The way the law responds to death or personal injury resulting from medical treatment has changed over time. Expectations of success in medical interventions have risen. Hospitals have become more complex and use more advanced technology. This has had an impact on the liability of medical practitioners, both in generating new problems and in raising standards of expected care. While the focus is civil liability, typically either through contract or tort, this volume of essays also examines compensation systems outside private law. This topic has grown in significance since 1945. The problems encountered by the law are similar across the different jurisdictions, even if the health service arrangements are different. The legal changes are also set against changes in the institutional background, such as the role of the state, the availability of insurance and the professionalisation of medical practitioners.