Civil Liability for Unsafe Products
This 1998 report proposed reforms to the law governing compensation for injury and damages caused by defective or unsafe goods. Under the existing law, a person who suffered injury caused by an unsafe product can only sue under contract or negligence. If there is no contractual relationship between the two parties, the injured person is denied a contractual claim. A claim on the basis of negligence might also present difficulties for the claimant, with the likelihood that expert evidence would be required.
The Commission considered the shortcomings of the existing law and developments which had taken place overseas and recommended that the law governing compensation for injury and damage caused by defective or unsafe goods should be expanded beyond the existing spheres of contract law and negligence law. This new form of liability should be based on the defect approach. A product would be regarded as defective if it did not meet the standard of safety that persons generally are entitled to expect. The standard of safety required should be judged at the time the product was put into circulation. Any injured person should be covered by the proposed new form of liability, whether or not he is a party to the contract, a user of the product or a mere bystander.
|Press Release (PDF) (MS Word)|
|Report (PDF) (MS Word)|