Essentials – clear and brief

Product Liability

The Product Liability Directive 85/374/EEC applies to any product marketed in the European Economic Area (EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and establishes an EU-wide regime under which the producer is liable if a product is defective and causes injury or damage to consumers.

Why

In its latest yearly report (May 2018) on the application of the Directive, the European Commission concluded “the Product Liability Directive continues to be an adequate tool.” However, it also acknowledged that the Directive is not perfect and that given the ubiquity of digital products and services now available to consumers or forming part of the supply chain, “its effectiveness is hampered by concepts, such as ‘product’, ‘producer’, ‘defect’ or ‘damage’, that could be more effective in practice.”

Technological revolution affecting consumer products, exponential developments in hardware and software engineering, the rapid take-up of digital marketing, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, robotics and cybersecurity inter alia, require the concepts on which the Directive was drafted to be re-evaluated.

How

The European Commission has set up an Expert Group to investigate these issues, which is working in two sub-groups:

  • The 'product liability formation' to provide expertise and assistance to the Commission in drawing up guidance on the Directive;
  • The 'new technologies formation' to assess the implications of emerging digital technologies for the wider liability frameworks at EU and national level.

Where do we stand

The European Commission is expected to publish a “comprehensive guidance” on the application of the Directive during the second half of 2019, accompanied by a report on the broader implications for AI, Internet of Things and robotics.

Topics

Representative Actions

One of the main objectives of the European Commission through this proposal is to allow each and every EU citizen to have compensatory collective redress tools at national level.

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Members

Join EJF

Our services are based on three main pillars: policy and legal intelligence, research and academic input, and communication of key messages.

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Mission

Goals

EJF’s goal is to ensure that the Directive on Representative Actions will build a coherent and harmonized civil redress system architecture in Europe.

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Recent

Latest News

The European Justice Forum is pleased to share its position paper, highlighting the core issues that will bring clearer finality, greater efficiency and transparency to the proposal for a Directive on Representative actions, namely:

  • A narrower definition of domestic actions;
  • Full transparency for funding and prohibition of forum shopping;
  • Avoiding duplication of redress and enforcement mechanisms;
  • Clearer definition of commonality for clarification of admissibility.

Following the Council’s agreement to a General Approach on 28th November 2019, trilogues on the Directive officially began this month, on the 14th of January, under the Croatian presidency. The European Parliament, the Commission and the Council are all committed to close the negotiations by the end of the Croatian presidency and a second trilogue will take place at the beginning of March. Until then, a series of technical meetings will be held to advance the negotiations.

The European Justice Forum is looking forward to fruitful conversations with key stakeholders during this phase, to ensure the future European collective redress mechanism will enable a fair access to justice and redress, for both consumers and businesses alike.

[Download the full position paper here ]