The European Commission is in the throes of evaluating Directive 85/374/EEC on liability for defective products. They are analysing responses to their public consultation and replies to interviews with various stakeholders.
The plan is to gather as much information as possible relating to the application of the Directive to traditional products, in order to determine whether it can also be effectively used to deal with new technological developments, and (of course) to assess whether they need to revise the current legal framework.
The preliminary findings are that the rules are very well understood and that the Directive is widely seen as benefitting both consumers and manufacturers by ensuring consistent rules across all Member States.
However, a number of respondents were concerned that the existing legislation could not adequately address innovative products, though only a minority wanted extra guidelines. A few wanted the Directive revised; with a tiny percentage arguing in favour of new product-specific legislation.
We expect to see the final conclusions published towards the end of the year.