Sir Wyn secures legal Opinion on bankruptcy issues ahead of fourth Compensation Hearing
Inquiry sets out issues to be addressed at 27 April Hearing
The Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry has today published the Opinion of a leading King’s Counsel concerning bankruptcy and how it impacts upon the payment of compensation to sub-postmasters.
Sir Wyn Williams sought his own legal advice on the issue of bankruptcy after submissions to the Inquiry highlighted how sub-postmasters have faced delays in obtaining compensation, and have seen the amount of compensation they received personally reduced, as a result of having been made bankrupt. In his January Compensation Statement he said the issue was “in need of urgent resolution”.
Catherine Addy KC was instructed by Sir Wyn Williams shortly after publication of this statement. Ms Addy KC is a Chancery barrister, with particular expertise in insolvency matters, and was appointed a Deputy Insolvency and Companies Court Judge in 2016.
The Inquiry hopes the Opinion will aid understanding of how the complex area of insolvency law intersects with compensation payments.
It has therefore published the Opinion today, so that Core Participants to the Inquiry can consider the advice before bankruptcy issues are addressed at the Compensation Hearing Sir Wyn has called for 27 April 2023.
In advance of the Hearing, legal representatives of Core Participants are asked to provide submissions to Sir Wyn on the following issues:
- Bankruptcy Issues
- Taxation Issues *
- Factual progress update on the Historical Shortfall Scheme and Overturned Historical Convictions Scheme
- Factual progress update on implementation and administration of the Group Litigation Scheme
Before instructing Catherine Addy KC, Sir Wyn invited submissions from Core Participants on issues they wished to be considered. His instructions, and their submissions, are also published today here.
The Inquiry has also received a letter from Minister Hollinrake addressed to the Chair of the Business Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee. That is also published today here.
Notes to editors:
- In his Compensation Statement of 9 January 2023, Sir Wyn stressed “it is not open to me to resolve the individual legal disputes which have arisen between POL, an SPM and their Trustee in Bankruptcy as to how, if at all, compensation under HSS should be apportioned between the SPM and their Trustee in Bankruptcy. However, it is part of my role to assess whether the commitment made by POL and BEIS to provide compensation to those who are eligible which is full and fair has been or will be delivered. In relation to a very technical area of the law such as insolvency I cannot do that without appropriate legal advice. That is why I have resolved to obtain my own legal advice on a range of issues related to insolvency many of which will have been suggested to me by the Core Participants.” (January 2023 Compensation Statement, paragraph 10)
- In the same statement, Sir Wyn stressed that Post Office Limited and relevant applicants should do all that they reasonably can to resolve the insolvency issues ahead of him securing the legal advice. (January 2023 Compensation Statement, paragraph 11).
- * Last week the Inquiry published correspondence between Sir Wyn Williams and the Business Department in relation to taxation issues surrounding compensation.