Master of the Rolls
The Keeper or Master of the Rolls and Records of the Chancery of England, known as the Master of the Rolls, is the second-most senior judge in England and Wales after the Lord Chief Justice, serves as President of the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal and Head of Civil Justice. The position dates from at least 1286, although it is believed that the office existed earlier than that; the Master of the Rolls was a clerk responsible for keeping the "Rolls" or records of the Court of Chancery, was known as the Keeper of the Rolls of Chancery. The Keeper was the most senior of the dozen Chancery clerks, as such acted as keeper of the Great Seal of the Realm; the post evolved into a judicial one. With the Judicature Act 1873, which merged the Court of Chancery with the other major courts, the Master of the Rolls joined the Chancery Division of the High Court and the Court of Appeal, but left the Chancery Division by the terms of the Judicature Act 1881; the Master of the Rolls had been warden of the little-used Domus Conversorum for housing Jewish converts, which led to the house and chapel being used to store legal documents and becoming the location of the Public Record Office.
He retained his clerical functions as the nominal head of the Public Record Office until the Public Records Act 1958 transferred responsibility for it to the Lord Chancellor. One residual reminder of this role is the fact that the Master of the Rolls of the day continues to serve, ex officio, as President of the British Records Association; the Master of the Rolls was previously responsible for registering solicitors, the officers of the Senior Courts. One of the most prominent people to hold the position was Thomas Cromwell, a influential figure during the reign of Henry VIII. On 3 October 2016, Sir Terence Etherton succeeded Lord Dyson as Master of the Rolls. Category:Masters of the Rolls Hanworth, Lord. "Some Notes on the Office of Master of the Rolls". Cambridge Law Journal. Cambridge University Press. 5. ISSN 0008-1973. Sainty, John; the Judges of England 1272–1990: a list of judges of the superior courts. Oxford: Selden Society. OCLC 29670782
James Atkin, Baron Atkin
James Richard Atkin, Baron Atkin, known as Dick Atkin, was a lawyer and judge of Irish and Australian origin, who practised in England and Wales. He always thought of himself as a New South Welshman, was President of the London Welsh Trust from 1938 to 1944, his parents were his wife, Mary Elizabeth née Ruck. Robert was from Kilgarriff, County Cork, Mary's father from Newington and her mother from Merioneth, Wales; the couple soon emigrated to Australia intending to take up sheep farming. However, little more than a year into their enterprise Robert was badly injured in a fall from a horse and the couple moved to Brisbane where Robert became a journalist and politician. James was born in Brisbane, the eldest of three sons but in 1871, his mother brought him and his siblings back to her own mother's house, "Pantlludw" on the River Dovey in Wales, his father died in Brisbane in the following year. James was much influenced by his grandmother and acquired from her an egalitarian instinct and a distaste for sanctimonious posturing.
Atkin attended Friars School and Christ College and won a demyship to Magdalen College, where he read classics and literae humaniores, enjoying playing tennis in his leisure time. Atkin was called to the bar by Gray's Inn in 1891 and scoured the London law courts assessing the quality of the advocates so as to decide where to apply for pupillage, he was impressed by Thomas Scrutton and became his pupil, joining fellow pupils Frank MacKinnon, a future Lord Justice of Appeal, Robert Wright, another future Law Lord. He took chambers at 3 Pump Court but, as did most beginning barristers at the time, struggled to find work, he shared living accommodation with Arthur Hughes who married Mary Vivian Hughes whose book A London Family 1870–1900 mentions Atkin. He established a practice in commercial law, in particular in work on behalf of the London Stock Exchange, became known as a subtle advocate with no need to rely on theatrical effects, his practice grew from about 1900 and made a favourable impression when appearing before the future Prime Minister of the United Kingdom H. H. Asquith, sitting as an arbitrator.
Asquith was so impressed. By 1906, The Times considered him the busiest junior at the Bar. In that year Atkin took silk. Once John Hamilton was made a judge in 1909 and Scrutton in 1910, Atkin dominated the commercial Bar, he became a judge of the King's Bench division of the High Court in 1913. Work at the King's Bench involved him in criminal cases, outside his experience as a barrister but he established a high reputation as a criminal judge. Harold Cooke Gutteridge observed that "at least two of the most experienced Clerks of Assize of the period regarded his as one of the best criminal judges of his generation." Reputedly, Atkin enjoyed his six years at the King's Bench more than any others of his legal career. The following nine at the Court of Appeal he enjoyed the least. Atkin became a Lord Justice of Appeal in 1919. In the 1920 case of Meering v Graham-White Aviation Co Ltd Atkin showed his disapproval of unjustified restriction on civil liberties by holding that a person could sue for false imprisonment under circumstances where he had been unaware of his imprisonment at the time.
Again in 1920, in Everett v Griffiths Atkin held that Everett was owed a duty of care by a Board of Guardians who had detained him as insane on inadequate grounds. However, Lord Justices Scrutton and Bankes held otherwise and their majority prevailed over Atkin's dissenting judgment. From 1928 until his death he was a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary under the title Baron Atkin, of Aberdovey, in the County of Merioneth. Atkin was motivated by his Christian faith and relied on testing the law against the demands of common sense and the interests of the ordinary working man, he came to a settled view early on in hearing a case and, as a Law Lord, his colleagues found him indefatigable in his opinions and difficult to persuade as to the merits of alternative views. In 1932, as a member of the House of Lords, he delivered the leading judgment in the landmark case of Donoghue v. Stevenson concerning the alleged adverse effects from an alleged snail in a bottle of ginger beer served in a café in Paisley.
The case established the modern law of negligence in the UK and, indirectly, in most of the rest of the common law world, with the major exception of the United States. He is remembered for his dissenting judgment in Liversidge v Anderson, in which he unsuccessfully asserted the courts' right to question the wide discretionary powers of the World War II security services to detain aliens, he gave the leading judgment in Bell v. Lever Brothers Ltd. as of 2012, still the leading authority on common mistake under English law. The Inn had been at a low ebb, it was impoverished, its dinners and functions poorly attended and its benchers lacking professional prestige. It was through Atkin's efforts, those of F. E. Smith, that the Inn's prestige was restored. Atkin was himself Master of the Library and Master of Moots. Lucy Elizabeth Hemmant was the daughter of William Hemmant, a friend of Atkin's father from Brisbane, she had been born within 100 yards of Atkin. William subsequently moved to London and was important in helping Atkin to establish his stock exchange contacts.
Atkin married Lizzie Hemmant in 1893 after five years' engagement. The couple had six daughters and two sons, the elder son being killed in World War I. Atkin's daughter Rosaline became a
English tort law
English tort law concerns the compensation for harm to people's rights to health and safety, a clean environment, their economic interests, or their reputations. A "tort" is a wrong in civil, rather than criminal law, that requires a payment of money to make up for damage, caused. Alongside contracts and unjust enrichment, tort law is seen as forming one of the three main pillars of the law of obligations. In English law, torts like other civil cases are tried in front a judge without a jury. Following Roman law, the English system has long been based on a closed system of nominate torts, such as trespass and conversion; this is in contrast to continental legal systems, which have since adopted more open systems of tortious liability. There are various categories of tort; the tort of negligence is however increasing in importance over other types of tort, providing a wide scope of protection since Donoghue v Stevenson. For liability under negligence, a duty of care must be established owed to a group of persons to which the victim belongs, a nebulous concept into which many other categories are being pulled.
Liability for negligence arises. The main elements of negligence are: A duty of care Breach of that duty Breach causing harm in fact The harm must be not too remote a consequence of the breach In some situations, defences will be available to negligence. Special rules, considerable bodies of case law have developed around four further particular fields in negligence: for psychiatric injury, economic loss, for public bodies, when concerning omissions and third parties; the establishment of a duty of care is broken up into a three-step test. The first case to establish a general duty of care was Donoghue v Stevenson. Famously, Mrs Donoghue claimed compensation for illness after she consumed a ginger beer containing a decomposed snail in a public house in Paisley, Scotland; the bottle was opaque so neither Mrs Donoghue nor the shopkeeper could see a snail, at the time she could not sue the shopkeeper for breach of contract or consumer rights. The House of Lords by a majority held that Mr Stevenson, was liable in tort.
Lord Atkin held liability was "based upon a general public sentiment of moral wrongdoing for which the offender must pay" and people "must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be to injure your neighbour." By contrast, Lord Macmillan suggested that the law should protect Mrs Donoghue by incremental analogy to previous cases. Lord Atkin's speech was followed, was understood to contain three main points for establishing a duty of care. First, the concept of reasonable foreseeability of harm; this three-step scheme, did not crystallise until the case of Caparo Industries Plc v Dickman. A company called, it did this because it sneakily obtained word from a company audit that the target was financially sound. The audit was intended for shareholders, not outsiders. Once Caparo owned the company it found that the finances were in fact pretty shoddy, so it sued the accountants for being negligent in its audit preparation; the House of Lords established the current threefold test.
Although it was "reasonably foreseeable" that outsiders might learn of the carelessly prepared information, it was not the case that Caparo and Dickman were in a relationship of "proximity". This the court used as a term of art to say that it should not be the case that anyone who heard something said, stupid and acted on it can sue; the court was reacting to its concern that to allow a claim here might open the floodgates of litigation. The third element, whether liability would be "fair and reasonable", was an extra hurdle added as a catch-all discretionary measure for the judiciary to block further claims. Robinson v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police UKSC 4, found that the police owed a duty of care to a passer-by, injured when they tried to arrest a drug-dealer James-Bowen v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis UKSC 40, rejected claim by police officers charged but acquitted of assaulting a prisoner for damage to their reputations Once a duty of care has been established, it must be shown that a duty has been breached.
The question the courts ask is whether the behaviour exhibited by the defendant fell below the threshold of a "reasonable man". In some cases where the defendant was in a special profession, e.g. being a doctor, the court will ask what standard of care a "reasonable doctor" or the like might have done. Allowance is made for the defendants age and a lower standard of a "reasonable child of a certain age" is applied to children. On the other hand, no allowance is made for other personal circumstances, such as the fact that the defendant was inexperienced in the task he set out to perform, he is expected to perform this task as a reasonably competent person. Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board UKSC 11 Causation is complex, is discussed in two parts. Simple causation is a question of whether "but for" th
William Brett, 1st Viscount Esher
William Baliol Brett, 1st Viscount Esher, PC, known as Sir William Brett between 1868 and 1883, was a British lawyer and Conservative politician. He was Solicitor-General under Benjamin Disraeli and served as a justice of the Court of Common Pleas between 1868 and 1876, as a Lord Justice of Appeal between 1876 and 1883 and as Master of the Rolls, he was raised to the peerage as Baron Esher in 1885 and further honoured when he was made Viscount Esher on his retirement in 1897. Brett was a son of the Reverend Joseph George Brett, of Chelsea, London, by Dorothy, daughter of George Best, of Chilston Park, Boughton Malherbe, Kent, he was educated at Westminster School, King's College London and at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. Brett rowed for Cambridge University Boat Club against Leander Club in 1837 and 1838 in the victorious Cambridge crew against Oxford University in the 1839 Boat Race. Called to the Bar in 1840, Brett went to the northern circuit and became a Queen's Counsel in 1861.
On the death of Richard Cobden in 1865, he unsuccessfully contested Rochdale as a Conservative, but in 1866, he was returned for Helston in unique circumstances. He and his opponent polled the same number of votes, the mayor, as returning officer gave his casting vote for the Liberal candidate; as the vote was given after four o'clock, however, an appeal was lodged, the House of Commons allowed both members to take their seats. Brett made his mark in the House, in early 1868, he was knighted and appointed Solicitor General under Benjamin Disraeli. On behalf of the Crown, he prosecuted the Fenians charged with having caused the Clerkenwell Outrage. In Parliament, he took a leading part in the promotion of bills connected with the administration of law and justice. In August 1868, he was appointed a Justice of the Court of Common Pleas; some of his sentences in this capacity excited much criticism, notably so in the case of the gas stokers strike, when he sentenced the defendants to imprisonment for twelve months, with hard labour, afterwards reduced by the Home Secretary to four months.
On the reconstitution of the Court of Appeal in 1876, Brett was elevated to the rank of a Lord Justice of Appeal. He was sworn of the Privy Council at the same time. After holding the position for seven years, he succeeded Sir George Jessel as Master of the Rolls in 1883. In 1885 he was raised to the peerage of Esher in the County of Surrey, he opposed the bill proposing that an accused person or his wife might give evidence in their own case aand supported the bill that empowered Lords of Appeal to sit and vote after their retirement. The Solicitors Act 1888, which increased the powers of the Incorporated Law Society, owed much to his influence. In 1880, he delivered a speech in the House of Lords, deprecating the delay and expense of trials, which he regarded as having been increased by the Judicature Act 1873, he retired from the bench at the close of 1897, was created Viscount Esher, of Esher in the County of Surrey, a dignity never given to any judge, Lord Chancellors excepted, for mere legal conduct since the time of Lord Coke.
Tamplin v James 15 Ch D 215, upholding a decision of Baggallay LJ in the first instance. Compagnie Financiere du Pacifique v Peruvian Guano Co 11 QBD 55 - Established the modern test for discovery of documents. Heaven v Pender - In the obiter dicta in his judgment of the Court of Appeal, Brett MR sought to establish a general "duty of care" between parties that would have led to a tort of negligence; such a principle was only accepted by English courts in 1932. Foakes v Beer UKHL 1, All ER Rep 106, 9 App Cas 605. Filburn v People's Palace and Aquarium Co Ltd was a case that imposed strict liability upon owners of wild animals for harm caused by them. British South Africa Co v Companhia de Moçambique AC 602 - Esher dissented from the Court of Appeal decision of Fry LJ and Lopes LJ; the Satanita AC 59 - Contract law case atypical of the conventional offer & acceptance pattern seen in English law. Brett's decision at appeal affirmed by the House of Lords. Lord Esher married Eugénie Mayer in 1850. Eugénie was the illegitimate daughter of Napoleon Bonaparte and Fanny Meyer, though other sources suggest that her father was one Louis Mayer.
They had two sons and Eugène, a daughter Violet, wife of William Humble Dudley Ward and mother of William Dudley Ward. Lord Esher died in London in May 1899, aged eighty-one, was succeeded by his eldest son, Reginald. List of Cambridge University Boat Race crews Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Viscount Esher
Negligence is a failure to exercise appropriate and or ethical ruled care expected to be exercised amongst specified circumstances. The area of tort law known as negligence involves harm caused by failing to act as a form of carelessness with extenuating circumstances; the core concept of negligence is that people should exercise reasonable care in their actions, by taking account of the potential harm that they might foreseeably cause to other people or property. Someone who suffers loss caused by another's negligence may be able to sue for damages to compensate for their harm; such loss may include harm to property, psychiatric illness, or economic loss. The law on negligence may be assessed in general terms according to a five-part model which includes the assessment of duty, actual cause, proximate cause, damages; some things must be established by anyone. These are. Most jurisdictions say that there are four elements to a negligence action: duty: the defendant has a duty to others, including the plaintiff, to exercise reasonable care, breach: the defendant breaches that duty through an act or culpable omission, damages: as a result of that act or omission, the plaintiff suffers an injury, causation: the injury to the plaintiff is a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the defendant's act or omission.
Some jurisdictions narrow the definition down to three elements: duty and proximately caused harm. Some jurisdictions recognize five elements, breach, actual cause, proximate cause, damages. However, at their heart, the various definitions of what constitutes negligent conduct are similar; the legal liability of a defendant to a plaintiff is based on the defendant's failure to fulfil a responsibility, recognised by law, of which the plaintiff is the intended beneficiary. The first step in determining the existence of a recognised responsibility is the concept of an obligation or duty. In the tort of negligence the term used is duty of care The case of Donoghue v Stevenson established the modern law of negligence, laying the foundations of the duty of care and the fault principle which, have been adopted throughout the Commonwealth. May Donoghue and her friend were in a café in Paisley; the friend bought Mrs Donoghue. She drank some of the beer and poured the remainder over her ice-cream and was horrified to see the decomposed remains of a snail exit the bottle.
Donoghue suffered nervous shock and gastro-enteritis, but did not sue the cafe owner, instead suing the manufacturer, Stevenson.. The Scottish judge, Lord MacMillan, considered the case to fall within a new category of delict; the case proceeded to the House of Lords, where Lord Atkin interpreted the biblical ordinance to'love thy neighbour' as a legal requirement to'not harm thy neighbour.' He went on to define neighbour as "persons who are so and directly affected by my act that I ought reasonably to have them in contemplation as being so affected when I am directing my mind to the acts or omissions that are called in question." In England the more recent case of Caparo Industries Plc v Dickman introduced a'threefold test' for a duty of care. Harm must be reasonably foreseeable there must be a relationship of proximity between the plaintiff and defendant and it must be'fair and reasonable' to impose liability. However, these act as guidelines for the courts in establishing a duty of care. In Australia, Donoghue v Stevenson was used as a persuasive precedent in the case of Grant v Australian Knitting Mills.
This was a landmark case in the development of negligence law in Australia. Whether a duty of care is owed for psychiatric, as opposed to physical, harm was discussed in the Australian case of Tame v State of New South Wales. Determining a duty for mental harm has now been subsumed into the Civil Liability Act 2002 in New South Wales; the application of Part 3 of the Civil Liability Act 2002 was demonstrated in Wicks v SRA. Once it is established that the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff/claimant, the matter of whether or not that duty was breached must be settled; the test is both objective. The defendant who knowingly exposes the plaintiff/claimant to a substantial risk of loss, breaches that duty; the defendant who fails to realize the substantial risk of loss to the plaintiff/claimant, which any reasonable person in the same situation would have realized breaches that duty. However, whether the test is objective or subjective may depend upon the particular case involved. There is a reduced threshold for the standard of care owed by children.
In the Australian case of McHale v Watson, McHale, a 9-year-old girl was blinded in one eye after being hit by the ricochet of a sharp metal rod thrown by a 12-year-old boy, Watson. The defendant child was held not to have the level of care to the standard of an adult, but of a 12-year-old child with similar experience and intelligence. Kitto J explained that a child's lack of foresight is a characteristic they share with others at that stage of development. Certain jurisdictions provide for breaches where professionals, such as doctors, fail to warn of risks assoc
Duty of care
In tort law, a duty of care is a legal obligation, imposed on an individual requiring adherence to a standard of reasonable care while performing any acts that could foreseeably harm others. It is the first element; the claimant must be able to show a duty of care imposed by law. In turn, breaching a duty may subject an individual to liability; the duty of care may be imposed by operation of law between individuals who have no current direct relationship but become related in some manner, as defined by common law. Duty of care may be considered a formalisation of the social contract, the implicit responsibilities held by individuals towards others within society, it is not a requirement that a duty of care be defined by law, though it will develop through the jurisprudence of common law. At common law, duties were limited to those with whom one was in privity one way or another, as exemplified by cases like Winterbottom v. Wright. In the early 20th century, judges began to recognize that the cold realities of the Second Industrial Revolution implied that enforcing the privity requirement against hapless consumers had harsh results in many product liability cases.
The idea of a general duty of care that runs to all who could be foreseeably affected by one's conduct first appeared in the judgment of William Brett, Master of the Rolls, in Heaven v Pender. Although Brett's formulation was rejected by the rest of the court, similar formulations appeared in the landmark U. S. case of MacPherson v. Buick Motor Co. and, in the UK, in Donoghue v Stevenson. Both MacPherson and Donoghue were product liability cases, both expressly acknowledged and cited Brett's analysis as their inspiration. Although the duty of care is easiest to understand in contexts like simple blunt trauma, it is important to understand that the duty can be still found in situations where plaintiffs and defendants may be separated by vast distances of space and time. For instance, an engineer or construction company involved in erecting a building may be reasonably responsible to tenants inhabiting the building many years in the future; this point is illustrated by the decision of the South Carolina Supreme Court in Terlinde v. Neely 275 S.
C. 395, 271 S. E.2d 768 cited by the Supreme Court of Canada in Winnipeg Condominium Corporation No. 36 v. Bird Construction Co. 1 S. C. R. 85: The plaintiffs, being a member of the class for which the home was constructed, are entitled to a duty of care in construction commensurate with industry standards. In the light of the fact that the home was constructed as speculative, the home builder cannot reasonably argue he envisioned anything but a class of purchasers. By placing this product into the stream of commerce, the builder owes a duty of care to those who will use his product, so as to render him accountable for negligent workmanship. Although the idea of a general duty of care is now accepted, there are significant differences among the common law jurisdictions concerning the specific circumstances under which that duty of care exists. Courts cannot impose unlimited liability and hold everyone liable for everyone else's problems. There must be some reasonable limit to the duty of care; the question whether a duty of care exists depends firstly on whether there is an analogous case in which the Courts have held there to exist a duty of care.
Situations in which a duty of care have been held to exist include doctor and patient and consumer, surveyor and mortgagor. Accordingly, if there is an analogous case on duty of care, the court will apply that case to the facts of the new case without asking itself any normative question, it is only if there is no similar case that the court will go onto apply the normative criteria which Lord Bridge of Harwich sets out in Caparo Industries plc v Dickman, in which the House of Lords set out the following three-part test: Harm must be a "reasonably foreseeable" result of the defendant's conduct. The High Court of Australia has deviated from the British approach, which still recognises a proximity element. Rather, Australian law first determines whether the case at hand fits within an established category of case where a duty of care has been found. For example, occupiers of a premises automatically owe a duty of care to any person on their premises. If this is not the case the plaintiff must prove that it was reasonably foreseeable that harm could result from the defendant's actions.
If so, the Court applies a'salient features' test to determine whether the plaintiff is owed a duty of care. Some of the salient features which the Court considers in making this inquiry include: Whether imposition of a duty of care would lead to'indeterminate liability' – that is, it would interfere with the legitimate protection or pursuit of an individual's social or business interests. Whether imposition of a duty would constitute an unreasonable burden on individual autonomy
Donoghue v Stevenson
Donoghue v Stevenson UKHL 100 was a landmark court decision in Scots delict law and English tort law by the House of Lords. It laid the foundation of the modern law of negligence, establishing general principles of the duty of care. Known as the "Paisley snail" or "snail in the bottle" case, the case involved Mrs Donoghue drinking a bottle of ginger beer in a café in Paisley, Renfrewshire. A dead snail was in the bottle, she fell ill, she sued the ginger beer manufacturer, Mr Stevenson. The House of Lords held that the manufacturer owed a duty of care to her, breached, because it was reasonably foreseeable that failure to ensure the product's safety would lead to harm to consumers. There was a sufficiently proximate relationship between consumers and product manufacturers. Prior to Donoghue v Stevenson, liability for personal injury in tort depended upon showing physical damage inflicted directly or indirectly. Being made ill by consuming a noxious substance did not qualify as either, so the orthodox view was that Mrs Donoghue had no sustainable claim in law.
However, the decision fundamentally created a new type of liability in law which did not depend upon any recognised category of tortious claims. This was an evolutionary step in the common law for tort and delict, moving from strict liability based upon direct physical contact to a fault-based system which only required injury; this evolution was taken further in the decision of Letang v Cooper 1 QB 232 when it was held that actions should not be jointly pleaded in trespass and negligence, but in negligence alone. On the evening of Sunday 26 August 1928, during the Glasgow Trades Holiday, Donoghue took a train to Paisley, Renfrewshire. In Paisley, she went to the Wellmeadow Café. A friend, with her ordered a pear and ice for herself and a Scotsman ice cream float, a mix of ice cream and ginger beer, for Donoghue; the owner of the café, Francis Minghella, brought over a tumbler of ice cream and poured ginger beer on it from a brown and opaque bottle labelled "D. Stevenson, Glen Lane, Paisley".
Furthermore, although the bottle was labelled as Stevenson's, McByde suggests it is possible it did not belong to him. Bottles were reused, in the process returned to the incorrect manufacturer. Moreover, Stevenson claimed he did not issue bottles matching the description provided by Donoghue. Donoghue drank some of the ice cream float. However, when Donoghue's friend poured the remaining ginger beer into the tumbler, a decomposed snail floated out of the bottle. Donoghue claimed. According to her statements of facts, she was required to consult a doctor on 29 August and was admitted to Glasgow Royal Infirmary for "emergency treatment" on 16 September, she was subsequently diagnosed with severe gastroenteritis and shock. The ginger beer had been manufactured by David Stevenson, who ran a company producing both ginger beer and lemonade at 11 and 12 Glen Lane, less than a mile away from the Wellmeadow Café; the contact details for the ginger beer manufacturer were on the bottle label and recorded by Donoghue's friend.
Donoghue subsequently contacted and instructed Walter Leechman, a local solicitor and city councillor whose firm had acted for the claimants in a factually similar case, Mullen v AG Barr & Co Ltd, less than three weeks earlier. Despite the ruling in Mullen, Leechman issued a writ on Donoghue's behalf against Stevenson on 9 April 1929; the writ claimed £500 in damages, the same amount a claimant in Mullen had recovered at first instance, £50 in costs. The total amount Donoghue attempted to recover would be equivalent to at least £27,000 in 2012; the full allegations made by Donoghue were presented in five condescendences, which claimed that Stevenson had a duty of care to Donoghue to ensure that snails did not get into his bottles of ginger beer, but that he had breached this duty by failing to provide a system to clean bottles a system that would be used in the business and was necessary given that the ginger beer was intended for human consumption. The ineffectiveness of the cleaning system was alleged to result from the bottles being left in places "to which it was obvious that snails had freedom of access... and in which, indeed and snail trails were found", an allegation described by Matthew Chapman as "somewhat gratuitous".
This breach of duty was alleged to have caused Donoghue's subsequent illness. Stevenson responded to the condescendences by denying that any of his bottles of ginger beer had contained snails and "that the alleged injuries are grossly exaggerated... any illness suffered by the was due to the bad condition of her own health at the time". In response to the writ, Stevenson pleaded that the claim had no legal basis, that the facts could not be substantiated, that he had not caused Donoghue any injury and that the claimed amount was excessive. Injuries resulting from defective products were claimed on the basis of a contract of sale between the seller and the consumer. However, Donoghue had no contractual relationship with Minghella as she had not purchased the ginger beer. Moreover, neither had a contract with the manufacturer. Donoghue was therefore required to claim damages for negligence. Ansell v Waterhouse had established in 1817 that legal liability could arise for an act or omission "contrary to the duty which the law casts on him in the particular case".
However, there was no general duty of care and