Defective products
Produced in partnership with Simon Castley and Alison Newstead of Shook, Hardy & Bacon
Defective products

The following Commercial guidance note Produced in partnership with Simon Castley and Alison Newstead of Shook, Hardy & Bacon provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Defective products
  • Statutory framework
  • Products
  • Meaning of defective product
  • Persons liable
  • Liability
  • Damage
  • Defences
  • Limitation
  • Reform

Brexit: As of exit day (11pm on 31 January 2020) the UK is no longer an EU Member State. However, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK has entered an implementation period, during which it continues to be subject to EU law. This has an impact on this Practice Note. For further guidance, see Brexit Bulletin—key updates, research tips and resources and Brexit toolkit.

This Practice Note summarises the law on defective products under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 (CPA 1987) and Council Directive 85/374/EEC (the Product Liability Directive). The CPA 1987 imposes liability onto producers of directive products. This Practice Note considers what constitutes a defective product under the CPA 1987, who in the supply chain could be liable for the defective product, their degree of liability and any contributory negligence issues, the type of damages and the various defences available to a producer. It also looks at reports on the efficacy of the , Product Liability Directive and possible future reform.

Statutory framework

CPA 1987, Pt I imposes strict liability on producers of defective products for the damage caused by those defects. CPA 1987 implements into UK law the provisions of the Product Liability Directive and is to be construed in accordance with the provisions of that directive.

It is important to note that liability under CPA 1987