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

The following Commercial practice note produced in partnership with Alison Newstead of Shook, Hardy & Bacon International LLP, Simon Castley of Shook, Hardy & Bacon International LLP and Marisa Pearce of Shook, Hardy & Bacon International LLP 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

Defective products

This Practice Note summarises the law on defective products under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 (CPA 1987) and Council Directive 85/374/EEC (the EU Product Liability Directive). The CPA 1987 imposes liability on producers of defective 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 EU 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 implemented into UK law the provisions of the EU Product Liability Directive. Note that, post-IP completion day, the definition as to who is the producer differs under CPA 1987 and the EU Product Liability Directive (see further below).

It is important to note that liability under CPA 1987 does not limit a claimant’s ability to pursue other remedies against that producer (or any other relevant person in the supply chain). The ability to pursue a claim under CPA 1987 is without prejudice to liability that might arise, for example, in contract or tort, in practice it can therefore be expected that, where available,

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