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The trail of the snail: Reflections on negligence law - Professor Sir Grant Hammond

18th Jul 2017 5:15pm

2017 Inaugural Professorial Lecture Series

Did you hear the one about the Scotswoman, the snail and the bottle of ginger? Sir Grant Hammond, Professor of Law and Judicial Studies at the University of Waikato knows it well. It’s a story that set the course of negligence law to this very day and he will be shedding more light on this famous case at his Inaugural Professorial Lecture on 18 July.
The most famous litigant of all time in the western world, May Donoghue, consumed a bottle of ginger beer in a Glasgow café in 1928. There was, allegedly, a decomposed snail in the bottle and she subsequently became ill. She was destitute, divorced, and a single parent. But against all odds, she pursued a claim against the drink manufacturer to the highest court in the UK, the House of Lords, and prevailed.
The case made legal history. “The decision defined the duty of care a provider owes the end user, which has rolled down the years throughout the common law world,” says Sir Grant, who while writing a book in the UK stumbled upon some little-known facts about the case. “It’s really a fascinating story, but there’s still a lot of background which has never been widely revealed and the full story deserves to be told.”
Sir Grant is a specialist in judicial remedies. The judge has had an extensive career that’s combined practice with academia, taking him all over the world. He has published three books and more than 50 law review articles, was Dean of Law at the University of Auckland, was a two-term President of the Law Commission of New Zealand, and in 2011 was knighted for ‘services to law’.

Tickets: Free and open to the Public. OPUS Bar/cafe open from 4.30pm