Complaints and litigation are undoubtedly significant features of contemporary health care. In a democratic system there is a need to hold people to account for what they do, and midwives should not be in the position of denying this avenue when the circumstances are appropriate. There is perhaps a tendency to believe that the incidence of complaints and legal actions are is rising inexorably, but this is not so. My own research from the 1990s (Symon 2001) questioned this belief with regard to litigation, and there has been little evidence since to suggest that the incidence of legal claims has increased significantly. Nevertheless, the fear of litigation, whether based on a rational appraisal of its likelihood or not, has consequences (Symon, 2000;, Clark, 2002). A great deal of attention was devoted to considering the litigation ‘crisis’ (better understood as a compensation crisis) in the 1990s (Travers, 2004).