M’Alister Donoghue v Stevenson

M’Alister Donoghue v Stevenson


House of Lords (United Kingdom) – 26 May 1932


Donoghue sought to recover damages from Stevenson, who was a manufacturer of aerated waters, for injuries she suffered from consuming part of the contents of a bottle of ginger beer that had been manufactured by Stevenson. The ginger beer contained the decomposed remains of a snail.

Donoghue alleged that the bottle purchased by a friend was made of dark opaque glass and that she had no reason to suspect that it contained anything but pure ginger beer. Donoghue claimed Stevenson had a duty to provide a system of working his business that would not allow snails to get into ginger-beer bottles, and that it was also his duty to provide an efficient system of inspection of the bottles before the ginger beer was filled into the bottles.

It was finally alleged that Donoghue had failed in both these duties and had so caused the damage to Donoghue.


The Court had to decide the extent of the duty of care that a manufacturer of food owes to consumers of their product when they are not in a contractual relationship with the consumer.


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