Written by Stefano De Luca (1st edition).
As products have become more complex in the digital age, on 28 September 2022, the European Commission published a proposal for a new directive on liability of defective products. This would revise the existing Product Liability Directive, adopted nearly 40 years ago in 1985. The proposal aims to bring the European Union’s product liability regime up to speed with the digital age, circular economy business models and global value chains.
Addressing the need to ease the burden of proof for consumers seeking compensation for damages suffered because of defective products, the proposal also introduces new provisions to address liability for products such as software (including artificial intelligence systems) and digital services that affect how the product works (e.g. navigation services in autonomous vehicles). As the circular economy is about extending product lifecycles, the proposal clarifies the liability rules for companies that substantially modify products before resale. The proposed rules also ensure that consumers are compensated for defective products manufactured outside the EU. The proposal alleviates the burden of proof for victims under certain circumstances and obliges manufacturers to disclose information where plausible claims for compensation are made.
The next step is for the European Parliament and the Council to consider the proposal. In Parliament, the file has been assigned to the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) with Pascal Arimont (EPP, Belgium) appointed as rapporteur.
- February 2023: New Product Liability Directive (1st edition)
|Proposal for a directive of the European parliament and of the Council on liability for defective products|
|Committee responsible:||Internal Market and Consumer Protection|
(IMCO) and Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI)
(jointly under Rule 58)
|Rapporteur:||Vlad Botoș (Renew, Romania) and Pascal|
Arimont (EPP, Belgium)
|Shadow rapporteurs:||To be appointed||Ordinary legislative procedure (COD)|
(Parliament and Council on equal footing
– formerly ‘co-decision’)
|Next steps expected: Publication of draft report|
Listen to policy podcast ‘New Product Liability Directive’ on YouTube.