The interaction of a rather slow creature of nature and a bottle of ginger beer would not normally be suspected as being capable of lighting the fuse for a dramatic legal explosion.

But in the case of Donoghue v. Stevenson (a landmark decision that every common law student is confronted with) the painfully slow movements of a snail result in the creation of the tort of negligence and herald the birth of several major areas of modern law. The case is remarkable not only for its explosive impact but also for the fact that a judge had to refer to the bible and principles of loving thy neighbour in order to adapt the law to modern realities.

We should now always remember what the snail proved: even without a contract there can be liability!

Happy reading

Stuart Bugg