made by the PO’s own computer system, being just two of many examples). Given the unique relationship that the PO has with its SPMs, that position is a startling starting point for any consideration of these grounds of appeal.”
The full judgment is attached to this LTB for your information.
Evidently, this is exceptionally good news for the claimants (a total of 557) and further compounds a dire situation for the Post Office whereby all of the previous judgments over the Horizon issues have gone against them. It will be interesting to see whether the Post Office communicates internally on this matter and how they will try and put a brave face on their continued failure in court.
Further developments will be reported and this will include the Judge’s decision on the second trial known as the “Horizon” trial.