Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Informing Patients: The Bolam Legacy

Cave, Emma; Milo, Caterina

Informing Patients: The Bolam Legacy Thumbnail


Caterina Milo


In the context of medical advice to patients, the UK decision in Montgomery v. Lanarkshire Health Board rejected the application of Bolam v. Friern Hospital Management Committee. This article argues that the rejection is neither complete nor settled. We explore doctrinal, conceptual and practical limitations of Montgomery to demonstrate the vestiges of Bolam’s relevance to medical advice. Medical advice does not end with disclosure of material risk but incorporates information on prognosis, diagnosis and treatment alternatives. Montgomery does not always apply in these cases, nor outside the medical mainstream or where patients lack capacity to consent. We identify ways in which the extension of patient-centred care in the giving of medical advice can be achieved through incremental development of Montgomery and application of the Bolitho gloss to require that processes conform to Montgomery principles of partnership and autonomy.


Cave, E., & Milo, C. (2020). Informing Patients: The Bolam Legacy. Medical Law International, 20(2), 103-130.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 12, 2020
Online Publication Date Sep 3, 2020
Publication Date 2020-06
Deposit Date Aug 14, 2020
Publicly Available Date Oct 9, 2020
Journal Medical Law International
Print ISSN 0968-5332
Electronic ISSN 2047-9441
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Issue 2
Pages 103-130


Published Journal Article (Advance online version) (346 Kb)

Publisher Licence URL

Copyright Statement
Advance online version This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (

You might also like

Downloadable Citations