Exeter Law School
Picture of a television studio at BBC Newsnight. The backdrop shows images of the Post Office logo. There are three people sat on a purple sofa and there is a glass table in front of them

Professor Richard Moorhead reflects on the impact of Mr Bates Vs The Post Office

Posted by The Law School

12 January 2024

In the week since the airing of the final episode of Mr Bates Vs The Post Office there has been unprecedented attention, public interest and interventions around the Post Office scandal.

Professor Richard Moorhead is part of the Department of Business and Trade’s Advisory Board on Horizon Compensation Schemes and has had a week of requests like no other.

“I knew the drama was going to make an impact, but never imagined it was going to have this tidal wave of public and political response.”

As a result in the last seven days Richard has spent a considerable amount of time talking to senior politicians, the Government Minister and his team directly about the proposals announced by Kevin Hollinrake and the Prime Minister on Wednesday.

Alongside this he’s been doing a multitude of briefings and carrying out a carousel of media requests for interviews on BBC radio/television, including Newsnight on Thursday, Sky News and Times Radio among others, and featured heavily in the Time and FT.

He says “It’s been nice to see how the focus of these interviews has now turned to hear the voices of those directly affected. I got bumped from the Today programme. Ordinarily I’d be a bit miffed but they gave Lee Castleton [a wronged sub-postmaster] proper space for him to be able to explain the story in his own words. It was masterful programming.”

With the announcement this week by the government for extraordinary laws which would swiftly exonerate and compensate victims, the questions are now turning to what else needs to happen once the dust settles.

Richard says “The media agenda is already starting to shift its focus and new questions are emerging. What about the lawyers? What about the business executives? What about the IT teams? The politicians? They will all be held accountable for their actions. The story will change and develop its own controversies.”

And reflecting on the academic side of his week Richard says it’s been incredibly rewarding to see how his work with the Advisory Board and The Post Office Project, (alongside Dr Rebecca Helm, Dr Sally Day, and Dr Karen Nokes from UCL) is having an impact particularly in the last few days and playing its part in social justice and empowering change.

To read more about The Post Office Project head to this page: https://postofficeproject.net/

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