Just what the doctor ordered

Clinical Negligence (6th edition)


Michael Powers KC and Anthony Barton


£575, Bloomsbury Professional



Since the first edition of this weighty tome landed on our dusty shelves in 1990, it has not failed to live up to the ambition of its editors as ‘an authoritative guide to practice’. Thirty-three years later, with those of us who can remember the 1990s looking a little more frayed at the edges, the sixth iteration looks fresher than ever.

The latest edition contains many of the comprehensive and trusted chapters upon which we have learned to rely over the years, albeit updated and rejuvenated by the energy of new authors. Some chapters have disappeared since the release of the fifth edition – perhaps there was not a huge demand for plastic surgery or sports medicine? And some new chapters have emerged, on topics such as cardiology and haematology. The reader can also look forward to a new and somewhat challenging chapter in which the editors propose their solutions for combating the spiralling costs of clinical negligence litigation to a crumbling health service.


As one would expect from an ‘authoritative guide’, this edition contains an analysis of key decisions in clinical negligence, such as Williams v Bermuda Hospitals [2016] UKPC 4 and Swift v Carpenter [2020] EWCA Civ 1295.

On a practical level, I found the book logical to navigate. The first 16 chapters deal with the legal aspects of litigation, while the remaining 27 – written by an impressive array of medics, many of whom the reader may recognise from their own caseload – provide an overview of their specialist areas of expertise.

Fittingly described as ‘the single most important source for the practitioner, providing information and guidance on the key aspects of legal and medical practice’, this book will not disappoint. Moreover, it benefits from the wisdom of 66 contributing experts on medicine and law.


Abigail Ringer is a senior associate at RWK Goodman in Bath and Bristol