Defences to a claim under the Consumer Protection Act 1987
Defences to a claim under the Consumer Protection Act 1987

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

  • Defences to a claim under the Consumer Protection Act 1987
  • Compliance with UK or 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
  • Contributory negligence and volenti non fit injuria
  • Limitation

Brexit: As of exit day (11 pm 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 Practice Note: Brexit—considerations for personal injury claims.

The Consumer Protection Act 1987 is referred to as CPA 1987.

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

Defences to a claim under 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:

Compliance with UK or EU law

This statutory defence will succeed if the defendant can demonstrate that the defect is due to compliance with legal obligations imposed by UK