Donoghue v Stevenson

The Paisley Snail MiniTrial

1. The Facts – a brief summary

This is a civil action – between two individuals. It is not a criminal prosecution – by the state.

The facts are simple.

On 26th August Mrs May Donoghue was in the Wellmeadow Café in Paisley with a friend who bought her a drink.

Mrs Donoghue had consumed part of bottle of ginger beer – as part of an ice-cream float. At that point all was well.

However, when the rest of the bottle was poured into her glass out floated what appeared to be the rotting remains of a decomposing snail.

That caused May Donoghue to feel very unwell – or so she claimed.

She sued the manufacturer of the ginger beer – David Stevenson.

Many civil cases are decided by a judge sitting without a jury (at a hearing called a “Proof”) but this particular case has now come to a “Jury Trial” – to be decided by a jury.

We will be following, in essence, the sort of court procedure that is actually used in the Court of Session in Edinburgh – albeit modified for the purposes of MiniTrial.

Will May Donoghue succeed?

What will the verdict be?

What sum, if any, will be awarded as damages?

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