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Our solicitors offer free legal advice on defective product law. We operate using the no win no fee* scheme otherwise known as a conditional fee agreement. No legal charge is payable unless the legal case is won and the client obtains an award of compensation. In the event that the legal claim is lost there is no charge made to the client.

Defective Product Law

Legislation exists in the UK with the intention of safeguarding the consumer from products, which were first supplied after the 1st of March 1988, that do not reach a reasonable level of safety. The main items of responsibility of manufacturers to consumers is contained in defective product law outlined in the following legislation :-

  • Northern Ireland- the Product Liability (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2001
  • Scotland- the Consumer Protection Act 1987 (Modification) (Scotland) Order 2001 (Statutory Instrument 2001 No. 265)
  • England and Wales- the Consumer Protection Act 1987 (Modification) Order 2000 (Statutory Instrument 2000 No. 2771)

Legal Liability

Under current defective product law, legal action can be taken against the 'producer' of goods who is usually the manufacturer or, in the case of raw materials, the person who obtained them. A processor is also defined as a producer however those who merely package goods without altering the essential characteristics are not included as producers. Liability also rests with importers of goods into the UK and with those who 'own brand' if the own brander refuses to disclose the identity of producer or importer when requested to do so by an injured party. These parties usually carry insurance that covers legal action by consumers

Standard of Proof

Product liability law defines a defective product as existing when the safety of the product is below that which consumers are entitled to expect however a product is not necessarily defective merely because it is of poor quality manufacture. The standard of proof required by the court is such that the person claiming compensation must be able to show, on the balance of probabilities, that the defect in the product caused the injury or damage. The Limitation Act regulations apply and the claim must either be settled or proceedings must have been issued in a Court of Law within three years of the accident however a claim will fail if ten years have elapsed since the defective product was supplied.


Defective product law allows for a number of potential defences available to a producer or importer as follows

  • the goods were stolen or counterfeit copies
  • the technical knowledge at the time of supply was inadequate to discover the defect.
  • the defect was the inevitable result of compliance with a regulation
  • the defect was caused by a retailer
  • the product was not supplied in the course of a business
  • the producer of a component will escape liability if the defect was due either to the design of the finished product or to defective specifications given by the producer of the finished product


*Legal Information

The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here