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Computers: Common Law

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 21220, tabled on 23 June 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans he has to review the common law presumption of the reliability of computers.

Answered on

2 July 2021

I refer the Honourable member to the answers given to PQ 69550 on 9 July 2020 and PQ 72206 on 20 July 2020 on this subject. We have no plans to review the presumption, as it has wide application and is rebuttable if there is evidence to the contrary.

Nonetheless, Government wants to be fully assured that there is a public summary of the failings associated with Post Office Ltd’s Horizon IT system and that lessons are learnt from this dispute. That is why the Inquiry into the Post Office Horizon IT dispute has been converted into a statutory enquiry with effect from 1 June 2021, with new powers to require the production of evidence and documents. The full, updated Terms of Reference for the Inquiry are available on the Post Office Horizon IT inquiry 2020 ToR page, and on gov.uk.