The Cases That Changed Our World

Clive Coleman tells the stories of cases that shaped our lives but which are little known outside the legal world.

Episodes

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The dramatic 1670 trial of two Quakers which established the principle that judges cannot intimidate juries, no matter how furious the bench may be.

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20100415 (R4)

The curious saga of the Carbolic Smoke Ball, a bizarre Victorian quack medicine.

The case established important principles about truth in advertising and the relationship between companies and their customers.

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The case of Reginald Woolmington, a young farm labourer who shot his wife dead with a sawn-off gun in 1934.

But had he intended to kill, and thus was it murder? The case against him seemed strong, but Woolmington's legal battle eventually reinforced the presumption of innocence for all defendants.

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Clive revisits Donohue vs Stevenson, better known as The Case of the Paisley Snail.

Finding a snail (or was it a slug?) in a bottle of ginger beer may seem a minor upset, but the resulting case in 1932 produced the first comprehensive definition of neglect in tort law and established the meaning of the 'duty of care'.