Secret email about the Post Office Scandal. Shh!

Post Office Trial secret email update 5 Dec

Late opening, all day closing

Charlie Brown contemplates listening to a day of intense legal argument

Hiya secret emailers!

A much better day yesterday as Patrick Green, QC for the claimants got off case law and went into elements of his closing submissions he thought were important to draw attention to the judge.

Today is the turn of David Cavender, QC for the Post Office, to start telling us that this whole action is a load of rubbish. Lots of express terms, implied terms and construction will be flying around and I’ll do what i can to make the best of it.

I’ve got Post Office’s closing submission here. This is from Mr Cavender’s introductory points:

“In broad terms, the Claimants [C’s] are trying to rewrite the agency contracts, twisting what is expressly a principal-agent, business-to-business relationship, into some kind of quasi- employment relationship (indeed, in key respects going beyond what even an employment relationship would require). In doing so they seek to significantly re-write the bargain struck by the parties as reflected in the words of the contracts, and to alter the balance of risk and reward inherent in that agreed relationship.

“That approach is fundamentally wrongheaded. It should not be surprising that its wrongheadedness feeds through, in perplexing and unorthodox ways, into (a) which issues are being contested at all and (b) the detail of the Cs’ positions on individual issues.”


“Cs have adopted a “kitchen sink” approach to this case – to throw every conceivable allegation at this contract and see what comes out. As the Court will see, the case advanced is exorbitant and largely unparticularised. Cs’ hope seems to be that, if they overshoot the bounds of what is reasonably arguable, and point repeatedly to inadmissible material on the supposed merits of these lead Cs’ cases, they will get “half a loaf”.

I’m sure there is a good legal point here, but it also reflects the paranoia about any public criticism of Horizon:

“The Court confirmed in Judgment No. 2 that it would not be drawn into “making findings on the Horizon Issues, or…making findings on breach” at the present trial. Post Office respectfully submits that the Court should also resist any invitation to comment on the substance of those issues and disputed facts going to them, even if those comments fall short of findings.”

As well as asking the judge not to comment on Horizon, Mr Cavender doesn’t seem to want any findings of the individual cases of the Lead Claimants who featured in the trial – they are there simply to stop the Subpostmaster’s contract being examined in a vacuum. He also seems to think a considerable amount of cross-examination was irrelevant and any examination of what happened rather than what the contracts says and does should be dismissed:

“In short, Cs have tried to expand the trial away from the Common Issues and have roved without discrimination through irrelevant and inadmissible material. It is inevitable that Cs will now try, no doubt attractively and subtly, to draw the Court into legal error.”

He then goes into each of the Common Issues being tried by highlighting the law on which the Post Office will rely on in defence of these issues.

You can read of the full document here. All 220 pages of it. Slightly shorter than the claimants’ closing submission. Not the first thing I’ll be wrong about in this litigation.

I suspect there will be a lot of referring to case law today as there was on Monday. It might be a struggle, but I’ll keep tweeting! You can follow the live tweets here and I’ll post a full write-up after I get the transcript.

Have a great day.

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