Tort law cases often make the news headlines. The purpose of the web links provided here is to fill you in on some of the background to the cases and, occasionally, statutes that you are studying. They include a mixture of video and audio clips, newspaper reports, blog posts, Government reports, case reports and so on. We've also taken the opportunity to include 'updates' where the law has changed or developed since the publication of the book.
In our experience it is often easier to remember the facts or decision of a particular case when you know a bit more about its background - when you can, for example, visualise the parties involved, or picture the accident or event that lead to the claim. We also believe that awareness of the context of a particular case or the passage of a statute can often help students understand – and begin to question – why the decision was reached, or why the introduction of legislation was felt necessary. Our view is that it is important that you experience – and engage with – tort law as a dynamic and fluid process, as a body of progressive rather than static, ahistorical rules. We hope that the links provided here (as well as other things you may link to from them) will help you do this and that they will give you a sense of historical perspective and an insight into the role of the context and history in the development of legal doctrine.
We've done our best to ensure that the links are as extensive as possible but the links are (obviously) not exhaustive. We urge you to make keep an eye on developments both in tort and other areas of law by reading good legal blogs as well as the law pages of quality newspapers online.
Of course, we also know that on occasions (particularly when a deadline is pressing) these sort of additional materials (as well as the others included on our online resources) can prove to be a bit of a distraction. These links are intended to supplement your studies. They are not an alternative to the harder work of reading the text book, academic commentary, and cases. In fact, there is no excuse for not reading the cases. Within these web links we've provided deep links on BAILLI to a selection of key cases from each chapter, and we encourage you to put your background reading, watching, and surfing to good use by reading these in full so that you gain a deeper understanding of the issues they raise.
The Thalidomide Tragedy
The Death and Afterlife of Thalidomide
New York Times Retro Report
This report tells you more about the history of Thalidomide and the associated tragedy (see chapter 12, section 12.2.2 ) as well as the story since the tragedy. WARNING: video link contains scenes that some may find distressing.
The Shadow of Thalidomide
New York Times Retro Report
In September 2012 Gruenenthal, the German company credited with the invention of Thalidomide, issued its first apology in 50 years – but this didn’t go down well with those affected by the drug:
German thalidomide maker Gruenenthal issues apology
Thalidomide apology insulting, campaigners say
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19448046 (this also contains a video)
‘Thalidomide: The Fifty Year Fight’
A movie documentary on the Thalidomide tragedy, originally aired on BBC2 and now available via Box of Broadcasts [institutional subscription or registration required]:
The McDonald’s coffee lawsuit
'And Now, The Rest Of The Story... About The McDonald's Coffee Lawsuit', The Houston Lawyer, July/August 2007
This article by Kevin G. Cain explains and defends the decision in the controversial American product liability 'hot coffee' case of Liebeck v McDonald's:
Also see this video, the often untold side of the story:
Scalded by Coffee, Then News Media, New York Times video, http://www.nytimes.com/video/us/100000002507537/scalded-by-coffee-then-news-media.html?smid=fb-share
The Truth About the McDonald's Coffee Lawsuit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9DXSCpcz9E&feature=youtu.be
The Stella Awards were established in reaction to Liebeck v McDonald's – an interesting take on the original case can be found at www.stellaawards.com/stella.html and the whole site is often amusing/enlightening
In April 2013, following a high-profile recall of several makes of Japanese cars because of potentially faulty airbags, many news articles explained what this meant for consumers:
Japan carmakers recall 3 million vehicles over airbag fault
Japanese car recall: how are UK consumers affected?
Worth noting also that Toyota had already recalled 7 million cars towards the end of 2012 for a different problem!
Toyota recalls 7m cars worldwide over window fault
Also in April 2013, household electronics manufacturer Hotpoint was criticised for not warning consumers quickly enough (it had taken 6 months since the company first knew of the problem and over 12 months since concerns had been raised by consumer organisation Which?) about over 70,000 potentially dangerous dishwashers:
Hotpoint recalls dishwashers due to fire risk
Hotpoint recalls 71,000 dishwashers over fire fears
Looking from the other side, in the light of the ‘horsemeat scandal’ a site looking at product recalls gives some fairly horrific insights into the ‘mistakes’ producers can make (particularly no. 3, 4, 10 and 11): 12 product recalls that will make you pause before your next purchase http://realbusiness.co.uk/article/18788-12-product-recalls-that-will-make-you-pause-before-your-next-purchase
Citizens’ advice offers advice on what rights consumers have (and don’t have) and how to make complaints.
The organisation Which? publishes lots of advice for consumers on their rights – for example in the context of buying faulty goods.
Citizens’ advice bureaux can provide help to consumers with a variety of problems, including shopping complaints. See the section on consumer affairs in particular.
Summaries of European legislation and policies in relation to consumers and consumer safety can be found on the Europa site:
More for the future – considering self-drive cars!
'Bryant Smith, 'Automated Driving and Product Liability''
More for the future – considering the ‘Internet of things’
Product liability and the internet of things https://www.charlesrussellspeechlys.com/en/news-and-insights/insights/commercial/2017/product-liability-and-the-internet-of-things/
Donoghue v Stevenson 
Grant v Australian Knitting Mills Ltd 
Abouzaid v Mothercare (UK) Ltd 
A and others v National Blood Authority 
Commission of the European Communities v United Kingdom (EC v UK) 
Howmet Ltd v Economy Devices Ltd & Ors