Many claims about an increase in the incidence of perinatal litigation have been made, despite a lack of comprehensive data which might confirm this. A large scale study into litigation throughout Scotland from 1980 to 1995 revealed an initial sharp rise in the number of claims, but a fall in the overall number of claims made in 1994 and 1995; a similar picture was noted in a limited cross-border examination of English files. Not every area has experienced a reduction in incidence, and the rate of litigation (measured in deliveries per legal claim) varied hugely over time and between areas. A wide variety of head of claim was noted. Twenty-one percent of Scottish claims concerned cerebral palsy; of closed claims only 15% were successful, but a large proportion are still on-going. While the 'litigation crisis' is difficult to verify from these data, costs appear to be rising.