Donoghue v Stevenson [1932]

Facts

  • Donoghue’s friend purchased her a bottle of ginger beer
  • The bottle contained the decomposing remains of a snail though this was not visible
  • As a result of the remain, Donoghue suffered from nervous shock and gastroenteritis
  • Donoghue attempted to claim against the manufacturer of the ginger beer (Stevenson) claimed that he owed her a duty of care

Issue

  • Could a manufacturer owe a duty of care to the ultimate consumer of goods?

Decision

  • In favour of Donoghue; a duty can be owed to the ultimate consumer

Reasoning

  • Lord Atkin’s neighbour principle sums up the reasoning

You must not injure your neighbour; and the lawyer’s question, Who is my neighbour? receives a restricted reply. You must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour. Who, then, in law, is my neighbour? The answer seems to be – persons who are so closely and directly affected by my act that I ought reasonably to have them in contemplation as being so affected when I am directing my mind to the acts or omissions which are called in question.

  • Donoghue was in contemplation as the ultimate consumer
RELATED CASE  Ashley v Chief Constable of Sussex Police [2008]

Posted in Tort Law Revision Notes.

This page was last updated on 28th November 2013

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