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Liability for ProductsEnglish Law, French Law, and European Harmonization$
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Simon Whittaker

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780198256137

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198256137.001.0001

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English Law: Recurrent Themes and Endemic Casuistry

English Law: Recurrent Themes and Endemic Casuistry

(p.331) 13 English Law: Recurrent Themes and Endemic Casuistry
Liability for Products


Oxford University Press

This chapter is concerned with liability in the administration for failures to regulate or control product safety in English law. Firstly, it explains how the sources of power in English administrative bodies relate to their potential liabilities. Secondly, the chapter sets out the recurrent themes which have been used by the courts in their overall decisions in finding or refusing to find a basis for liability in the tort of negligence in public authorities. Thirdly, it examines the types of situation which can arise in relation to the exercise of powers affecting the safety of products, and illustrates how an English court is likely to view issues both of the existence of a duty of care and of breach of duty. Fourthly, the chapter notes the possible impact of a special ‘public interest immunity’ against the disclosure of documents in these sorts of cases in the context of the English litigation brought by the haemophiliac recipients of blood products infected with HIV. Finally, it attempts to relate these approaches in the English law to the French position, which has already been described.

Keywords:   liability law, product safety, product liability, administrative liability, negligence

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