Handbook of Research on International Consumer Law, Second Edition
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Handbook of Research on International Consumer Law, Second Edition

Edited by Geraint Howells, Iain Ramsay and Thomas Wilhelmsson

Consumer law and policy continues to be of great concern to both national and international regulatory bodies, and the second edition of the Handbook of Research on International Consumer Law provides an updated international and comparative analysis of the central legal and policy issues, in both developed and developing economies.
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Chapter 9: Products liability law in America and Europe

Geraint Howells and David G. Owen


This chapter deals with product liability, i.e. the civil redress for harm caused by defective products. This has been one of the most contentious areas of private law since the 1960s. The USA was the first state to adopt a strict product liability regime and saw an expansion of claims brought by consumers. The legal climate in the USA is now less favourable to consumer claims that challenge the design of products, and true strict liability seems restricted to manufacturing defects. Europe adopted strict liability later and still seems more open to compensating for a wider range of design defects. However, the underlying policy tensions and uncertainty over the precise concepts underpinning strict liability mean the scope of EU law in this area is not fully settled. The chapter concludes by hoping that as both regimes grapple with similar dilemmas there can be greater convergence over time.

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