‘A Practical Guide to the Non-Delegable Duty of Care in Healthcare’ by Susanna Bennett


Paperback: 978-1-916698-34-5
Published: June 2024

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This book is an overview of the law of non-delegable duties of care as they apply to medical care. It is also a source of practical advice and information on how to tackle this issue in medical negligence litigation.

The existence of a non-delegable duty of care has become a key battleground in claims arising from medical care in all different settings. This is because of the increase in contracting out NHS-funded care to private companies, combined with the limits to vicarious liability for independent contractors, recently vigorously reaffirmed by the Supreme Court. There are many different factual circumstances in which the existence of a non-delegable duty of care may be disputed during litigation; the resolution of this dispute will often be decisive of liability.

This book is a practical companion for litigators. It is a short, non-exhaustive introduction to the legal and theoretical underpinnings of, practical purpose for, and guidance on litigating, non-delegable duties in medical care. It covers the law of non-delegable duties of care, whether arising at common law or under statute; an analysis of the rationale for applying them to medical care; a brief introduction to the organisation of the NHS, outsourcing of care, and indemnity cover; a guide to arguments which can be advanced for and against the existence of a non-delegable duty in a range of likely scenarios; and practical tips on litigating non-delegable duties.


Susanna Bennett is a barrister at Deka Chambers. She specialises in the law of clinical negligence and acts for both claimants and defendants. The 2024 edition of the Legal 500 names her as a rising star in clinical negligence, describing her as follows: “Susanna is not only very clever but she has excellent judgement. She is one to watch.”


Chapter One – Introduction
Chapter Two – What Is a Non-Delegable Duty of Care?
Chapter Three – The Common Law Non-Delegable Duty in Woodland
Chapter Four – Common Law Non-Delegable Duties in Medical Care
Chapter Five – Example Scenarios
Chapter Six – Statutory Non-Delegable Duties
Chapter Seven – Statutory Non-Delegable Duties in Medical Care
Chapter Eight – NHS Legislation, Outsourcing, and Insurance Arrangements
Chapter Nine – Practical Tips on Litigating Non-Delegable Duties