It’s criminal, m’lud!

Pupils get all legal on each other.
Pupils get all legal on each other.

SCHOOLS across East Renfrewshire received a lesson in the importance of law to everyday life.

Eight secondary schools from the area took part in the Faculty of Advocates’ MiniTrials initiative at Paisley Sheriff Court.

In its eleventh year, the MiniTrials sets out to teach and inform school students about the law in an enjoyable and realistic setting.

The pupils came from Williamwood, Belmont House, St Luke’s, Eastwood, Mearns Castle, St Ninian’s, Woodfarm and Barrhead.

The school students played the part of the prosecution or defence, witnesses and jurors in a criminal case about an alleged assault.

Following on from this they then staged a civil case and chose the landmark litigation of Donoghue v Stevenson.

Back in 1928, a woman named May Donoghue entere the Wellmeadow Cafe in Paisley.

She asked for a ginger beer and suffered shock and fell ill when what appeared to be a decomposing snail was poured from the bottle into her glass.

May headed off to the lawyers office and raise an action for £500 damages against the ginger beer manufacturer, David Stevenson of Paisley.

The basis of the claim was that anyone who negligently produced harmful goods for public consumption owed a duty of care to the customers who bought them.

The case was sent to the House of Lords who judged that Mrs Donoghue’s action should be allowed to proceed.

This set an important legal precedent and established the modern law of negligence internationally.

The action was later settled out of court, but the new law remained.