The Solicitors Regulation Authority has reiterated there is no immediate need for action against individuals implicated in the Post Office scandal.

In a second statement issued this month on its response to the scandal, the regulator said it expects to be in the best position to get to the right outcome after the full facts and relevant issues have been aired through the ongoing public inquiry. The SRA stressed that it will take action where evidence is found that solicitors have fallen short of the standards the public expects. Live investigations into the actions of lawyers are ongoing and a dedicated team is tasked with scrutinising tens of thousands of pages or evidence.

‘We are keeping our position under constant review,’ the statement said. ‘We will continue to engage with the inquiry to make sure we are aware of any issues that may require more immediate action.

‘At the moment, we do not have evidence to show that any solicitor presents an ongoing risk to the public that needs to be addressed through urgent action.’

The scandal has attracted unprecedented levels of media attention since the ITV drama Mr Bates v The Post Office was screened earlier this month. Much of the resulting discussion into how hundreds of sub-postmasters were wrongly convicted has focused on the role of lawyers involved during prosecutions. Several solicitors have already given evidence during the most recent phase of the inquiry.

The SRA issued a previous statement on its Post Office response last week. Today's second statement suggests it is keen to show the public how seriously it is treating the issue, while still holding the line that it is best to wait until the end of the inquiry.

The regulator said its investigation, which began in 2021, covers ‘multiple, multifaceted issues’ involving possible misconduct.

‘New issues and evidence are coming to light on an ongoing basis, particularly from the public inquiry,’ it added. ‘We expect further relevant evidence from the inquiry in the coming months, when it will look at issues such as the conduct of the group litigation and governance.’

Paul Philip, SRA chief executive, said that action will be taken where solicitors are found to have acted unethically or without independence. He added: ‘We will act as swiftly as we can, but it is important that we get this right. We owe that to everyone impacted in this case and the wider public.’


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