Modern Day Approach To Negligence

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The modern day approach to negligence has developed significantly across the twentieth and twenty first century. The stance now taken upon an action for negligence is that it must be established that a duty of care is owed by the defender to the pursuer in order for liability to arise. This came about following the decision made by Lord Atkin in the case of Donoghue v Stevenson, and has been further developed in a number of other common law examples. Prior to this revolutionary judgement, there was a quantitative restriction as to where a duty of care would arise, primarily only in relationships of a particular nature i.e. a doctor and their patient. Where a wrongdoer carried out an act outside a recognised relationship, there was no general …show more content…

The case involved a woman named May Donoghue whose friend had bought her a bottle of ginger beer in a café. Donoghue consumed some of the beverage and it was later found that the remains of a decomposed snail were inside the bottle. A doctor later diagnosed Donoghue of being in a state of shock and also noted that she was suffering from gastroenteritis after she complained of stomach pains. Although she had not bought the ginger beer herself Donoghue sued Stevenson, the manufacturer of the drink, for negligence. The initial argument brought forward was rejected, but she was successful thereafter when she made an appeal to the House of …show more content…

The neighbour principle, introducing the foreseeability and proximity factors, has been critiqued as it can be debated that the decision extended the scope far too much. The approach itself was a way which would be able to unify the court and aid their decision, whilst also offering an element of predictivity in relation to future cases. It is however worth noting that it can become too predictable at times, as in many cases the neighbour principle will be somewhat perfectly fitting. Is it just as simple as establishing that there is even just an ounce of proximity there and hence creating that duty of care? There has been some degree of scepticism and so this brings us to Lord Wilberforce as he attempted to re-formulate the neighbour principle in the case of Anns v Merton London Borough

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