The authors analysed 62 cases of severe iatrogenic complications occurring after middle ear surgery (death, cophosis, PFP) between 1976 and 1986. They compared their results to those of a similar study conducted between 1950 and 1975. They observed an increase in the number of legal proceedings, probably due more to the increased demand by patients than to a higher incidence of these complications. Civil proceedings are much more frequent than penal proceedings. The authors stress the importance attributed by judges to the expert report and to the obtaining of informed consent.