'Womble by night and we womble by day,
Looking for disclosable material to trundle away'

Bombshell evidence has emerged in the Post Office Horizon IT inquiry this week showing that Womble Bond Dickinson advised its client to "suppress" incriminating information "in a way that looks legitimate".

The Post Office publicly insisted for years that accounting discrepancies in its branches were the fault of pilfering sub-postmasters. In fact the errors were due to Horizon, the shoddy IT system provided by Fujitsu which was known within the business to be defective.

Many innocent postmasters had their lives destroyed by the Post Office's private prosecutions, suffering bankruptcy, wrecked reputations and ostracisation. Some took their own lives.

Now regarded as the largest miscarriage of justice in British legal history, the cover-up was exposed when crusading sub-postmasters fought back in court and obtained a £58m settlement.

Womble Bond Dickinson acted for the Post Office for much of the relevant time and is understood to have pulled in enormous fees of £37.5m between 2013 and 2023 for its tainted work.

In Thursday’s hearing into the scandal, the inquiry produced a 2016 email sent by Amy Prime. Now a managing associate at Wombles, at the time she appears to have been a newly qualified disputes solicitor, at legacy firm Bond Dickinson.

Before the NQ sent the email to Post Office lawyer Rodric Williams it was checked over by Andrew Parsons, her supervising partner, who fed in his own changes. 

The stance taken in the email is a bold one which it seems incredibly unlikely an NQ would be left to adopt. A source said the email was crafted by Parsons as part of a wider strategy operated by the firm's Post Office team. The degree of involvement of other partners is likely to become clearer when Wombles lawyers appear at the inquiry to explain their conduct.

In the email, Prime informed Williams that Freeths “have requested that we provide them with Post Office's Investigations Guidelines since 1998 (including any revisions to date)”.

She expressed Bond Dickinson’s concern that parts of the guidelines “could be spun to show that Post Office was not taking issues with Horizon seriously and were trying to ignore any issues which were raised”.

She therefore advised that “Although we may face some criticism later on, we are proposing to try and suppress the guidelines for as long as possible”.

Prime said that, “For now, we'll do what we can to avoid disclosure” and “try to do so in a way that looks legitimate”.

She even admitted that “we are ultimately withholding a key document” which, she said “may attract some criticism from Freeths”.

Prime asked Williams to tell her if he disagreed with the firm’s strategy, “Otherwise, we'll adopt this approach until such time as we sense the criticism is becoming serious”.

With Wombles’ reputation in the toilet and calls for culpable lawyers to face prison time, it’s fair to say that time has arrived.


Exhibit 1.

At the hearing, Williams accepted that he opened the email and that there was no evidence that he disagreed with the “concerning” advice, but he said he couldn’t recall reading it. 

Elsewhere it was revealed that Williams referred to former sub-postmaster Tim McCormack dismissively as a "bluffer" when McCormack warned the Post Office about issues with Horizon in 2015. A year earlier the Post Office lawyer confidently emailed colleagues, "We don't need to do research on Horizon".

Parsons recently had his Wombles profile amended to wipe the reference to Post Office work from his profile, like fellow WBD partner Stephen Dilley before him. 

Previously, Parsons was proud to say that his "Examples of experience include advising: A national organisation on defending a class action by 500+ claimants regarding allegations that its IT systems suffered from defects that led to individuals being held wrongfully liable for financial losses and convicted of theft and false accounting". That section has now gone.


Lost in the post.

But it looks like they’re onto him despite the distancing exercise. Counsel for the Inquiry noted ominously that the role of Parsons in advising the Post Office to hide evidence and make it look legitimate was “a matter we’ll take up with others later”. 

A spokesperson for WBD said, "The firm has great sympathy for all those affected by the failings of the Horizon IT system and recognise the very real personal impact that this has had for those involved". 

They added that, "Under the terms of the ongoing Horizon Public Inquiry, we are unable to comment further but continue to engage fully in that process".

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Discomfort 19 April 24 08:06

I'm not sure RoF should even name the bod who was an NQ at the time - the supervising partner for sure but not the junior. 

Anon 19 April 24 08:15

Sack the lawyers that were complicit in obviously dodgy conduct & impose a massive fine on WBD. Wasting time and more money dragging this out. 

Appalling 19 April 24 08:16

Regulatory offences in abundance and now dare I say it, criminal offences if a statement of truth was signed when the signatory and their lawyers knew the statement to be untruthful.

Goodbye practising certificates, hello fellow inmates.  

Sandpitt 19 April 24 08:18

At least these Wombles lawyers didn't mis-record 2 hours of time, or leave documents on a train. That would be a really serious issue meriting SRA intervention. 

anon 19 April 24 08:22

If you are a lawyer in Southampton, you are by definition second rate. Yet these woefully inadequate people, who were hopelessly out of their depth, were running a hugely important and complex case. Little wonder the wheels came off.

Prags the Redeemer 19 April 24 08:29

WBD could pay a fine equivalent to the amount I nicked.  That way you all avoid a hike in practising certificate costs and WBD takes the medicine it so richly deserves.  
By the way, don’t even think about locking up WBD lawyers with me.  I’m a choir boy by comparison to those sh@tbags.



Karma is coming 19 April 24 08:35

And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers.

Anonymous 19 April 24 08:39

We all know the rules and are subject to the same regulations whether an NQ or a partner. The SRA may choose not to pursue partners but that doesn't change the rules. Important lesson for junior lawyers - if you are doing something dodgy (whether at the request of a partner or not) either refuse or keep a very precise record of your objection to it and that you are only following partner instruction.

As with everything in the City (or Southampton )CYA. Cover your ass. 

Anonymous 19 April 24 08:40

The final nail in the coffin of the SRA is failing to take meaningful and timely action against WBD for its role in the biggest miscarriage of justice in UK legal history. 

That decision to not disclose relevant information meant this case stretched on many more years, meant Post Masters died as criminals and cost the taxpayer many millions.  WBD are a disgrace to the legal profession, but the SRA is complicit too. 

Anon 19 April 24 08:42

If true, this is potentially very serious for the individuals and the firm.  It's one thing to operate within the rules to protect your client, it's another to give the impression of being legitimate when you know it's not and to advise your client to do that knowingly.   It risks breaching all sorts of SRA rules and principles - acting with honesty, integrity, in a way that upholds public trust and confidence, not taking unfair advantage of others, not to mention failing to assist the court as officers of the court.  

This is the problem with some solicitors - they don't understand or care that they are heavily regulated and have to act in a certain way, even if that means the client might not be entirely happy and there is a commercial penalty.  

Also as others have said, and with all due respect, using a firm in Southampton (which is part of a firm that is hardly top tier in London) for this type of significant, high profile and complex matter is a recipe for disaster.  They might be cheaper but they are out of their depth.  Letting an NQ draft this kind of advice is also concerning in the first place even if supervised.  

The facts need to be established first but if the above is true then the regulator should be putting a marker down. 


Anonymous 19 April 24 08:43

WBD promoted Amy Prime multiple times after she sent that email. This isn’t about her but the culture of Womble Bond Dickinson, who wanted those enormous fees to continue. 

Prison for some won’t be see an sufficient. The firm has to be subject to sanction now. 

Anonymous 19 April 24 08:44

Credit to Roll on Friday for flagging this. Astonishing that the BBC, Daily Mail and Telegraph haven’t yet reported on this .

Anon 19 April 24 08:48

Of course this all leads to the question - have these lawyers done similar things on other matters?  And therein  lies the risk, once you lose public trust and confidence you can't get it back.  

If I was Womble, I'd be instructing regulatory counsel pretty quickly to gear up for the shit show that is inevitably coming.  

Anonymous 19 April 24 09:02

The conduct here by WBD is awful and the SRA should seriously take a look at the conduct of these two "lawyers" considering they are both in breach of the majority of the SRA core principles! Well done RoF for exposing this.

Anon 19 April 24 09:06

This needs to be used an a warning to all solicitors not least those just starting out.  Never ever put anything in writing ever that you would not be prepared to justify to the court or regulator.  A more experienced lawyer - or a Partner that supervised properly - would have clearly amended the email to cover the firm.  Or better still don't advise the client to do this at all and actually advise them of their duties under the process and your duties as a solicitor.  If the client objects then raise it internally.  Cover yourself.  Your career and sanity is not worth any amount of client goodwill and they have turned on their advisors anyway.  

It's this line that is the most egregious:

"we are ultimately withholding a key document"  

I think that's called a smoking gun?


The Wombles of Southampton 19 April 24 09:08

Underground, overground wombling free,

Suppressing those documents to build up our fee,

Making good use of disclosable documents we find, 

Posting out disclosable documents, but (te he) we’ve left some behind 

Wombles are organised, do unethical work as a team

The Wombles of Southampton are being exposed as unclean. 

Uncle Bulgaria…… 

Anon 19 April 24 09:09

A full SRA investigation is required. What I have heard so far is horrifying. Confidence in the profession must be sinking because of this. 

Abandon Ship! 19 April 24 09:10

So Parsons will be struck off, and likely a prison sentence. Prime will likley avoid a prosecution, but will be struck off - being an NQ is (according to the SRA) no excuse. 

This will be the end of WBD. If I were there, I would be polishing my CV this morning.

Womblesjumpship 19 April 24 09:16

WBD is a disgrace.  No self respecting lawyer should work there. No client should instruct them. Who is going to believe them now? What muppets are running this business? Save yourselves and get out now before there is nothing left. 

Strike them off 19 April 24 09:21

And send them to the clink.

Make them put their fees into a fund for those wronged by their despicable behaviour.  Every partner receiving a profit share from these tainted fees must disgorge those profits - not one should profit from this debacle. 

Send a proper message to these utter scumbags and make them pay to discourage this kind of profiteering unethical behaviour in the future.  
I am beyond appalled.  

The "i dont recall" defence 19 April 24 09:21

Rodric used this phrase often in answers this week - clearly he knows how to deal with difficult questions  but is " i don't recall" the same as no it did not happen - again lack of candour 

Jolly Contrarian 19 April 24 09:24

Well done ROF for calling this out. Agree that the person in the frame here should be the partner not the NQ. And agree this should be a matter for SRA. And there is a question whether the litigation privilege is abused for this kind of thing more generally.

Mrs Rosie Brocklehurst 19 April 24 09:25

I recall a pile on -on me when I commented on the less than open evidence from Stephen Dilley last year by organised Wombles.  These people all worked together in the SW region and Andrew Parsons is to give evidence before July this year. I hope the SRA are looking at what went on because the serious consequences of Wombles 'advice' the kind of advice it appears Post Office were looking for to support their own attitude towards SPMRs as untrustworthy people with hands in the till, more likely than not, and any issues raised about Horizon faults as 'mischief' making .If it looks like a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, smells like a conspiracy it probably is.  If the Inquiry and Government don't do anything about Wombles and all the others on accountability then Alan Bates will. The people of this country will support him. Hubris.  

Anonymous 19 April 24 09:27

Bond Dickinson was on the government’s Crown Commercial Panel around this time. 

So this might be the tip of the iceberg. 

Anonymous 19 April 24 09:27

I am not a litigator but this seems, shall we say more than a bit bad?  I think if I was working at Wombles I would start looking for another job... 

Doggy 19 April 24 09:29

I'm as appalled as everyone else, but i do think we need to take a step back and appreciate that an NQ will have in all likelhood, back in 2016, been utterly unaware of the real world consequences of these actions - there are lots of links in the chain nbetween this act and life-ruining wrongful convictions. She will also have been pressured (whether consciously or not) by everyone above her to go along with the partners' strategy. No-one here, or very few, will have had the iron moral compass required to stand up to their entire firm and tell its partners that what they're doing is wrong, at that stage in their career - particularly when the human cost isn't yet known. I'm sure I'll get pushback, but I still feel a tiny drop of empathy for Prime would be useful. I feel for the postmasters hugely, but what she must be going through knowing this was coming out...ugh.

Mrs Rosemary Brocklehurst 19 April 24 09:43

In answer to someone else here - the Telegraph Times and Daily Mail have ALL covered this Rodric Williams evidence ( chief litigation lawyer at PO)  RoF has been waiting to cover it again in more depth I think since the shameful Dilley evidence last year.  The email recommending non disclosure of 2013 and revised 2016 guidance of investigation guidelines at PoL is serious and follows a general failure or late failure of disclosure to the Inquiry itself by PoL. Failure to disclose evidence to the defence that could have helped her and with the law skewed on computer evidence from 1999 changes to the law on recommendaitons by the clueless Law Commission of the time,  in several trials  has had the most profound and awful impacts -the famous one being Seema Misra's trial. This resulted in massive suffering to Seema, who was pregnant at the time, gave birth with a leg tag, the removal of her to jail on her son Adi's 10th birthday and bailiff's coming in to remove even the child's bed!  In the Asian community shame and stigma surrounding accusations let alone convictions is powerful, and that haunted the family wherever they went afterwards, and they lived in poverty and with this burden for years.  I found Rodric Williams whole presentation yesterday base, vile and disgusting. Man needs locking up soon.

Nicholas Parsons 19 April 24 09:43

Surely this is way more serious than a strike off and a breach of the CPR which it has to be…let’s call it what it is perverting the course of justice by wilfully concealing evidence.

Reg 19 April 24 09:45

Doggy makes a really good point but it goes even further than that. What is the real issue here? The issue is the decision to withhold a key document. Amy almost certainly didn’t make that decision, she just told her client that was her firm’s proposal. Of course in an ideal world she would’ve not sent the email at all but communicating a decision made by your supervising partner is not the same as making the decision.

Anonymous 19 April 24 09:45

I have no sympathy for any qualified lawyer breaking the rules.

If it is found that the solicitors involved have broken the rules then they need to be struck off/fined/face civil claims.

I don't think it's a prisonable offence but seeing as innocent people ended up in prison, the punishments should be severe.

Anonymous 19 April 24 09:53

Wait......she's head of e-disclosure?!!

Let's hope she now understands the disclosure rules 

Anon 19 April 24 09:56

Doggy @ 09:29 am


You are spot on. It's a tale as old as time:


- Partner: "I need you to prepare an initial draft to the client"

- NQ: "Here's the draft"

-  Partner amends it until it is beyond recognition.

- Partner: "Happy for you to send it, no need for it to go out in my name"


In an ideal world, the NQ would have spoken up and said she didn't think it was correct or right to withhold key documents, and that the only option is to ask for instructions to disclose and if those instructions were not forthcoming, apply to come off the record. But let's be serious for a moment, the Solicitor was admitted on 15/09 and sent this e-mail around a fortnight later. It is completely unrealistic to suggest that she would have had the cajoles to stand up to her supervising Partner and pushback on substantial amendments given: (i) her junior status; (ii) the fact the PO was arguably one of WBD's biggest clients. I'm not excusing her actions by any means, but they need to be put into context. The Partner is the one who should attract criticism here for either being too cowardly to provide this advice himself or using junior solicitors as meat shields. 

Anonymous 19 April 24 10:04

"There’s a lesson for all NQs here…" 

What? Refuse to send any emails at all until you qualify, because you'll be completely clueless about anything that's going on and will quite reasonably believe whatever partners tell you about the legitimacy of their chosen case strategy, and that's the only way to avoid being pilloried a decade later as part of a public enquiry for putting your name on top of something that you were told to write and send by someone else? Also, Head of E-Disclosure is a dead end graveyard job for failures and you should avoid it at all costs even if that means dropping out and living off-grid in a caravan in Wales. 

I mean, it's maybe not one for week one of the LPC, but I guess it can go on the syllabus somewhere.

Anon 19 April 24 10:05

Quelle surprise - here we have a gutless Partner too scared to deliver bad news to a client, so uses an (presumably) eager-to-impress newly qualified Solicitor to act as the bearer of bad news to protect his image. 

Professor Farrow 19 April 24 10:24

This is quite interesting from July 2023, noting in particular her specialism around e-discovery and "defending the approach adopted" and also her mentor:


Tough for her given she was an NQ - massive red flags in that email which the supervising partner should have seen.

Anonymous 19 April 24 10:26

Wombles - a prime example of what is at best a systemically mealy-mouthed profession. For every person in here who is an outraged solicitor, there are at least two more who would be quite happy to 'bend' the rules to satisfy a client and their internal targets. 

Anonymous 19 April 24 10:28

NQs in this position should, at the very least, contact the SRA’s ethics helpline and seek advice.  Even if it’s only to provide some kind of mitigation in the long run if they ultimately decide to take no active steps and refuse to send that kind of advice on behalf of a partner.  It’s implausible that any litigation NQ doesn’t know the most basic rules of disclosure and professional duties.  

I hope this leads to Dilley, Parsons and Prime (and anyone else within WBD who has been involved in or benefited from this conduct) suffering meaningful consequences - notably in their wallets. 

Anon 19 April 24 10:32

There’s also a lesson for clients.  I expect PO were cheapskates as well as dishonest and stupid so they engaged a terrible law firm’s Southampton office. The reality is City practice is not the same as residential construction disputes in Hampshire. These guys took on something so beyond their expertise, capability and experience, they fluffed it and killed people while doing so.  It’s reminds me a bit of Grenfell Tower - utter bureaucratic incompetence, disinterest, dishonesty and sloth aided by advisors, all on the taxpayer money train. 

But what of the clients? It’s not about the price of Wombles, as then Neil Gerard and Dechert would have been the best and most ethical solicitors in the City. But it is about what clients increasingly value. Many clients are making decisions via procurement officers and panel rates plus a desire for paper shuffler partners, without understanding practice specialisation, skill, independence and reputation — what do they expect when they race to the bottom? By the time Herbert Smith were engaged to clean up, it was all too late. Serious businesses understand the differences between the likes of Herbies and Womble in Southampton FFS. Wombles should never have been near this. 

Anonymous 19 April 24 10:34

This is about the culture at Womble Bond Dickinson. 

Of course the firm will want to say this is about one or two bad apples, but you don’t hold a £37.5m brief without all the senior decision makers having some degree of involvement.

The bigger problem is that this taints many other matters WBD and Bond Dickinson have been involved in, including hundreds of government matters handled via the Crown Commercial Service and potentially even the US practice. Who’s to say this wasn’t something WBD did on a regular basis?

Anonymous 19 April 24 10:37

This is rife. I refused to do something similar. My colleague went along with it. Guess who got promoted? This is a systemic issue - as a junior pushing back against dodgy partners is career ending. 

Anonymous 19 April 24 10:37

1,586 days since the judgment in Bates vs the Post Office and Womble Bond Dickinson still haven’t said “sorry”.

Anon 19 April 24 10:39

Pretty astonishing how many people are defending and/or sympathising with Amy Prime here. Most NQ solicitors are (understandably) terrified of putting their name to anything for the first few months, let alone an e-mail as blatantly egregious as this. 

‘Suppress the guidelines,’ ‘avoid disclosure in a way that looks legitimate,’ ‘we are ultimately withholding a key document’. Wow. This was 2016. Hundreds of SPMs had already been wrongfully convicted and even died by this point. Amy Prime would have known that, and to argue otherwise is simply insulting to the intelligence. As many have already noted, she swiftly rose up the ranks at WBD no doubt at least in part due to the role she played here.

Nobody is asking for a witch hunt or a kangaroo court, but let’s all at least agree that those responsible for the worst miscarriage of justice in history should be held to account publicly. If she was acting under duress or the undue influence of her seniors, or the e-Mail was not in fact written by her, I’m sure she will have ample opportunity to demonstrate that. But simply saying ‘I was newly qualified so didn’t know any better’ won’t cut it I’m afraid.

end of 19 April 24 10:41

much worse to come for Wombles. This is their culture. And it is not 37.5 million it is 60 million and increasing as taxpayer paying for them to have teams of paralegals going through all the disclosure ( or non disclosure) Stop paying them now. SRA get involved . Clients stop using them. 

Defund the SRA 19 April 24 10:44

You can get your bottom dollar that the SRA will only punish the NQ (and any trainees involved) but conveniently let the senior staff involved get off scot-free...

Disappearing Partners 19 April 24 10:53

Partners are leaving WBD in droves. The ship is sinking and the rats are jumping quick. One female Board member literally disappeared overnight - it made no sense at the time (as WBD buried it - no surprise there). One wonders what these exiting partners know about what went on with the Post Office?......Maybe the Inquiry should be speaking with them as I doubt the likes of Parsons will be telling the truth when his day of reckoning comes. 

How not to give evidence 19 April 24 10:55

The whole examination of Williams was a shambles. For anyone who may ever have to give evidence - or cross examine anyone, definitely worth a watch on what not to do - see also the abysmal performance of Jarnail Singh and the smug condescension of Mr Dilley for additional education. Jason Beer KC is phenomenal though. Loved his taking Williams to task on the whole 'attempt' at an apology issue. You have to wonder just what the Inquiry team make of the seemingly endless quantity of smoking gun emails. How do you pick?

I expect some from WBD will be read the warning on self incrimination when it gets to their turn...

Badger 19 April 24 11:16

Anon 10:32 - I’m not convinced Herbert Smith would have taken a more “honest and ethical” approach. I agree it’s much less likely that they would have left hot to the touch smoking guns covered in dna and fingerprints lying around. 

Badger 19 April 24 11:17

not quoting you “honest and ethical” faod! inverted commas for sarcastic tone

badgers 19 April 24 11:22

my own view is that there is a large proportion of litigators (40% at a wild guess) who don’t think wombles have done anything wrong in principle except get caught - and getting caught is a result of a forensic spotlight which wasn’t foreseen and the clumsy and inept evidence trail that they left behind when doing their dirty work.

optimusprime 19 April 24 11:26

surely this is criminal activity? knowingly allowing innocent people to go to jail, be wrongly convicted ?

On the roll 19 April 24 11:27

You are either a solicitor or you are not. From the day you take that training contract you are bound by the code of conduct. Years of training and a training contract make clear what your obligations are, both to your clients and the general public. Sorry Amy Prime, but you deserve to have the book thrown at you - you have no excuse. That e-mail is literally rule 101 of what not to do and you have brought our profession into disgrace. 


@dissappering partners - if this is the case, then those partners also need to step up and honour their obligations - especially a Board member who must be in the know. 

a cynic 19 April 24 11:28

Nothing will happen to individuals. The firm may well break up, but the lawyers will go onto jobs with other firms, and the grvay train will continue. The legal profession and ethical behaviour are strangers to each other, by and large

Annoyed Onlooker 19 April 24 11:29

The SRA are a joke. Will hang out out to dry juniors that misrecord two hours of time, but will let run scott free genuine charlatans who allowed the biggest miscarriage of justice in British history. 

anonymous 19 April 24 11:39

As others have said Womble Bond Dickinson is finished. Who is going to instruct then now? (even the crooks won't because they know WBD will get found out)

As pointed out above, put yourself in the shoes of Seema Misra's 10 year old son. He goes to school as normal on the morning of his 10th birthday. When he comes home his mother isn't there because she's starting a prison sentence for theft/fraud. Its all over the local press. First there's the playground attitudes. Then the subsequent financial ruining of the family, losing business and home. Unbelievably awful for a child.

Anonymous 19 April 24 11:45

The lawyers acting/acted for The Post Office clearly had no regard to getting to the truth. Gentleman's (gender neutral use of the word "gentleman") club rubbing each others backs and "working the rules". The SRA made a statement saying they would not investigate any allegation pending the outcome of the Public Inquiry. Then they have to decide whether to refer to SDT.  By which time, the lawyers in question will have retired with fat cat bonuses and won't give a shit. Yeah SRA, don't bother investigating serious miscarriage of justices on a grand scale but penalise lawyers who have made time up (endemic in the profession), people who are under so much pressure because of narcissistic goings on that causes them to make some bad choices... Don't consider working  with the Public Inquiry to expedite matters. Because then you would actually be seen to be serving your purpose. 

Anon 19 April 24 11:50

"I do think we need to take a step back and appreciate that an NQ will have in all likelihood, back in 2016, been utterly unaware of the real world consequences of these actions"

Well that's alright then.  Someone on the roll, who has spent two years being "trained", doesn't appreciate that deliberately withholding key evidence is a problem in a matter of massive public interest.   

Nothing to see here then.  

Anonymous 19 April 24 12:03

Where are the Wombles PR sock puppets?  Disappointing to see the fight going out of them. 

Perhaps they are not quite ready to roll out - "this is a historic issue", "lessons have been learnt"? 

Personally I would sack everyone who worked on this and move to abject contrition but then again I am much smarter than the average Womble. 

Anonymous 19 April 24 12:24

Does the SRA regard Wombles to be above the law? 

Or are they too scared to act in regard to the major miscarriages of justice? 

Anon 19 April 24 12:38

I watched Alan Bates’ evidence to the Inquiry on YouTube. He was brilliant. He laughed sardonically when Andrew Parsons of WBD was mentioned. 

A ridiculous number of city firms are now involved in the Inquiry, all raking it in. WBD - 37 million in fees from the tax payer to destroy lives and defend the group action. No doubt HSF’s fees are also eye watering. Burges Salmon too. Really makes me think our legal system needs a huge overhaul to prevent this profiteering nonsense. 

done 19 April 24 12:41

Wombles need to sack Parsons before he gives evidence but they can't because the current MP was his boss and the current Chair was deputy client partner. So they will save themselves and take the whole form down with them. How long before USA cuts the cord? This is not a few bad apples but endemic culture. BDB Pitmans. called it out!!! 

@anon 12:03 19 April 24 12:56

Problem is, lessons haven’t been learnt, to the contrary it would seem. Parsons is now a high ranking equity partner and the other partners involved sit on the Board, one of whom is managing partner. Who says crime doesn’t pay eh?  

inquire 19 April 24 12:58

Why are Wombles still being paid by the taxpayer to defend itself from causing the biggest miscarriage in legal history? Shocking.

The Milkman's Horse 19 April 24 12:59

The Post Office scandal is horrendous, and there is story after story about them on unrelated issues too.  Surely a firm that attracts constant bad press and constant negative comments from its own employees, as well as others within its sector, has a number of fundamental and severe cultural issues that bring into question whether it is meeting the standards of ethics and conduct required by its regulator.  Where is the SRA in all this?  Investigating whether (male) solicitors had too much to drink and didn't cover themselves in glory on work nights out, that's where.  

I am not going to be liked for this. 19 April 24 13:01

It is disappointing to see legal snobs opine that "London" firms would not do this. 

The fact of the matter is many so called commercial firms (London ones included) often purport to be trial hardened experts, when in reality they fail to appreciate the basic rules of evidence. instead there is an over reliance on Counsel to fix it for them. I say this having witnessed it many times over the years as both an advocate, and a litigator. 


Notwithstanding the above. There is no excuse for anyone involved in litigation not being familiar with disclosure rules; no mater how junior you are. After all, we are lawyers, which means, you know, occasionally reading the law/rules!   


no one decent left 19 April 24 13:02

If i were on the other side to Wombles and lost a court case I think I would send their GC a request that they confirm all disclosure obligations were complied with

GLD 19 April 24 13:05

why is GLD and any other Government department still instructing Wombles? Or any client for that matter.

Anonymous 19 April 24 13:06

This is not an attempt to defend any of the actions here, but some people are jumping the gun slightly.

First - this was in 2015 - that is before the High Court proceedings were commenced, so we are dealing with voluntary pre-action disclosure.  That may mean that the Code of Conduct has been breached in relation to acting with integrity, honesty etc, particularly if Wombles said in correspondence that these documents didn't exist, but they weren't (at that time) signing statements of truth, or disclosure statements.  It could therefore potentially amount to a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, but isn't (immediately) contempt.

Second, this disclosure was requested in the High Court proceedings, not the criminal proceedings.  There are multiple failures in the disclosure (some of which we've already heard about) in the criminal proceedings, which resulted in wrongful convictions, but that is not what this evidence is dealing with.  There were some convictions post 2015, but the majority were earlier.  What this course of action from PO probably did was delay the result in the High Court, which led to the Inquiries being announced and delayed the review of the criminal convictions.

Third, the SRA has (I think) launched, or at least announced an investigation, but it is not going to proceed with that until the Inquiry reports and makes its findings of fact.  That process is far too slow, but it is inevitable.  No-one is going to make regulatory decisions, or decisions about potential prosecutions or other sanctions until after the Inquiry reports and there are clear findings of fact on which they can proceed.

Anon 19 April 24 13:46

A NQ in Leeds was struck off about 15 years ago for making a dodgy statement at the behest of a partner.

Anon 19 April 24 13:50

It’s about time Tom Beezer was mentioned. He was the partner overseeing this work and seems to have avoided mention. 

Anon 19 April 24 13:53

@ On the roll

In fact you're not bound by the Code at all as a trainee solicitor - it only applies to solicitors and only after 2019 in terms of personal duties. 

Non qualified staff are bound by the Principles, though, which may be what you mean, and although they have changed since 2016 they  essentially cover the same points about honesty, integrity etc.  and acting to uphold public trust.  

partnerwombles 19 April 24 13:59

My best friend is a non litigator partner at Wombles. She is ashamed at what they did and  shocked that the Board are taking such an arrogant nothing to see here approach. Like many of the few decent ones left she will be on the market but the Womble name is dirt. 

Anonymous 19 April 24 14:47

You can’t remain at Wombles after this and pretend that you are a decent person. 


Anonymous 19 April 24 14:48

"Like many of the few decent ones left she will be on the market..."

Enough about Tindr / Feeld. How's her job search going?

Mmm 19 April 24 15:27

Messrs Parsons and Beezer aren’t exactly the sharpest tools in the box. It will be interesting to see how they fare under cross-examination.

Anon 19 April 24 15:46

It fries my little mind that a solicitor would do this. This is how these conversations go:

1. This document is in our possession, and it is relevant to the issues in the case 2. Yes, it is damaging, I know. But we are aware of it and it is relevant. It must be disclosed. No "ifs", no "buts". 

Then, if you are told not to disclose it, you file a Notice or apply to come off record. As a solicitor, the duty is to the Court.  It is no more complicated than that. 

Here, it was not even the client that decided not to disclose it. Wombles made that decision!!  

If I found out that any member of my team behaved in this way, I would immediately suspend them. To think that a partner allowed this to happen is utterly unforgivable. 

Anonymous 19 April 24 15:50

Yet there will still be some people with the moral flexibility to stay at / join WBD. 

Quotes from the Womble Bond Dickinson website 19 April 24 15:55

We are committed to doing the right thing and by applying our expertise… 

…We apply the highest standards of professionalism, business ethics and risk management to build sustainable practices within WBD and beyond"

The man with the melody 19 April 24 16:04

This is indicative of the prevailing culture at WBD. 

Believe it or not, Andy Parsons is a very personable, hard working guy. He was promoted young and given a lot, arguably too much, responsibility on a matter that probably needed a more experienced hand to help him.

The problem for Andy is obviously that this and other emails that have come out do not look good at all against the backdrop of the devastation wrought by the Post Office, but I’m sure he will have been left to sink or swim and was simply trying to provide the “commercial” advice that they’re always droning on about providing. Clearly that has massively backfired and he overstepped the mark.

He shouldn’t be made a lone scapegoat, though. Other names have been mentioned here and there are others besides whose names should be in the mix, not least the current managing partner who likes to parrot his own litigation experience (he was at Freshfields or Herbies, you know! I forget which because, news flash, no one cares). He, like ma t others, would gladly take the credit for the work of others when it suits, but is evidently nowhere to be seen after the shit hit this particular fan. He was head of litigation when this was going on and got himself very hot and bothered whenever he had the chance to bleet about how well his team was doing out of it at the time. Where’s the spineless little worm now?

And that’s what I mean by the prevailing culture: “me, me, me” when it’s going well and “you’re on your own, mate. This one’s on you. I had nothing to do with it” when it’s not.

It’s a horrid, grubby, cesspit of a firm masquerading as a big-hitter. Its talent (and there is plenty still in there) is getting lost in the swarm of bloated, greedy, slimy, morally corrupt (and perhaps not just morally corrupt) shitheads who would throw their granny in a puddle to keep their shiny shoes dry. Those people have taken them down and they’re not yet at the bottom. The fact many of them have been there for years and are still there says it all. 

No amount of “RoF is out to get us”, “they’ve got an agenda” (for that is what gets said within the four walls of the firm whenever anything is published about them on this and other websites) can mask those facts.

Time for the remaining talent to walk and for the rest of them to get in the bin where they belong and stay there.

Remember you’re a (dirty rat) Womble 19 April 24 16:16

When the sun doesn't shine and it's cloudy and gray
And you’ve hidden 50 documents by the end of the day
And you really don’t care what the Code of Conduct might say

Remember, remember, remember, remember
Remember, remember, remember (member, member, member) you’re a dirty shitbag Womble.


Maggie May 19 April 24 16:36

Anon 19 April 24 10:32 I don't think they were out of their depth. Think what they were was in awe of their client and wanted to  impress and thus failed to maintain their independence. The biting of the bullet may have brought matters to the fore sooner and the damage (ruined lives) could have been sorted out sooner. The whole sorry state of affairs has arisen because of a lack of robust advise and the continuing to cover up of wrong doings.  It was the kicking of the can down the road, until they ran out of road.  

As for Parsons there was no reason why he could not have sent that email himself, save for the obvious one.  

The SRA would also do well to maintain its independence when investigating complaints.  Yes they are all over this one but only recently and because of the publicity. You only have to look at social medial to see the lack of esteem in which it is held.  You only have to try and make a complaint about someone with a public profile to understand its lack of independence and a back bone.

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