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Montgomery: Upheaval or evolution?

Chris Neale discusses the development of the law on informed consent from Bolam to Montgomery

26 May 2015

The Montgomery decision should be welcomed as
a clarification of the law of consent and as a landmark as significant to the present day as Bolam was in 1957.
However, should this ruling
be considered an upheaval,
or nothing more than the natural evolution of the law
to reflect societal attitudes in the present day?

Bolam [1957], Sidaway [1985], and Montgomery [2015] are by no means the only cases in the history and evolution of this point of law, but they are landmarks in its development.

In Bolam, the question was, first, whether the professional had acted ‘in accordance with a practice accepted as proper by a responsible body of medical men’, and, second, whether non-disclosure of a risk was negligent and ‘the plaintiff would not have consented to the treatment if they had been warned of the risks’.

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