Relevance of Risk-Benefit Considerations for Assessment of Defectiveness

Posted: 30 May 2019

See all articles by Marta Santos Silva

Marta Santos Silva

Maastricht University - Faculty of Law; KU Leuven

Duncan Fairgrieve

British Institute of International and Comparative Law ; Université Paris Dauphine

Piotr Machnikowski

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jean-Sébastien Borghetti

Université Paris 2 Panthéon Assas

Anne Keirse

Utrecht University - School of Law

Pedro del Olmo García

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

eleonora rajneri

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Schmon Christoph

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Vibe Ulfbeck

University of Copenhagen - Faculty of Law

Vera Vallone

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Herbert Zech

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Juristische Fakultät

Date Written: April 22, 2019

Abstract

Under Council Directive 85/374/EEC, liability crucially depends upon the proof of a product’s defectiveness. This central notion of the Directive has however long been the source of debate about the extent to which it is grounded in a solely safety-based approach, or whether a risk-benefit approach may be admitted. The defectiveness concept is now subject to a growing body of case law. This article examines how the courts in a selection of Member States approach the notion of defect and take account of risk-benefit considerations in determining whether a product is defective. It aims, first, at lowering the level of complexity which was added to the definition of “defect” in the Directive by the discretion given to national courts on the applicable standard of liability. Second, it means to show the real level and scope of harmonization of the product liability law in the EU by revealing differences that remain to exist in the interpretation of seemingly harmonized laws. Third, it aims to contribute to the clarification of whether the risk-benefit test is compliant with the spirit of the directive, and thereby informing policy makers at a time where the guidelines of interpretation of the directive are being prepared.

Keywords: Defect, Safety Standard, Risk-Utility Test, Harmonisation, Product Liability Directive, US Law, Consumer Protection

Suggested Citation

Santos Silva, Marta and Fairgrieve, Duncan and Machnikowski, Piotr and Borghetti, Jean-Sébastien and Keirse, Anne and del Olmo García, Pedro and rajneri, eleonora and Christoph, Schmon and Ulfbeck, Vibe and Vallone, Vera and Zech, Herbert, Relevance of Risk-Benefit Considerations for Assessment of Defectiveness (April 22, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3383137

Marta Santos Silva (Contact Author)

Maastricht University - Faculty of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200
Netherlands

KU Leuven ( email )

Oude Markt 13
Leuven, Vlaams-Brabant 3000
Belgium

Duncan Fairgrieve

British Institute of International and Comparative Law ( email )

Charles Clore House
17 Russell Square
London WC1B 5JP
United Kingdom

Université Paris Dauphine ( email )

Place du Maréchal de Tassigny
Paris, Cedex 16 75775
France

Piotr Machnikowski

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jean-Sébastien Borghetti

Université Paris 2 Panthéon Assas ( email )

Paris
France

Anne Keirse

Utrecht University - School of Law ( email )

3508 TC Utrecht
Utrecht
Netherlands

Pedro Del Olmo García

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid ( email )

CL. de Madrid 126
Madrid, Madrid 28903
Spain

Eleonora Rajneri

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Schmon Christoph

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Vibe Ulfbeck

University of Copenhagen - Faculty of Law ( email )

Karen Blixens Plads 16
Copenhagen, DK-2300
Denmark

Vera Vallone

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Herbert Zech

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Juristische Fakultät ( email )

Unter den Linden 6
Berlin, D-10099
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.rewi.hu-berlin.de/de/lf/ls/zch

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