Donoghue v Stevenson

The Paisley Snail MiniTrial

10. The Defender’s Closing Speech to the Jury – a possible outline

Senior counsel for the Pursuer stands and says (as a courtesy to the court)

“May it please your Lordship.”

Counsel then makes his / her way from his seat round into the well of the court to stand directly in front of the jury. Counsel begins with something along the following lines:–

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, I now have the opportunity to address you on behalf of David Stevenson – the defender.

First of all, on behalf of the defender, I am inviting you to answer the question in the Issue (the main question) “No”.

The reasons why you should answer the Issue “No” are as follows:–

1. The pursuer has failed to prove that the incident in fact happened as May Donoghue alleges. You will remember the doubts and the inconsistencies in the evidence of …
2. The pursuer has failed to prove any fault on the part of the Defender. Mr Stevenson and his employees did take reasonable care. You will remember the evidence of …
3. May Donoghue has failed to prove that she sustained injury caused by the fault of the defender. You will remember the evidence of …
4.      Finally, the evidence from the pursuer should be rejected and should not be accepted because …

Accordingly, the Issue should be answered “No”.

In relation to damages, I have very little to say. My primary position if that there should be no award at all. If you are against me on that, then any award of damages should be modest.

Head (3) “past wage loss” has been agreed – at £200.

Head (4) “expenses” has also been agreed – at £– so you should insert the agreed figure of £50.

That only leaves Heads (1) and (2) for you to decide.

Head (1) is for past solatium.

Head (2) is for future solatium.

The assessment of damages is a matter for you but when selecting the appropriate figure for solatium you will no doubt bear in mind the evidence of:–




On the whole evidence you may feel that any award of damages should be very small. Perhaps a few hundred pounds – but nowhere near the total which the pursuer has chosen as her maximum.

In short, I am inviting you to answer the Issue “No”.

In relation to damages, if you decide to make any award at all, I suggest that the award should be very small.

Thank you for your attention.

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