Rethinking Product Liability: A Missing Element in the European Commission's Third Review of the European Product Liability Directive

17 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2007

See all articles by Duncan Fairgrieve

Duncan Fairgrieve

British Institute of International and Comparative Law

Geraint G. Howells

Lancaster University - Law School

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Abstract

The paper uses the opportunity afforded by the European Commission's Third Report of the Product Liability Directive to assess the present state of product liability in Europe. It notes that despite the maximal harmonisation character of the Directive there is a risk of divergence between Member States on key issues including the core concept of defectiveness. The Commission seems at times confused (for example, as regards the relationship between defect and fault liability) and more often complacent about the risks of divergence; but this sits uneasily with the espousal of maximal harmonisation. Ultimately there may be a need for a rethinking of product liability to ensure greater clarity as regards the underlying rationale supporting strict liability. This seems unlikely to materialise in the near future and so at the very least the Commission should act to clarify some core concepts that are proving difficult to interpret for the courts.

Suggested Citation

Fairgrieve, Duncan and Howells, Geraint G., Rethinking Product Liability: A Missing Element in the European Commission's Third Review of the European Product Liability Directive. Modern Law Review, Vol. 70, No. 6, pp. 962-978, November 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1024345 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2230.2007.00672.x

Duncan Fairgrieve (Contact Author)

British Institute of International and Comparative Law ( email )

Charles Clore House
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Geraint G. Howells

Lancaster University - Law School ( email )

Law School
Lancaster LA1 4YF, LA1 4YN
United Kingdom
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+44 0 1524 848137 (Fax)

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