Post Office Horizon victims to be exonerated

Bill passed to provide justice to wrongly convicted sub-postmasters.

Legislation has been passed that will automatically exonerate sub-postmasters who were wrongly convicted as a result of the faulty Horizon IT system, the day after Royal Assent is granted.

Those whose convictions are quashed under the Post Office (Horizon System) Offences (Scotland) Bill will be able to access the UK Government financial redress scheme.

After the Scottish Parliament agreed to use its emergency procedure, the Bill has been introduced and passed in just over two weeks – to allow justice and redress to be delivered to victims as swiftly as possible in line with the UK Bill, which did not cover sub-postmasters in Scotland.

Sub-postmasters who previously sought to appeal their convictions will now also be exonerated, following a Scottish Government amendment to the Bill, brought at Stage two, in Parliament.

Justice Secretary Angela Constance said:

“I hope this Bill goes some way to bring justice to innocent sub-postmasters who had their lives ruined by being wrongly convicted of offences of dishonesty on the basis of tainted evidence from the faulty Post Office Horizon system.

“As the UK Government’s legislation was not extended to cover Scotland, we have worked as quickly as possible to ensure parity for affected sub-postmasters here, who will also be able to access the UK Government’s compensation scheme.

“The unprecedented step of introducing legislation to right this terrible wrong was necessary to respond to the scale of the scandal and the length of time that victims have waited for justice.

“We will now be seeking Royal Assent for the Bill as quickly as possible so affected sub-postmasters can have their convictions quashed and then access the compensation they deserve.”


The Post Office (Horizon System) Offences (Scotland) Bill will mean relevant convictions are automatically quashed on the day after the legislation is granted Royal Assent and those exonerated will then be able to access the UK Government financial redress scheme, in line with its requirements.

The legislation will exonerate convicted sub-postmasters where the following criteria are met:

  • the conviction was for embezzlement, fraud, theft, uttering or an ancillary offence committed between 23 September 1996 and 31 December 2018
  • the person was carrying on a Post Office business, or working in a Post Office for the purpose of a Post Office business
  • the conviction was in connection with carrying on, or working for the purpose of the Post Office business
  • the Horizon system was being used for the purposes of the Post Office business in the relevant Post Office

Post Office (Horizon System) Offences (Scotland) Bill


Media enquiries

Back to top