The Post Office has agreed a settlement with subpostmasters over the long-running Horizon litigation following several days of “ultimately successful mediation”.

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C-Store understands that the Post Office has agreed a £57.75m settlement with the 500-plus subpostmasters, represented by Alan Bates.

The Post Office apologised to the claimants and all those affected by glitches in the Horizon accounting system, which led to many losing their livelihoods after being fired by the Post Office for shortfalls in their takings.

Alan Bates thanked Nick Read, the new chief executive of the Post Office, “for his leadership, engagement and determination in helping to reach a settlement of this long-running dispute”.

“During the mediation, it became clear that he intends to reset the relationship between the Post Office and its Subpostmasters and put in place new processes and support for them, as part of a wider programme of improvements.

“It would seem that from the positive discussions with Post Office’s new ceo, Nick Read, that there is a genuine desire to move on from these legacy issues and learn lessons from the past,” he added.

Post Office chief executive Nick Read commented: “I am very pleased we have been able to find a resolution to this longstanding dispute. Our business needs to take on board some important lessons about the way we work with postmasters, and I am determined that it will do so.

“We are committed to a reset in our relationship with postmasters, placing them alongside our customers at the centre of our business. As we agree to close this difficult chapter, we look forward to continuing the hard work ahead of us in shaping a modern and dynamic Post Office, serving customers in a genuine commercial partnership with postmasters, for the benefit of communities across the UK.”

Post Office chairman Tim Parker added: “We are grateful to the claimants for taking part in this mediation and agreeing a settlement, bringing the Group Litigation to a close. I am grateful to Nick Read for his important engagement in the mediation process. We accept that, in the past, we got things wrong in our dealings with a number of postmasters and we look forward to moving ahead now, with our new ceo currently leading a major overhaul of our engagement and relationship with postmasters.”

The Court of Appeal recently rejected the Post Office’s application to appeal a High Court judgment that ruled in favour of the subpostmaster claimants in the first Horizon trial in March 2019.