chapter  3
10 Pages

The English law of tort

ByVincent Moran

The legal duty to take care 2 .02 The concept of the duty of care defi nes those persons to whom another may be liable for his negligent acts or omissions. The traditional approach to defi ning the situations that give rise to a duty of care was based upon a process of piecemeal extension by analogy with existing cases, rather than on the basis of a general principle. The fi rst notable attempt to elicit a more principled approach occurred in the landmark case of Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] AC 562. There, the plaintiff, who was given a bottle of ginger beer by a friend, alleged that she had become ill after drinking it because of the presence of a decomposed snail in the bottle. As the plaintiff had no contractual relationship with the seller, since it was her friend who had purchased it from the shop, she attempted to sue the manufacturer of the beer bottle in tort.