Until 1932, the belief was that if a contract exists, no rights in tort could apply to the same facts. However, the decision in the case of Donoghue v Stevenson set off an explosion in the scope of tortuous liability.
Donoghue v Stevenson (1932)
In Donoghue v Stevenson (1932), the appellant brought an action against the manufacturer of ginger beer. The appellant’s friend bought the ginger beer for her at Minchella’s cafe in Paisley. She drank some of the ginger beer first. When the rest poured into her glass, she noticed the remains of what looks like a decomposed snail floating out of the opaque bottle into her tumbler. The appellant suffered gastro-enteritis and nervous shock as a result of having drunk some of the ginger beer, and the sickening sight of the foreign body in her drink.
The case proceeded to the House of Lords on the preliminary point as to whether an action exists for the tort of negligence irrespective of the fact that there was no contract between the appellant and the manufacturer of the ginger beer. The basis of the case was that the manufacturer owes a duty to the consumer. The duty is to take care that there was no harmful substance in his product. However, the manufacturer had breached this duty, and she had been injured as a result.
The House of Lords reviewed the few relevant existing precedents. Then by a majority of three to two, they decided in favor of the appellant. The decision established the existence of negligence as a separate tort in its own right for the first time by an authoritative court.
Important points emerge from Donoghue v Stevenson
At least five important points emerged from Donoghue v Stevenson:
Negligence is a separate tort in its own right;
An action for negligence can exist whether or not there is a contract between the parties;
An action for negligence will succeed if the claimant can prove: a duty of care is owed by the defendant to the claimant; a breach of that duty by the defendant; resulting damage which is not too remote;
• to establish the existence of a duty of care the ‘neighbor principle’, based on reasonable foresight, must be applied.
Lord Atkins in his judgment outlined the “Neighbor Doctrine”.
“In English law, there must be a general conception of relations giving rise to a duty of care. You must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbor. Who then, in law, is my neighbor? The answer seems to be persons who are so closely and directly affected by my act that I ought reasonably to have them in contemplation as being so affected when I am directing my mind to the acts or omissions which are called in question”.
Subsequent Cases – Grant v AKM 
In 1936, the Privy Council applied the doctrine created in Donoghue and Stevenson in Grant v AKM  AC. P bought a pair of long underpants made by d (manufacturer). P got dermatitis from the chemicals used to make the pants. There was no warning to wash before wearing. Court held that D had a duty of care to P. Approving Donaghue v Stevenson, recognizing that negligence was a tort in itself and not simply an element in some more complex relationships.