The Snail and the Ginger Beer: The Singular Case of Donoghue v Stevenson, Matthew Chapman (London: Wildy, Simmonds & Hill, 2010)


  • John C. Kleefeld Assistant Professor, College of Law, University of Saskatchewan



When I first saw The Snail and the Ginger Beer, I was attracted more by its jacket (featuring a rather lively snail, tentacles extended) and title (most Holmesian, my dear Watson!) than by any expectation of what it might teach me about the case that heralded the modern law of negligence throughout the Commonwealth world. With all that has been written about Donoghue v Stevenson, could there be anything more to tell about the shocking case of gastroenteritis caused, it is said, by gastropod detritus lingering in some ginger beer? Well, yes, actually, and Matthew Chapman has done an excellent job in the telling. Chapman, a London barrister, has produced a well-researched and pithily presented story, not only of the case itself, but of the legal-historical context leading up to it and, to a lesser extent, its fate since being decided by a 3:2 majority of the House of Lords in 1932.




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