OldFatherTimeOldRuin was in chambers today and looking particularly sprightly which was a pleasure to see after all of his health scares last week. “I’ve got a get together with some old chums from the bar this evening. Ever decreasing number they are too, BabyB. Still, OldFatherTime keeps on going regardless.”

I told him that I had bumped into OldFatherTime in the bear garden the other day and that he had passed on his regards to OldRuin.
“They don’t make them like him, any more, BabyB. Legend has it that as a young man he was a friend of Lord Atkin and helped him draft the judgment in Donoghue v Stevenson after church and a particularly hearty Sunday lunch out in the shires. That’d make him older than would be imaginiable though. Definitely a great reformer BabyB.  In my time you could always tell which of the judgments of Lord Denning had been preceded by a visit of OldFatherTime to his home in Whitchurch, you know.”

He looked at me wistfully and then whispered as if he were passing on a secret: “You know, some say BabyB, that OldFatherTime has been around as long as the common law itself. Like some sort of legal Highlander. Silly really but his early years are so shrouded in colonial mystery that it’s left it open to speculation.” With a twinkle in his eye he smiled in a way that the French would describe as mi fig, mi raisin.  Only half-joking.

August 31, 2016 · Tim Kevan · 12 Comments
Posted in: Uncategorized

12 Responses

  1. Abigail - February 29, 2008

    Donoghue v Stephenson? Don’t think I’ve heard of that one….

  2. Elenias - February 29, 2008

    If you ever study duty of care in negligence, it’s the first case you’ll ever learn!

  3. Sarah - February 29, 2008

    OldRuin, glad he’s back in full health. Great stuff.

  4. ciaran - March 1, 2008

    snail in a bottle 1932 everyone remembers that one lol

  5. Abigail - March 3, 2008

    Ah yes, but look at the citation. Perhaps my post was a pedantry too far…

  6. Baroness Suzie QC - March 3, 2008

    I think Abigail was joking.. xxx

  7. BabyB - March 3, 2008

    Abigail was teasing me that I had spelt the case with a “ph” in it rather than a “v” 🙂 BabyB

  8. Abigail - March 3, 2008

    In expansive mode: it is not generally known whether the snail was actually proven to be in the bottle. This is because of the Scottish procedure known as a Debate, where the pursuer’s statement of fact is taken as true, and the defender can argue that even if those facts are correct, there is still no claim.

  9. Essexlawyer - March 4, 2008

    If we’re into spelling should Donoghue be spelt McAlister?

  10. Abigail - March 5, 2008

    “McAlister or Donoghue (Pauper) v Stevenson” according to the Parliamentary archives. It was common for a married woman to use her maiden name in Scotland, and so both are in the title. I believe McAlister was the maiden name. This mode is still used in Scottish divorce cases.

  11. Ageing Junior - March 6, 2008

    Essexlawyer said:
    “If we’re into spelling should Donoghue be spelt McAlister?”
    There’s also M’Alister.
    (It was her maiden name, by the way — hence the nominal ambiguity.)

  12. TheHun - March 6, 2008

    Indeed, there is some doubt as to the contents of the bottle, as a Scotsman recently elucidated to me. It is generally referred to as “ginger” or “ginger ale”, I think – but the Scot in question tells me that that is generally used as a generic term for “soda” or “carbonated drink”, and the contents was, most probably, lemonade.