Donoghue v Stevenson

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Donoghue v Stevenson – Appeal Papers – Appendix (Opinions)

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articles may not at their pleasure limit their relations with their fellows. No doubt danger makes a special and a wide companionship, but this is in my opinion is a consequence of the communication and not of the preparation of the danger. A dangerous article does not alter in character, while it may alter in quality, because it has been prepared with negligence. Negligence would rather appear first to become significant in this connection when it introduces a danger in association with articles which ought to be safe. I was afforded no exposition of a principle upon which a danger inherent in the goods themselves which was independent of, and not associated with, any danger attending their transfer, should impose upon a party handling but not yet transferring them a special and particular obligation. A cause of action founded on such an obligation would none the less be founded directly on negligence, and not on the dangerous quality of the goods. If the cause of action springs from negligence and not from danger, I fail to see how the presence or absence of an antecedent danger can be relevant. To regard danger per se as relevant to confer a special cause of action would appear to me to misuse that element of danger in all affairs of negligence with which I have already dealt; translating this element of danger, to which I have assigned the part of a causa sine qua non in originating a duty, so as to operate independently towards completing a relation or conditioning a proximate cause. Nevertheless the distinction appears to have been recognised as an existing one in some few among the many cases to which I was referred.

    Turning now to these authorities, I agree with the opinion expressed by Lord Sumner when giving judgment as Hamilton, J., in the Divisional Court in the case of Blecker v. Lake & Elliot, Limited, 106 L.T. 633, in finding little direct assistance on this question from cases such as the Dominion Natural Gas Company, Limited. v. Collins & Perkins, 1909 A.C. 640. In that

Appendix

OPINIONS

Lord Moncrieff

Appendix Page 9