Happy birthday Donoghue v Stevenson!

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Iconic snail in ginger beer judgment turns 90 today

Today marks 90 years since the House of Lords judgment of Donoghue v Stevenson, a caselaw classic among all students of common law.

Paisley-born May Donoghue cemented her place in legal history for successfully suing a drinks manufacturer after she fell ill when she discovered a decomposing snail in a bottle of ginger beer her friend had bought her.

The famous House of Lords decision, handed down on 26 May 1932, ruled that the manufacturer — David Stevenson — owed her a duty of care, sparking the modern civil law tort of negligence by establishing when a duty of care may arise.

@legalcheek #donoghuevstevenson #law #caselaw #snail #gingerbeer ♬ sonido original – legalcheek

A much-loved staple of modern legal education, Lord Atkin revealed in his research notes that he felt confident that the case ‘will also have served some small role in developing a more humane and just society’.

Regardless of his intention, it certainly has inspired artwork, a student-made snail sanctuary and even laughter in court.

Happy birthday Donoghue v Stevenson!









Landmark case – law of negligence/ Duty of care . 90 years ago the judge manage to see the issues of duty of care


Gail the Snail

Get outta here, snail yaaaa yaaaa


Happy Birthday

Ingredients for Memorable Case Law:

– 1 x Ginger Beer 🍺
– 1 x Snail 🐌
– ∞ Law Students 🧑‍🎓⚖️


Equity or Law?

Contrary to your position, she did not successfully sue the drink manufacturer. She died before the matter could be heard on the merit and therefore the matter was never heard on the merit.

Anyway, I admire her courage for taking up the matter which eventually developed the tort of negligence. This development happened under case stated to the House of Lord


🐌🍾 Skeptic

Not to be a downer and all, yes this case is significant in solidifying the negligence tort into some kind of structure and in clarifying/creating concepts. But: it really is a boring case where the facts are not even argued. It is not even proven that there ever was a snail in any bottle.



Mr Five Per Cent

The law of negligence is surely a candidate for the English legal system’s nadir, anyway.



It was an appeal from an interlocutory decision on the pleadings, so yes the facts weren’t argued. You will learn these things when you get to university.



Feeling a little aggrieved that you weren’t invited to the birthday party are you?



I was just thinking of it today in the view that duty of care remains the epitome of law. Happy birthday 🐌🍺⚖ Cheers to my tort mates 😀



Try spelling sceptic properly…



The neighbor principle is what I loved from the ruling. Cheers !!!!



This is one of the most important case law study and am sure any student pursuing law must have learnt it and has the facts in their finger tips



Alleged facts.






Alleged 🐌🐌





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