Category Archives: Torts

Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] UKHL 100

ON 26 MAY 1932, the House of Lords delivered Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] AC 562; [1932] UKHL 100 (26 May 1932).

Mrs Donoghue suffered shock and severe gastro enteritis after consuming a bottle of ginger beer which contained the decomposed remains of a snail. The bottle had been purchased by her friend. She sought damages from the manufacturer without having a contractual relationship with them.

Mrs Donoghue was awarded damages as the court ruled that the manufacturer owed her a duty to take reasonable care and that duty existed independently of the contract.

The case established the tort of negligence.

Per Lord Atkin:

“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.”


Sydney, Australia

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Balmain New Ferry Co Ltd v Robertson [1906] HCA 83

ON 18 DECEMBER 1906, the High Court of Australia delivered Balmain New Ferry Co Ltd v Robertson [1906] HCA 83; (1906) 4 CLR 379 (18 December 1906).

A party who wishes to rely on a contractual term is required to show that it did all that was reasonable to bring term to the other party’s attention.

The plaintiff was not considered to have been falsely imprisoned by the ferry terminal’s turnstiles as he was considered to be free to leave the premises by water.


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1903 | Clapham omnibus

ON THIS DAY in 1903, the phrase “the  man on the Clapham omnibus” was first used in a judgment of Collins MR in McQuire v Western Morning News Co Ltd [1903] 2 KB 100 (CA) at 109.