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Business Law - Essay Example

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Subject Name of the of the Concerned Professor 15 April 2011 Donoghue v Stevenson Introduction Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] AC 562 qualifies to be called one of the most important cases in the Tort law in the sense it ushered in the very concept of negligence in the Scots Law, English Law and the Law of Wales (Negligence, 2009)…
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of the of the Concerned 15 April Donoghue v Stevenson Introduction Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] AC 562 qualifies to be called one of the most important cases in the Tort law in the sense it ushered in the very concept of negligence in the Scots Law, English Law and the Law of Wales (Negligence, 2009). Earlier also in the English law there existed the concept of duty of care as per which an individual could claim damages from a guilty party provided that the party under consideration had caused a damaged to the claimant by performing an act that constituted a breach of that duty of care. However in the cases before Donoghue v Stevenson, this duty of care was strictly confined to specific circumstances (Negligence, 2009). These circumstances were primarily limited to the situations where a person was bound by a contractual obligation to other individual or in situations where the products manufactured by a person were inherently dangerous or manufactured or sold by exploiting fraudulent means or claims (Negligence, 2009). In fact, Donoghue v Stevenson was the case which forced the English law to come out with some general principles as per which an individual is bound by duty of care to other individual. By virtue of its appeal to the House of Lords, the ramifications of Donoghue v Stevenson found their way into the English Law and the Law of Wales. In a contemporary context, Donoghue v Stevenson constitutes the very foundation of negligence laws in a majority of the countries affiliated to common law. The Case As per the details of the case, Donoghue with a friend visited a cafe at Paisley. Donoghue’s friend along with some other eatables ordered a bottle of ginger beer for Donoghue. Donoghue drank some of the beer and as Donoghue’s friend poured out the remaining contents of the beer bottle for her, along with the ginger beer dropped out the remains of a decomposed snail. Later on Donoghue complained of some health problems and her physician diagnosed her as suffering from gastroenteritis and severe shock. Later on Donoghue lodged a complaint in the Session Court claiming damages amounting to pound 500, arguing that David Stevenson, the manufacturer of the ginger beer consumed by Donoghue had committed a breach of duty of care towards her by making her drink a beer containing harmful content. The Session Court ruled that as the beer bottle was purchased by Donoghue’s friend so Stevenson owed no contractual obligation to Donoghue and thus there existed no scope for a breach of contract. Secondly ginger beer was not a harmful product and Stevenson did not sell it by resorting to fraudulent claims. So Donoghue’s compliant was dismissed on the grounds that it had no legal basis. Subsequently Donoghue appealed to the House of Lords. Impact of Case Donoghue v Stevenson was an epoch making case in the sense that it changed and altered the negligence and breach of duty of care law by extending clear instructions as to how to determine as to whether a person has committed a breach of duty of care to other person (Paisley, 2010). In this context, while dealing with this case, the House of Lords propounded the neighbour principle (Paisley, 2010). Neighbour Principle The neighbour principles originated from the Christian theological doctrine of “love thy neighbour” as per which a person should not commit acts of negligence that have the foreseeable potential to cause harm to one’s neighbour. While establishing the grounds of proximity in this case, the House of Lords stated that a neighbour is any person who suffers harm or injury by the breach of duty of care that could have been readily contemplated by the defendant and were foreseeable when one committed that act of negligence (Paisley, 2010). Chain of Causation The rules arrived at in Donoghue v Stevenson have been revised and refined in the light of the Caparo Industries Plc v Dickman [1990]1 All ER 568. As per the latest causation, a manufacturer owes a duty of care to a consumer: When a product is manufactured and sold in such a way that it is evident that it is intended to reach the end consumer in a form that it left the manufacturer’s premises (Chapman, 2009). When it is not possible to examine the product at an intermediate stage (Chapman, 2009). When it is foreseeable by the manufacturer that neglect towards care will render the product injurious or harmful to the final consumer (Chapman, 2009). Conclusion Donoghue v Stevenson was a typical case in the sense that it established the criteria as to when a consumer is liable to claim damages for being injured by using a defective product. Reference List Chapman, M 2009, Snail and the Ginger Beer, Wildy Simmonds Hill, London. Negligence: Tort, Duty of Care, Donoghue v Stevenson, Caparo Industries Plc v Dickman, Breach of Duty in English Law, Bolton v Stone, 2010, Alphascript Publishing, London. Paisley: 2007 Glasgow International Airport Attack, Castlehead, Donoghue v Stevenson, Paisley South, Paisley North 2010, Books LLC, London. Read More
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