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New Directive for Product Liability Gains EU Committee Approval

A joint Committee of the European Parliament voted on Oct. 9 to approve a new amendment proposed by the European Union to update its directive on liability for defective products, replacing the order that dates back to 1985. There were 33 votes in favor, two against, and no abstentions. 

The new directive aims to offer enhanced protections to consumers. Key amendments include expanding the scope of the definition of the terms “product,” “damage,” and “defectiveness” to account for technological advances and the circular economy. The new directive also obligates manufacturers to disclose relevant evidence at their disposal in court and entitles defendants to request relevant evidence from plaintiffs. 

Additionally, the new directive eases the burden of proof for a person alleging an injury by establishing a presumption of defectiveness and causal link under certain conditions. It also eliminates the 500 euros minimum threshold for property damage claims, extends the personal injury liability period to 30 years in cases of latent injury, and attributes liability for a product to the importer or authorized representative when the manufacturer of a product at issue is established outside of the EU.

The amendments are not yet in final form; next comes a vote on the amendments by the plenary of the European Parliament in November 2023.  The amendments adopted by the plenary will be the basis for the trilogue between representatives of the EU, the Council of the EU, and the European Commission, who will negotiate the final wording of the Directive.


product liability, european union eu