This article explores the variation of the standard of care in negligence to favour defendants, an issue of considerable practical significance which has not previously been the subject of systematic analysis. By shining a spotlight on this issue I hope to show that varying the standard of care in this way is a useful technique, which is and could be used in a number of types of case to achieve an appropriate balance between liability and non-liability. I also hope to show that if this technique is employed there are some ways of varying the standard of care which are preferable to others. The structure of the analysis is centred around three core questions. First, to what extent has English negligence law already varied the standard of care to favour defendants? Secondly, if the standard of care is to be varied, how should this be done? And thirdly, when and why might the use of a modified standard of care be desirable?