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Lord Atkin and the Neighbour Test: Origins of the Principles of Negligence in Donoghue v Stevenson

  • Richard Castle (a1)

Extract

In May 1932 the House of Lords delivered its judgement in the case about the presumed snail in the ginger beer bottle with which even non-lawyers are familiar, Donoghue v Stevenson. One of the five judges, Lord Atkin, formulated what has become known as the neighbour test in this way:

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References

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The author would like of thank the Revd. Roger Greeves, former Chaplain of Robinson College, for his help on the biblical aspects of this article.

1 Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] AC 562 at 580. HL.

2 Material for this section is taken from the Dictionary of National Biography 1941–1950 and Lewis, Geoffrey, Lord Atkin (London, Butterworths, 1983).

3 Printed in Journal of the Society of Public Teachers of Law (1932) 27.

4 See Lewis, , Lord Atkin, p 56.

5 Journal of the Society of Public Teachers of Law (1932) 27 at 30.

6 Matthew, 7: 12.

7 Luke, 6: 31.

8 Leviticus, 19: 18.

9 Encyclopaedia Judaica (Jerusalem, Macmillan, 1971), vol 8, col 484.

10 See eg Encyclopedia of Philosophy (New York, Macmillan, 1967), vol 3, p 365.

11 SirBuller, Francis, An Introduction to the Law relative to Trials at Nisi Prius (London, R Pheney and S Sweet) 7th edition (1817), p 24b, For a fascinating commentary. see Prichard, M J ‘Trespass, Case and the Rule in Williams v Holland [1964] Cambridge Law Journal 234.

12 Cited in Lewis, , Lord Atkin, p 57.

13 Luke, 10: 25–29.

14 See Spiers, Revd Kerr, ‘Who is My Neighbour?’ in Burns, Peter T. (ed) Donoghue v Stevenson and the Modern Law of Negligence (Vancouver, Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, 1991).

15 See Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] All ER Rep 1 at 11.

16 See Lewis, , Lord Atkin, p 57.

17 Cited in Lewis, , Lord Atkin, p 51.

18 Bell v Lever Bros Ltd [1932] AC 161 at 217, HL.

19 Fender v St John Mildmay [1938] AC 1 at 10. HL, a case on breach of promise of marriage.

20 Fibrosa Spolka Akcyjna v Fairbairn Lawson Combe Barbour Ltd [1943] AC 32 at 50, HL.

21 Liversidge v Anderson [1942] AC 206, HL.

* The author would like to thank the Revd. Roger Greeves, former Chaplain of Robinson College, for his help on the biblical aspects of this article.

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Ecclesiastical Law Journal
  • ISSN: 0956-618X
  • EISSN: 1751-8539
  • URL: /core/journals/ecclesiastical-law-journal
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