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Peter Rott

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Peter Rott and Chris Willett

This chapter seeks to identify the key issues that arise across the world in relation to services of general interest, e.g. utility and transport services. It argues that the rules on services of general interest reflect a blend of, on the one hand, ‘consumer protection/market-competition’ values; and, on the other hand, ‘universal service’ values. It highlights the ways in which these agendas are pursued; and argues that there are key limitations in actually achieving the goals aimed at. For example, the consumer protection/market-competition agenda is hindered by limitations on transparency as an effective tool for market discipline. It is also hindered by the lack of a collective damages remedy. The universal service agenda is hindered by limited capacity for enforcement against either suppliers or the State.

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Carola Glinski and Peter Rott

This chapter deals with the scenario of product safety standards that do not reflect the state of the art, but which are nevertheless published by the European Commission, and the use of which actually causes harm to third parties. It looks at the potential liability towards third parties of the players involved: the European Commission and the European Standardisation Organisations (ESOs). In relation to the former, noncontractual liability of the European Union is explored, while in relation to the latter, the chapter discusses potential tort liability. The authors ask whether standardisation bodies owe a duty of care to consumers, given the practical relevance of the standards they develop, and under what circumstances that duty is breached. They take into consideration tort law doctrine and the recent case law of national courts and the Court of Justice concerning certification bodies, but also consider arguments that have been put forward in US litigation. The chapter shows that there are commonalities between ‘output legitimacy’ and the substantive correctness of standards, as well as between ‘input legitimacy’ and the determination of liability for an objectively deficient standard. It concludes that, in principle, the liability of the Union as well as of the ESOs themselves for deficient standards is possible, but that the various safeguards in the E system of the New Legislative Framework should normally prevent the liability of these players if duly applied.

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Peter Rott and Chris Willett