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    Horizon Inquiry urges affected postmasters to participate in hearings

    (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

    The Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry has requested the postmasters affected by the Horizon system and associated events to register their interest for hearings.

    The Inquiry, led by former High Court judge Sir Wyn Williams, is currently holding focus group sessions with the affected postmasters which will run till March.

    “The focus groups will aim to explore diverse experiences and perspectives of the direct and indirect impacts of the Horizon issues and POL dispute processes upon persons; and cultural and organisational settings which impacted individuals,” a statement from the Inquiry said.

    As spaces are capped to attend focus groups, prospective participants (and spectators) are asked to express their interest by registering here before 12 March.

    The sessions will be conducted with public presence (open) or without a public element (closed), and individuals may consent to attending one that they prefer. Members of the public, including media representatives, will be allowed to attend open focus groups as silent spectators.

    In addition, Sir Wyn will conduct private hearings if affected persons wish to share particularly personal accounts or sensitive information which is not suitable for sharing in a public or group setting. Such persons can express their preference at the registration page.

    The Inquiry will later in May hold hearings from the organisations including Post Office Limited, Fujitsu, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and UK Government Investments (UKGI).

    A call for evidence from the public has earlier launched in December 2020, inviting individuals to submit written statements regarding their human impact experiences and their views on the topical questions presented. They can also propose themes or specific questions to be explored at the hearings with the organisations. The call for evidence will close on 23 February.

    The non-statutory inquiry was launched following the conclusion of the group litigation involving postmasters and Post Office Limited, which concluded in December 2019 with a ruling in favour of postmasters just a week after both parties arrived at a settlement.

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