Sir David Calvert-Smith and Ari Alibhai discuss reforming private prosecutions in the wake of the Post Office scandal, at this year's Bar Conference

On Saturday 8th June the Bar Conference 2024 addressed reforming private prosecutions in the wake of the Post Office scandal. Sir David Clavert Smith chaired and Ari Alibhai shared his experience of conducting successful private prosecutions.

Described as one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in British history, the Post Office’s use of private prosecutions against more than 700 Post Office sub-postmasters and -mistresses has prompted widespread demand for reform.

At this year's Bar Conference a panel of lawyers considered formal regulation, legislative change, a code of standards and what could be done to repair confidence in the justice system, including how we can ensure private prosecutions serve the public interest.

Sir David chaired the discussion between Ari Alibhai, Flora Page of 23 Essex Street and Polly Sprenger of Addleshaw Goddard.

Sir David Calvert-Smith is a former High Court Judge and since returning to QEB Hollis Whiteman has advised and consulted on matters of national and international importance involving the government, public bodies and multi-national corporates.  Sir David led the initial review of historical prosecutions by the Post Office.  

Ari Alibhai specialises in the private prosecution of criminal intellectual property infringement.  He acts for multinational corporate clients in music, film, sport and broadcast media, including the Premier League, FACT, Sky and BT Sport (now TNT). He is at the forefront of ground-breaking and precedent setting cases, having undertaken almost 100 private prosecutions over an almost 20-year period, with an increasing focus on broadcast piracy and illicit streaming.

The session was reported on by The Times, coverage can be read here.


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