Duty of candor

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Duty of candor refers to two different concepts in UK law and US law.

UK public law[edit]

The duty of candour is the concept a public authority should not seek to win the litigation at all costs but to assist the court in reaching the correct result and thereby to improve standards in public administration.[1]

This should be disambiguated from Will Powell's campaign for NHS managers and doctors to have a formal 'duty of candour' when dealing with complaints about negligent or poor standards of care in NHS hospitals.

In January 2014 David Behan, chief executive of the Care Quality Commission, threw his weight behind a wide definition for the statutory duty of candour which was recommended by the Francis Report.[2] The Government originally intended the duty to be limited to cases of “severe harm” – when a patient had been killed or left permanently disabled, as a wider reporting requirement could inundate organisations with unnecessary bureaucracy. The CQC estimates there are about 11,000 incidents of severe harm per year, and up to 100,000 incidents of serious harm, although there may be significant under reporting of both. The charity Action Against Medical Accidents has been campaigning for a wide definition[3] and Behan made it clear that he was supporting them.

US patent applications[edit]

Duty of Candour, also referred to as Rule 56, is basically a "full disclosure" rule for patent applications. This rule, made by the US Patent and Trademark Office, specifically requires that everyone involved with a patent application must disclose all publications that they know of which may adversely affect the patentability of their invention.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.tsol.gov.uk/Publications/Guidance_on_Discharging_the_Duty_of_Candour.pdf
  2. ^ "CQC chief executive backs wider duty of candour". Health Service Journal. 19 December 2013. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "Legal Duty of Candour - 'Robbie's Law'". Action Against Medical Accidents. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 

External links[edit]