Defences to a claim under the Consumer Protection Act 1987

The following PI & Clinical Negligence practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Defences to a claim under the Consumer Protection Act 1987
  • Statutory defences
  • Compliance with UK or retained EU law
  • Defective product not supplied by the defendant
  • Defective product not supplied in the course of business or not with a view to profit
  • The defect did not exist in the product at the time of its supply
  • The development risks defence
  • The defect was in the subsequent product not in a component part of it
  • Limitation
  • Contributory negligence and volenti non fit injuria

Defences to a claim under the Consumer Protection Act 1987

Limitation or exclusion of liability for defective products in any contract term, notice or other provision is prohibited.

Defences to a claim under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 (CPA 1987) fall into four main categories:

  1. the injured person has been unable to discharge the burden of proof

  2. the defendant is able to establish one of the statutory defences in CPA 1987, s 4

  3. the claimant is debarred from proceeding by one or more of the CPA 1987’s time limits

  4. the defences of contributory negligence or volenti non fit injuria (the willing acceptance of risk)

While liability imposed by CPA 1987 is strict, it is not absolute. There is scope for avoiding liability if producers can successfully raise one or more of the statutory defences.

Statutory defences

Compliance with UK or retained EU law

This statutory defence will succeed if the defendant can demonstrate that the defect is due to compliance with any requirement imposed by UK or EU law. From IP completion day (11 pm on 31 December 2020), this defence only applies in relation to compliance with UK law and any retained EU legal obligation.

Defective product not supplied by the defendant

This statutory defence will succeed if the defendant can adduce factual evidence to prove that it did not supply the product.

Defective product not supplied in the course of business

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