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Law and change: Scottish legal heroes
Law and change: Scottish legal heroes

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6.2 Was this new reasoning?

As a result of the importance given to the judgment in Donoghue, in the decades that followed you might think that the neighbour principle, expounded in the case, was revolutionary. But, in legal terms, it was already fully formed and had a number of disparate sources.

The first source, was a passage in a mid-eighteenth-century legal tract: An Introduction to the Law Relative to Trials at Nisi Prius (Buller, 1790). The second source was the decision of the Court of Appeal in Heaven v Pender (1883) 11 QBD 503 (QB).Thirdly, a decision by Justice Benjamin Cardozo in the New York Court of Appeals in MacPherson v. Buick Motor Company(1916) 217 NY 382. Fourthly, the parable of the Good Samaritan in the Gospels (Luke 10: 25–37). It was to the Gospel of St Luke that Lord Atkin gave most (but not all) of the credit for his formulation of the duty of care in negligence.