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Consumer Products and Retail Navigator
June 18, 2024

Product Liability in Europe: Publication of International Comparative Legal Guide

Consumer Products and Retail Navigator

Developments in European product liability law are always potentially significant for consumer products manufacturers and retailers. In March 2024, the European Parliament adopted new EU consumer protection legislation to repeal and replace the EU Product Liability Directive 85/374/EEC, which has been in effect for almost 40 years. Once the new legislation is approved by the European Council it will become law, and is likely to come into force around mid-2026. The intention is for EU consumers to have easier access to compensation caused by defective products.

Some key changes to look out for in the revised EU Product Liability Directive:

  • Amended scope of products covered, including software, artificial intelligence systems, and related integrated or interconnected digital services
  • Replacement of the ‘producer’ concept by the identification of various economic operators as potential defendants
  • Expansion of the specific circumstances required to be considered in the assessment of defect to include, among other things, regulatory compliance and product recalls
  • A new disclosure requirement, with a rebuttable presumption of defect in the event that disclosure is not provided
  • A rebuttable presumption of defectiveness in the most technically and scientifically complex cases
  • Addition of data loss and psychological harm to the types of actionable damage, and cancellation of the minimum and maximum damage thresholds
  • Extension of the limitation period to 25 years for latent damage

As contributing editors to the International Comparative Legal Guide (ICLG) on Product Liability Laws and Regulations 2024, Adela Williams and Tom Fox of Arnold & Porter’s London Office have prepared an expert analysis chapter updating on some key aspects of the new EU Product Liability Directive and an updated chapter on product liability in England & Wales.

Both chapters are available to read online along with the rest of the 2024 version of the Guide, which contains numerous other country and analysis chapters supplied by other contributors, making this a valuable source of cross-jurisdictional insights.

To learn more about how your business should prepare for the new legislation, please contact Adela Williams, Tom Fox, or Libby Amos-Stone.

© Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP 2024 All Rights Reserved. This blog post is intended to be a general summary of the law and does not constitute legal advice. You should consult with counsel to determine applicable legal requirements in a specific fact situation.