EU Consumer Law and Policy

EU Consumer Law and Policy

Second Edition

Elgar European Law series

Stephen Weatherill

This new edition of Stephen Weatherill’s acclaimed book provides a comprehensive introduction to all facets of the EU’s involvement in consumer law and policy. Consumers are expected to benefit from the EU’s project of economic integration, enjoying wider choice and improved quality, and yet they need protection from the dangers that flow from malfunctioning and unfair markets. The EU’s consumer law and policy is an attempt to have the best of both worlds – a liberalised yet properly regulated trading space for Europe.

Chapter 6: Product liability

Stephen Weatherill

Subjects: law - academic, consumer law, european law


Directive 85/374 (as amended) harmonises laws concerning liability for defective products. It is commonly referred to as the ‘Product Liability Directive’. Strictly, it is a measure adopted in order to advance the integration of the market. Its Treaty base is Article 100 (which is now Article 115: see Chapter 3). Harmonisation of national provisions concerning the liability of the producer for damage caused by defectiveness of products is required in the light of the distortions in competition in the EU and the impact on the movement of goods which are caused by divergences between the laws of the different Member States. However, the harmonisation of laws governing liability for defective products has a profound impact on the position of the consumer. Accordingly Directive 85/374 is a major measure of EU consumer protection policy, albeit, in strict constitutional terms, as an incidental consequence of its principal objective.

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