Sub-postmasters wrongly convicted of offences in a Post Office IT scandal will get interim compensation of up to £100,000, the government has said.
As of this week, a total of 57 former sub-postmasters have had their convictions quashed – with more due in court over the coming months.
More people have been affected by the scandal than in any other miscarriage of justice in the UK.
The government has agreed to fund the initial payments.
Those affected may receive extra compensation at a later date if they take their cases through the civil courts.
Postal affairs minister Paul Scully said: “The suffering and distress these postmasters and their families have gone through cannot be overstated. While nothing will make up for the years of pain they faced after this appalling injustice, I hope this initial step provides a measure of comfort.
“The Post Office has started to turn a corner in terms of dealing with its past mistakes – and this government will support them in doing so wherever possible.”
Hundreds of people who ran Post Office branches were convicted of various offences, including theft and false accounting, when the Horizon software system was used. However, the IT was found to have bugs and defects that left a black hole in accounts.