End of year newsletter: January timetable, Legacy Project and words from Sir Wyn

Updates from Secretary to the Inquiry, Leila Pilgrim 

After another busy year of evidence gathering, we would like to thank you for your continued interest in the progress of the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry.    

Over 128 public hearings, the Inquiry has now heard oral evidence from 190 witnesses, including expert witnesses; lawyers; Post Office employees; ICL and Fujitsu employees; civil servants; ministers; union representatives and many sub-postmasters and their colleagues or families.  

This work will continue in January. Please find some updates and plans for the new year below, including a message from Sir Wyn Williams. 

A message from the Chair  

I am grateful to everyone for continuing to participate in and engage with the Inquiry over the past year. I will be reflecting carefully on the many hundreds of hours of evidence I have listened to during this pause in hearings.  

I know from evidence I have heard that the festive period can be a difficult time for many people involved in this Inquiry, but I hope everyone is able to get some rest. The coming year will see me hearing important evidence about the Post Office’s handling of the scandal, governance and senior decision-making, and current practice and procedure. 

Phases 5 to 7 must be able to progress smoothly next year. I will be hearing evidence from Chris Jackson, Partner, Burges Salmon LLP, on 12 January to ensure close scrutiny of the Post Office’s disclosure process continues. I am glad that through rescheduling and the tireless work of my team, I have now been able to hear the majority of witnesses who were due to give evidence this year.  

I expect this to be matched by full cooperation from all core participants next year, to ensure that I can finish taking oral evidence in 2024. Any avoidable disruption to my search for answers will not be tolerated. 

As my colleagues heard again from many sub-postmasters, their families and others who took part in an engagement session led by the Inquiry Secretariat in October, people have waited long enough to hear the truth about events that had such adverse consequences on their lives.  

- Sir Wyn Williams, Chair of the Inquiry 

Read-out from October 2023 engagement session 

In October, the Inquiry invited former sub-postmasters, branch managers, assistants, family members and others affected by the Post Office Horizon Scandal to attend an engagement session led by the Inquiry Secretariat. As part of the event, the attendees were introduced to plans for a Legacy Project that helps to ensure the effects of the Horizon scandal cannot be forgotten and asked to share their thoughts and ideas.  

Around 70 people attended in person and online and we have provided a summary of the discussion on our website here. This was the first of many conversations we plan to have about the Legacy Project. There will be more information about how people can get involved in due course.   

Phase 4 update, including Scotland and Northern Ireland sessions 

Phase 4 of the Inquiry has been looking at action against sub-postmasters, and has so far heard from nearly 50 witnesses, including former Post Office investigators and lawyers, as well as external solicitors and counsel who were involved in prosecuting sub-postmasters.  

The phase will continue in January when we will hear evidence from current and former Fujitsu employees to examine the role of Fujitsu in providing support to the criminal prosecutions of sub-postmasters, as well as evidence on Scottish and Northern Irish prosecution case studies

This will build on Human Impact Hearings we held in Glasgow and Belfast last year in which we heard testimony from many sub-postmasters. You can revisit their evidence online here. 

The witness timetable for remaining Phase 4 Hearings and the January disclosure hearing is available on our website, and you can continue to register for public gallery attendance until 7 January: https://www.postofficehorizoninquiry.org.uk/phase-4-hearing-schedule.    

It has been good to see so many people contributing to and following the Inquiry’s work in 2023. I hope to see many of you in the new year, and thank you for reading. 

With best wishes, 

Leila Pilgrim, Secretary to the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry 


Inquiry infographic 2023

Inquiry infographic 2023