Donoghue v Stevenson: what the law textbooks didn´t tell you!

Holiday Inn Cambridge
Tuesday, 15 October 2019
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
    • Jeff Heasman


Donoghue v Stevenson is one of the most celebrated cases in legal history and is often just affectionately referred to as the case of the snail and the ginger beer. There is no doubting that it has influenced the development of the law of negligence across the common law world. However, there are certain aspects to the case that are not dealt with in most of the law books and lectures. This seminar looks behind the scenes by referring to some of the original court papers and documents such as Mrs Donoghue’s medical records. Was there ever a snail in the bottle of ginger beer? Why did Mrs Donoghue not report the incident at the time? Who were the main actors and protagonists? Why was the evidence never properly tested in court? How might a modern-day insurance company deal with the allegations made by Mrs Donoghue? This seminar aims to shed a new light on this famous case and to look at it from a very different, and at times, controversial angle.

Learning Objectives

By Attending this event, delegates will be able to identify:

  • develop and use critical thinking skills to evaluate previously decided case law.
  • understand the historical context of the development of the law of negligence.
  • appreciate more fully the background to the seminal case of Donoghue v Stevenson.
  • approach the facts of the case as a modern-day insurer would, to decide whether the same outcome would be likely today!

Speaker Biography

Jeff Heasman is a leading international trainer with many years of experience working within the legal and insurance industries as a litigation executive and senior liability adjuster.

In addition to having handled litigation up to the Court of Appeal in London and dealt with insurance claims arising from many worldwide jurisdictions, Jeff has extensive experience of providing training to lawyers, insurance professionals and English language teachers across the world.

Jeff has been Dean of the Faculty of Law at Cavendish University Zambia (CUZ) in Africa, where he was also a lecturer in the law of torts. He has also been a tutor in Legal and Academic English at Swansea University and has delivered courses in Business English to MBA students and company directors at a private university in Spain.

Jeff has delivered many public lectures on subjects such as the law of torts and plain language and has provided training in insurance law and practice to some of the world's largest and most prestigious organisations, as well as regularly providing seminars for the Chartered Insurance Institute in the UK. He is currently working with organisations to promote plain English in the insurance industry and has experience of editing insurance policies.

Jeff regularly writes blogs for different organisations and articles on skills and communication, including for the global industry newspaper, The Lawyer. He has taken part in media debates on the insurance industry in the UK and has also appeared on national television and radio in various countries, primarily talking about the communication skills of law students and lawyers.

Additional Details

  • Refreshments will be served before the talk from 5:30pm onwards.

  • If you know of any other CII Members who would like to attend but have not received the invite, please ask them to update their CII Communication Preferences at

  • Parking is free at the venue but you must remember to register your car at reception to avoid a car parking fine

  • Holiday Inn Cambridge
  • Bridge Road, Impington
  • Cambridge
  • CB24 9PH
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CII Accredited

This demonstrates the quality of an event and that it meets CII member CPD scheme requirements.

1 hour's CPD can be claimed for this event if relevant to your learning and development needs.

It is recommended that you keep any evidence of the CPD activity you have completed and upload copies to the recording tool as the CII may ask to see this if your record is selected for review. Details of the scheme can be viewed online at