Product Liability in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • D & F Estates Ltd v Church Commissioners for England
    • House of Lords
    • 14 Jul 1988

    If the same principle applies in the field of real property to the liability of the builder of a permanent structure which is dangerously defective, that liability can only arise if the defect remains hidden until the defective structure causes personal injury or damage to property other than the structure itself.

    The proposition that damages are recoverable in tort for negligent manufacture when the only damage sustained is either an initial defect in or subsequent injury to the very thing that is manufactured is one which is peculiar to the construction of a building and is, I think, logically explicable only on the hypothesis suggested by my noble and learned friend, Lord Bridge of Harwich, that in the case of such a complicated structure the other constituent parts can be treated as separate items of property distinct from that portion of the whole which has given rise to the damage - for instance, in Anns' case, treating the defective foundations as something distinct from the remainder of the building.

  • Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Others v H.N. Norton & Company Ltd ; Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Others v Penn Pharmaceuticals Ltd and Others
    • House of Lords
    • 26 Oct 1995

    Before coming to the question of whether the invention was new, one must first be clear about what it was. For this purpose it does not matter how the product is made or what form it takes. The monopoly covers every method of manufacture and every form which comes within the description in the claim. So claim 24 includes the making of the acid metabolite in one's liver just as much as making it by synthetic process; in the body as well as in isolation.

  • Murphy v Brentwood District Council
    • House of Lords
    • 26 Jul 1990

    There may be room for disputation as to whether the likelihood of intermediate examination and consequent actual discovery of the defect has the effect of negativing a duty of care or of breaking the chain of causation ( compare Farr v. Butters Brothers & Co. [1932] 2 K.B. 606 with Denny v. Supplies & Transport Co. Ltd. [1950] 2 K.B. 374).

  • Fairchild v Glenhaven Funeral Services Ltd and Others
    • House of Lords
    • 20 Jun 2002

    So the question of principle is this: in cases which exhibit the five features I have mentioned, which rule would be more in accordance with justice and the policy of common law and statute to protect employees against the risk of contracting asbestos-related diseases?

    Sixthly, the principle applies where the other possible source of the claimant's injury is a similar wrongful act or omission of another person, but it can also apply where, as in McGhee, the other possible source of the injury is a similar, but lawful, act or omission of the same defendant. I reserve my opinion as to whether the principle applies where the other possible source of injury is a similar but lawful act or omission of someone else or a natural occurrence.

  • Berger v Eli Lilly & Company
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 28 Aug 1992

    In applying the section to the facts of these cases, we shall proceed on the basis that knowledge is a condition of mind which imports a degree of certainty and that the degree of certainty which is appropriate for this purpose is that which, for the particular plaintiff, may reasonably be regarded as sufficient to justify embarking upon the preliminaries to the making of a claim for compensation such as the taking of legal or other advice.

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