The Reform of the Product Liability Directive

For an overview of past and upcoming meetings of this project, please click here.

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Quick Facts

Project Type: Draft legislative proposal
Procedure: Accelerated
Adopted: CD 2022/4
Project Period: March–July 2022

Background

After various consultations of and reviews on the desirability of amending Council Directive 85/374/EEC of 25 July 1985 on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States concerning liability for defective products (PLD), the European Commission is now committed to reform. Several challenges have been highlighted in recent debates which justify at least some changes to the Directive.

The European Law Institute already participated in the ongoing debate. Its first ‘Innovation Paper’ published at the beginning of 2021 set out ‘Guiding Principles for Updating the Product Liability Directive for the Digital Age’. The document was presented and discussed at an ELI webinar. ELI also participated in the most recent public consultation launched by the European Commission on ‘Civil Liability – Adapting Liability Rules to the Digital Age and Artificial Intelligence’, by submitting a Response at the beginning of 2022. A very well-attended webinar was held to promote and outline the Response. The feedback by representatives of the European Commission Prof Dirk Staudenmeyer (DG JUST) and Mr Mark Beamish (DG GROW) was very positive.

In drafting the ELI response to the aforementioned public consultation, members of ELI’s team already considered various specific amendments the PLD. However, given lack of time, could not elaborate on these further.

Aim

The Team now intends to embark on the task of redrafting the 1985 Product Liability Directive (PLD). The legislative proposal will be accompanied by comments. It will be submitted to the European Commission, with a view to influencing its proposed reform in the field.

Outcome

The project aims at improving the PLD and at making it suitable for implementation at national level, particularly in light of challenges brought about by the digital age, among others. The Team will aim to produce a text that strives to strike a balance between the adequate distribution of risks between manufacturers and developers on the one hand and victims of defective products on the other.

Project Chair

  • Christiane Wendehorst

Project Reporters

  • Jean-Sébastien Borghetti

  • Bernhard A Koch

Project Team Members

  • Piotr Machnikowski
  • Pascal Pichonnaz
  • Teresa Rodríguez de las Heras Ballell
  • Christian Twigg-Flesner

Advisory Committee

  • Urs Buscke (on behalf of The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC))

  • Pierre Chalançon (on behalf of Home Appliance Europe (APPLIA))
  • Mark Harvey (on behalf of Pan European Organisation of Personal Injury Lawyers (PEOPIL))
  • Pedro Portellano Díez (on behalf of The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE))
  • Marco Visser (on behalf of Insurance Europe)